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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Hesitates to Reconcile With Girlfriend He Dumped

DEAR ABBY: Two years ago I met someone who became larger than life to me. I was happier than I ever dreamed, but it wasn't to be. He was killed six months later in a car accident. His best friend, "Tom," was driving.

I went to visit Tom in the hospital and from then on we became inseparable. At first, it was to soothe each other's pain of losing someone we both loved, but it grew into something more.

I currently live with Tom's family and work in their business without pay. Essentially, I'm one of the family. I could not ask for a more loving adoptive family, but I don't want to be "family." I lie awake at night thinking about Tom, blush if our hands touch and have to catch my breath when he looks at me.

How do I tell the man I love that I have fallen for him when he considers me like a little sister? Is what I'm feeling even appropriate? -- UNSURE IN NEW YORK

DEAR UNSURE: I think so. You suffered a devastating loss. Tom and his family have filled the void, so your feelings are understandable. You will never know whether Tom feels the same way about you if you don't bring up the subject. If you're afraid to do that, then talk to his mother. She'll be able to give you some insight -- and perhaps some encouragement. But don't wait much longer, because if he doesn't feel the same, you need to move out and move on with your life.