DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother of a wonderful 7-year-old boy I'll call Jeremy. Jeremy's father, "Darren," has not been involved in his life since Jeremy was 15 months old. Although Darren provides financial support, he has not been there emotionally for Jeremy in 5 1/2 years. Jeremy doesn't even remember him.
My son is now at the age where he is beginning to question where his father is and why he isn't around. Darren chose to step out of his son's life with no explanation other than he didn't want to be involved with him. (I had already moved on.)
I have not remarried, and I have not introduced Jeremy to any man I have dated. What is the best way to let my son know all he needs to know about why his dad isn't around without hurting his feelings, or making him feel unloved? "I don't know where he is" just isn't working anymore. Jeremy wants to know details. Help! -- LOVING MOTHER IN TENNESSEE
DEAR LOVING MOTHER: Explain to Jeremy that his father's absence has nothing to do with him. Tell your son that some men are good at being parents, while others never learn -- and his father is one of those. As Jeremy matures, you can fill in more of the details. But it's important that your son understand that the problem was never that he was unlovable -- but rather that his father never learned how to love.