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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom in Dating Game Ponders Trading Attraction for Security

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 40-year-old mom of two girls who has been single for five years. In that time, I've dated a few men, but haven't found one who fulfills my "wish list."

The last man I was interested in seemed like he had possibilities. There was a strong mutual attraction. We spent a lot of time together, went on dates and were physically intimate. However, because of his recent divorce and subsequent emotional struggles, it became apparent that we wouldn't work out in the long term. It was disappointing, but we are still good friends and talk daily.

In the meantime, I have begun dating a very nice 48-year-old man with whom I have a lot in common. He's very successful professionally, and we get along well. He is also very attracted to me. If things continue to go well and it develops into a long-term relationship, I have no doubt he would provide a very comfortable life for my children and me.

The problem is, I'm not very attracted to him. He's a nice, normal-looking man, but if I passed him on the street, I wouldn't give him a second glance. I continue to see him because it seems we may be compatible, and I enjoy spending time with him, but is it wrong to be disappointed that I don't feel "fireworks"?

This may seem shallow, but after feeling so much chemistry with a man I was madly attracted to, it's difficult to be in this position. It's next to impossible to find someone who possesses every single quality I want, especially because I live in a small town, and I am likely not going to match everything on his list either. How do I break down these barriers that I'm putting in front of him? -- NO SPARKS IN OREGON

DEAR NO SPARKS: I can't guarantee this will work, but a giant step in the right direction might be to stop talking every day with the man you are so attracted to. Although he appears to be over you, you do not appear to have him completely out of your system. Until that happens, no one is going to measure up.

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