DEAR ABBY: Last year I met a special man when I hired him to do some work related to my hobby. We easily fell into a friendship and have grown very close. We currently spend all our free time together. We talk every day on the phone, sometimes for hours. We are both divorced with children. He was married for 17 years and hasn't been in a relationship since.
About a month ago, I kissed him. While he did kiss me back, hesitantly, that was as far as he let it go. He said he "doesn't want to ruin what we have and isn't sure if it's the right thing." I was embarrassed and hurt, but we carried on like nothing had happened.
He is 16 years older, and I know he finds me attractive. He has told me I am beautiful, among other compliments, and we've had a few very long hugs. I desire a physical connection with him, but I wish I didn't.
Lately, when we are together I can't stop thinking about it. He obviously knows how I feel, but I'm afraid of pushing the issue. I feel like maybe I should stop seeing him. I would miss him a lot, like losing my best friend. But I'm compromising my own needs by letting him string me along, or whatever it is he is doing. I know he would be hurt, too, if we "broke up." I don't know what to do. It feels like I am going to lose either way. -- CAN'T WIN IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CAN'T WIN: It is time for a nonthreatening, adult conversation with this man about why he hasn't had a romantic relationship since his divorce and doesn't appear interested in one now. You mentioned that he is older. It's possible that he has performance issues and may not be able to give you anything more than long hugs. However, if it's something more, he should level with you.
This doesn't mean you are going to lose either way. There are worse things than having a compatible man in your life as a best friend, but not if you are being scorched by the torch you're carrying for him.