DEAR ABBY: I met an amazing man and have been dating him for about three months. It was almost love at first sight. I say "almost" because I was hesitant to get involved since I am his boss.
My problem is, for six years I was in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. My ex threw me through a wall, leaving me with broken ribs and lacerations on my face. I was constantly called "fat" -- especially when I was pregnant.
Now that I'm with this new guy, I feel awkward. He tells me how pretty I am, and I don't know how to respond. It makes me uncomfortable when he says it, and I have no idea why. I have fallen so hard for him, but feel like I hurt his feelings when I don't respond. It's not that I think I'm ugly or anything; I just feel like I am not as pretty as he constantly says I am.
How can I overcome this so it doesn't become a problem in the future? I'm scared to death that one day he will wake up and realize that I'm not as perfect as he thinks I am. -- NOT PERFECT IN ALABAMA
DEAR NOT PERFECT: I don't know whether your self-esteem problem is long-standing and deep-seated, or if it stems from the abusive relationship you had with your ex. But a way to conquer it would be to discuss your feelings with a licensed mental health professional.
On a related subject, it is common knowledge that workplace romances -- while not uncommon -- can turn into disasters if they don't work out. They sometimes fail because of the imbalance of power in the relationship if one person has economic control of the other. While you're talking to your therapist, this is something that should also be discussed.