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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I literally bumped into a very good-looking guy (I'll call him TLC) at the corner grocery store one afternoon last February. We hit it off from the moment we met. After a few dates, I asked him to move in with me and he accepted.

I own the home that we share and I'm financially stable. I don't need a roommate to meet my financial obligations. I pay the mortgage and TLC buys the groceries.

Things went well for a couple of months; then he lost his job and has been self-employed since, although his work is not steady.

Lately TLC has become very temperamental. We haven't been intimate since July. He says he feels inadequate because he isn't "part" of the household, yet he rarely follows through on chores he has promised to do. He also has a very annoying habit of changing his mind at the last minute when we've made social or travel plans.

Abby, I am very happy with my job and enjoy life in general, but this man's temperament and indifference to sex are driving me crazy.

We talk, but so far haven't resolved any issues. I've suggested counseling, but he's not interested.

Should I tell him to hit the road? -- NO TLC IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR NO TLC: It seems to me that you are giving far more than you are getting from this arrangement.

You are not married to this man, and nowhere do you say that you love him. Pack his bags and present him with a road map.

DEAR ABBY: "Torn in Olympia, Wash.," whose wife is in a nursing home suffering the devastation of Alzheimer's disease, doesn't need to walk in a marathon or join a support group. It's easy for others to tell someone else not to feel guilty. But the fact that his children, brothers and sisters are supportive is further reinforcement from those who matter that most will approve of his relationship with his female companion.

What an honorable man he is to continue his visits despite the fact that his wife no longer recognizes him. Nursing home visits are far more painful for the visitors than they are for the patients.

Please, "Torn," enjoy your twilight years. You have more than earned them. I am a firm believer in fate. If it weren't meant to be, your neighbor wouldn't have been this lovely lady who has lifted your spirits and made you feel alive again.

If your wife were able, she would surely give you a "two thumbs up"! -- P.C. IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR P.C.: I appreciate your compassionate attitude. However, many readers were far less charitable. I received a lot of criticism for my "liberal" attitude.

DEAR ABBY: I am a retired dentist and I sympathize with the dental hygienist who complained about patients coming to the office with dirty mouths. I have a suggestion that, used with diplomacy, would solve her problem as well as provide a better service for her patients.

Give them a toothbrush and some floss before, instead of after, their appointment and have them clean their mouths "like they do at home." Then she could point out any areas they may have missed, or compliment them on having done such a good job. -- EUGENE PRATTE, D.D.S., HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF.

DEAR DR. PRATTE: Thank you for an excellent suggestion. Have you considered a second career as a diplomat? You'd make a good one.

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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