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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Douses Flame of Romance by Taking Refuge on the Couch

DEAR ABBY: I started a new job eight months ago. A handsome guy works there, and I waited five months before I asked him out. Since then, we go out to lunch together three days a week and eat in the office the other days. He calls me at home in the morning to see if I want him to bring me a cup of coffee to work. He also shares his thoughts and feelings with me. I like him a lot.

Last Saturday night, I arrived at his apartment and he had candles lit, wine chilled, and served cheese and crackers. It was very romantic. We ate and drank and had a wonderful conversation. A little later, he went to lie on his bed and watch TV. He invited me to lie next to him -- and I did. (Mind you, we have never kissed or anything.) When I reached out to hold his hand, he immediately got up and went to the bathroom. Then he came out with a blanket, walked to the couch, covered himself and went to sleep. I invited him to sleep next to me on his bed -- but he refused. I went home.

I think he's really nice, cute, smart and sweet. Am I rushing things, or do you think he just wants to be friends? (I wouldn't mind being a friend -- with benefits.) What do you make of this situation? -- CONFUSED GAL IN GALVESTON, TEXAS

DEAR CONFUSED: I think you are already "friends." Forget the benefits. Your romance has gone as far as it is going to go.