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Dear Abby 9/27
First date ends in fireworks but relationship fizzes out
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    DEAR ABBY: I'm 34 years old and have two wonderful kids ages 12 and 8. I am a single mother, employed part time. I live with my parents and need some advice.
    I recently met someone. He is a 35-year-old firefighter who coaches football and has a child of his own. The night we met it was nice. We engaged in physical activity. He said he was interested in me, and I told him likewise.
    He called me the next two days —and that was it! I have called him several times since the last time he called me, and everything seemed fine with him. However, we have not really had a long conversation. He said he wanted to get to know me better, so I don't understand why he doesn't call me anymore.
    I e-mailed him that if he wanted me to stop calling, then I would appreciate it if he would just let me know. But he hasn't told me anything. I don't know if he's just really busy with work or what, but I really like this man and enjoyed his company, and wonder if he enjoyed mine too. Please help me understand what the problem is. —LOST IN GUAM
    DEAR LOST: The problem is you engaged in "physical activity" with him too soon. Now the mystery is gone, the excitement of the chase is gone, and he is gone. While it might be nice of him to say goodbye, silence sends a message that speaks volumes. It's saying he is no longer interested.
    DEAR ABBY: Over the years I have enjoyed seeing the letters in your column about the kind, helpful things people do — the good deeds that brighten someone's day. I would like to offer one from my own family.
    When my son was 5, he was a very active little boy. I was forever "losing" him in stores. I would usually find him hiding in clothing racks, etc.
    One day I couldn't find him. After a frantic search, I finally found him in the women's restroom helping an elderly woman in a wheelchair with the doors. I began to scold him when she said, "Please don't do that. He was the only one who offered to help me." It was then that I realized what a caring little boy he was —and still is today as a grown man. —NANCY IN SANTA CLARA, CALIF.
    DEAR NANCY: Your little boy was, indeed, kind and empathetic. However, the incident you have described happened many years ago. Today, I am sad to say, parents must impress on their young children the possible danger of wandering away with an adult they don't know.
    DEAR ABBY: I have a problem I have never seen in your column. My jealous husband created a fictional online character and contacted me through a Christian support e-group. I began corresponding with this person via e-mail. This was a character designed to match all my preferences.
    When he offered to meet in person, I refused, but he continued to increase the intimacy of the messages until I eventually expressed dissatisfaction in my marriage. That is when my husband revealed that HE was my fantasy friend.
    Now neither of us is sure we can trust each other —after 18 years of marriage. Should I forgive and forget? —BETRAYED IN CLEVELAND
    DEAR BETRAYED: Yes, and so should he. From where I sit, this could be a golden opportunity to improve your marriage through marriage counseling. Maybe if your husband tries harder to be the man he knows you want him to be, he will have less to worry about in the future. (And you will have less to be dissatisfied about.)
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