DEAR ABBY: I started a relationship with a co-worker. We went out for several months, and I found myself really enjoying his company. The feeling was mutual. After several months I told him I was developing feelings for him, more than just friends. He told me he was gay. I was shocked, saddened and angry all at the same time, but we went on to develop an even stronger friendship.
I have fallen in love with him, but I have had counseling and I believe those feelings are in check. We have a special bond that's hard to explain. For lack of a better term, we have used the words "soul mate" to describe this feeling. He has even said he would like a lifelong commitment with me and has thought about marrying me. He said holding hands, walks on the beach and romantic things aren't a problem for him to share with me, but he cannot offer me anything sexual.
He wants to share his life with me. We aren't kids -- we're in our 40s and 50s. He's a wonderful man, and I do want him in my life. Is it wrong to think about a future with him? -- CONFUSED ON WHAT TO DO
DEAR CONFUSED: It's not wrong to think about it. But while you're thinking, consider carefully how important sex is to you. Some, not all, women would be content with what he's offering. But what if you should meet someone? You also need to know whether this man is ready, willing and capable of forgoing a sexual relationship with a man. How would you feel about it if he met someone?
My advice is not to make a decision this important alone. Check in with your therapist and examine all of your feelings there. Also, contact the Straight Spouse Network, which was mentioned in a recent column, and talk frankly with others who are involved in mixed relationships. You'll find it online at � HYPERLINK "http://www.StraightSpouse.org" ��www.StraightSpouse.org�.
DEAR ABBY: I grew up thinking my mother was a good cook. Now that I'm married and have lived away from home for 10 years, I realize that Mom, with all her good intentions, was an awful cook. She was never adventurous, prefers canned and frozen foods, no vegetables and highly processed grains. I have chosen a completely opposite path and buy lots of natural, unprocessed fresh foods.
As a result, I now cook all the holiday meals -- with Mom helping with the prep and small tasks. I have tried to encourage her to eat better and expand her horizons, but it isn't sinking in. Every time we have dinner at her house, I feel like I have just eaten at a fast-food establishment.
I don't want to be a control freak and say, "My way with dinners at my house only," but I'm struggling to find a compromise when she wants to "treat" us to dinner at her place. Suggestions? -- FOODIE IN COLORADO
DEAR FOODIE: It's one thing to be a "foodie" and another to be a food snob. A "fast-food" meal once every few weeks won't kill you, so be a sport and let your mom reciprocate. And the next day, return to your normal routine to make up for it.
DEAR ABBY: How do you politely refuse letting someone borrow something when he or she asks? Even if it's your best friend or a relative?
In the past, I have loaned items that were not returned in their original condition, or it was a pain in the neck to get them back in a timely manner when I needed them for myself. Help, please! -- TOO UNSELFISH IN PORTLAND, ORE.
DEAR TOO UNSELFISH: Here's how. Smile and tell the person you no longer lend items to anyone, because they have been returned damaged or late, so that is now your "policy." Period.
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