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Man Maintains Connection to Boy After Relationship With Mother Ends

DEAR ABBY: I was in an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman for well over a year. She was a single mother, and we took our time introducing me to her son until we were sure we were serious. The boy became very attached to me, and when it ended, he continued to ask about seeing me.

He's 4 now, but he remembers all the things we did. His mother occasionally will let me see him for a day and then disappears for months before repeating. At first I was advised to walk away, but he never forgets. When he sees me, he gets extremely excited, and I consider myself more of an uncle/big brother than anything.

I understand the situation is awkward and probably makes some in her family and mine (my family knows how much I care about him) squirm. But is it wrong that I answer when the opportunity comes, or should I let it go? -- FATHER FIGURE IN FLORIDA

DEAR FATHER FIGURE: Listen to your heart. Seeing the boy occasionally as you have been won't hurt him. It will reinforce that he is important to someone besides his mother. Because you care about him, continue to see him on the basis that your ex-girlfriend has established.

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