DEAR ABBY: I'm a single mom. My child's father has refused to take any responsibility since before the baby was born. I never cut ties because I'm sure my son will someday long for and want to know his real father.

Even though he renounced his responsibility, he took it back and said he'd try to be there for my child. We are geographicaelly many miles apart, and I no longer expect or hope for any possibility of a reconciliation - which is fine. I just never wanted to seem like someone who has been dumped, so I reason that we're cool.

Abby, he never calls to ask how our child is. What should I do? Should I cut ties with him forever, or must I continue to be the one to message him informing him about the milestones? Should I keep this connection going or let it go?

- Confused Single Mom

DEAR CONFUSED: A man who "tries" to be responsible for his children pays at least token child support to ensure that they are fed, clothed and educated. Nowhere in your letter did you indicate that your child's father has done that - or intends to.

If you want to stay in touch so that your child will have an address to reach him when he's older, I think that's laudable. But if you're expecting he will suddenly develop an interest - or a conscience - the pattern that has been set seems pretty well established, so don't get your hopes up.

DEAR READERS: If you plan to be out celebrating New Year's Eve on Wednesday and plan to drink, please arrange for a designated driver to transport you. It could save your life or someone else's. The American Automobile Association in some - not all - communities offers a safe-ride program for members and nonmembers. To find out whether it's happening in your community, go online or call your local branch of the AAA.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.