DEAR ABBY: I am in my late 20s. For six years I have been entangled in a strange and powerful relationship with "Bruce," a 38-year-old man who considers himself "only a friend." I am very much in love with him and he knows it. He has never said he loves me. In fact, whenever we get close, he steps back emotionally and reminds me that he's "just a friend."
Bruce was hurt badly by a cheating wife and has been divorced for many years. I know for a fact that there have been no other women in his life. Despite all this, Bruce treats me like a queen. Whatever I need -- you name it -- he is right there. He is the most generous, protective and responsive man I have ever met.
He calls me every morning to say hello and every night to wish me sweet dreams. We spend weekends together and we're sexually active. We enjoy each other more than any couple I know -- married or unmarried. We're such a good match that people tell us we absolutely "glow" when we're together.
I have finally reached the end of my rope. I need SOME kind of recognition. At the very least, I would like to be considered his girlfriend. Please help me look at this relationship with clear eyes. -- "ONLY A FRIEND" IN NEW YORK STATE
DEAR "ONLY A FRIEND": It's time to face the fact that for whatever reason, Bruce is commitment-phobic. Up to now, your relationship has been entirely on his terms, and he likes it the way it is. I'll give him marks for honesty. You must accept it -- or move on. (If it's marriage and a secure future you're after, I urge you to do the latter.)