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by Abigail Van Buren

Baby Given Up in High School Still Haunts Middle Aged Dad

DEAR ABBY: As a 20-something wife and mother of one, I am facing a terrible problem.

I am desperately in love with another man. He is also my doctor. He isn't aware that I am in love with him, because I don't feel it's right to tell him under the circumstances. However, I find myself making pathetic excuses to call his office so I can hear his voice.

I finally confessed my feelings to my husband, then quickly recanted my confession, saying it was all a mistake. My spouse and I have drifted apart, and no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to return his love and affection. I know it's because of my intense feelings for my doctor.

The truth is, I love two men -- one I'll never have, but want badly, and another who is a devoted husband and father of my child.

Is there any hope for me, Abby? I feel like the most deceitful woman who ever lived. I cannot continue carrying this secret. Please help me. -- MISERABLE IN MISSOURI

DEAR MISERABLE: Both men and women tend to idealize their doctors. And why not? They are usually caring, concerned, brilliant individuals who devote their lives to caring for others. If they are human and have feet of clay, the patient rarely sees that aspect of their personalities. Who wouldn't love a person who helps them when they're at their worst?

Is there any hope for you? It depends on what you're hoping for. But your best bet would be to change doctors and get into marriage counseling with your spouse.