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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I'm kinda involved with this guy at work. He's my boss and he's really hot. "Rod" and I started sleeping together almost a year ago, and he's told me all along that he cares a lot for me. My problem is he says he can't "be" with me, because he can't give me what I deserve emotionally -- he can only fulfill my physical needs.

So, in my head I'm saying, "OK, that's better than nothing." Rod bought me a car and has been generous in the money department. But a couple of months ago, he started seeing this other girl. I refer to her as the "Sexless Unwilling Virgin."

Rod says he loves her, but he still wants to sleep with me. I don't understand why he doesn't love me, and I can't figure out why he's never taken me out on a real date. Lately he only stays overnight when he doesn't have anything else to do.

I know he cares for me, and that we have a history he doesn't have with the "S.U.V." Should I keep sticking it out? I can't stop hoping that one day we'll end up being a real couple. Rod means the world to me. I'd do almost anything for him. What do you think? -- IN LOVE WITH THE HOT ROD

DEAR IN LOVE: Idle your motor. The man you have described appears to be fulfilling your material and physical needs -- but not your emotional ones. It's up to you to decide how long you can live with two out of three. I hope you'll soon wake up to the fact that you are being used, and that it will spur you to find a man who truly loves you and is willing to make a commitment.

DEAR ABBY: My mother and I have always agreed that we don't interfere with each other's decisions. Emotional support and tidbits of advice are welcome -- but no meddling. This worked well for us until she met "Don" nine months ago. They're currently living together and plan to be married this summer.

Don spends his afternoons at the neighborhood bar, has worked only two weeks since Mom has known him (he was fired for stealing), has been arrested for shoplifting, and lies about his "war experience" in hopes of gaining sympathy. (He never served a day in the military. I checked.)

Mother is one of those women who are incapable of living alone. Her second husband of eight years died suddenly last year, and since then her life has been anything but normal and stable. My sister flat-out told her how she feels about Don ("Dump the loser") and now they're not speaking. I don't want to harm our relationship, but Mom constantly asks me for money I don't have. What am I supposed to say to her, Abby? -- TOO EXASPERATED FOR WORDS IN ARKANSAS

DEAR EXASPERATED: Tell her no, and tell her why. Explaining that you have no intention of supporting her freeloading fiance is not meddling. It's a bracing dose of the truth, and a glimpse of what lies ahead for her.

Your mother needs to know now that although you love her, you refuse to dispense dollars like an ATM machine, and she deserves someone who will treat her far better than Don does.

DEAR ABBY: I have a beautiful double strand of pearls I'd love to wear, but it was a gift from my ex-husband. Can I wear the necklace while out with my current husband? -- NEW WIFE IN GUAM

DEAR NEW WIFE: As long as your current husband doesn't object, I see no reason why not. Sometimes a string of pearls is only a string of pearls.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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