DEAR ABBY: I'm a 45-year-old married woman with four kids. I fell in love with a longtime friend, "Hugh," two years ago. He's single and has never been married.
I told him I want a relationship, but he says that since I'm married we can't have one. I told him I love him, but he's not sure he feels as strong about it as I do. We have been spending a lot of time together and have started to get intimate.
I told Hugh I don't want to just fool around -- I want a commitment. He worries about my kids, and that if I leave their father they won't understand.
My husband is very cold and distant. We don't say much to each other anymore; we're just two adults living in the same house raising our kids. We have gone to counseling, but it didn't help. My husband says things are fine -- but they're not.
I'm angry because Hugh is willing to fool around but not commit. He says this shouldn't go on anymore and his heart isn't in it. The fact that I'm married bothers him. I told him to wait and eventually my husband and I will divorce. I'm hurt by his decision to back out. I feel he wanted the intimacy but doesn't want me, and I feel used. How do I sort this out? -- USED IN MASSACHUSETTS
DEAR "USED": You weren't used -- you threw yourself at Hugh, and what has happened was by mutual consent. Why would you expect a commitment from him when you haven't shown yourself capable of sticking with one? I credit Hugh for his honesty -- he hasn't led you on. That you're married should bother him.
When a man tells you his "heart" isn't in it, trust me, the rest of him isn't far behind. Don't waste your time being hurt. Learn from this. You have unfinished business to attend to. Your marriage is a mess. If it doesn't survive, you owe it to the next man in your life to be available before you start prospecting. If you're not, this will happen to you again and again.