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by Abigail Van Buren

Boy Without a Dad Pressures Mom to Marry

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 34-year-old single mother of a 7-year-old son who wants me to get married. I'm not dating anyone, so marriage is nowhere in the near future.

I know my son's wish for me to be married is due to the absence of his "father" in his life and his desire to have a dad. I have technically been single for more than 10 years. I dated a lot over the years but haven't during the last two years, instead focusing on my mental, emotional and physical well-being in addition to securing a decent career path, which I'm just a week into.

I have contemplated dating for months, even prior to my son saying anything. Being an only parent, I have very little free time, and dating can be very disappointing. I don't have time to waste. Should I get back out there for the sake of my son or not? -- DATING FOR TWO IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR DATING: Should you date because your son wants a father? No. You should date because you meet someone whose values and interests are similar to your own, someone you think is worth getting to know better.

You are starting a new career, and in time you will meet eligible men. In the meantime, because your son needs a masculine influence in his life, consider having him spend time with male family members. If that's not possible, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and try to arrange a mentor for him. The website is bbbs.org.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Love & Dating | Work & School