DEAR ABBY: I have been in a relationship with a married man for 2½ years. I know it’s wrong, but there’s just something there between us. We live five hours apart, but he’s a trucker, so I see him often. He makes me all these promises — that if I uproot my life and move to his city he would be able to be with me more, his wife is sick and he can’t leave her that way, and he has never loved someone the way he loves me. We also have a 30-year age difference.

I love him but I see so many red flags. Does he really love me, or am I just the icing on his cake? Please give me some advice because I’m truly lost. I don’t know if I’m wasting my life on a man who really can’t promise me anything.

— ON THE SIDE IN INDIANA

DEAR ON THE SIDE: Pay attention to those red flags you are seeing. Your last sentence says it all. You may love this man, but you have already devoted 2½ years to a relationship that’s going nowhere. I’m willing to bet that he not only HAS loved women “the way he loves you,” but when you start taking care of yourself and end this charade, he will continue to love MORE women the way he loves you.

Try this: Imagine for a moment that you were his wife — would you want a husband who sleeps around while he’s on the road or while you are unwell? But for the grace of God, this could be YOU!

DEAR ABBY: My adult daughter and I had a big argument while she was visiting me. Sadly, we both used words that were hurtful. Afterward, I wrote her a note telling her I loved her and would like to hear from her. She replied in an email that she received my letter, but she is still hurt by the things I said.

I wanted to be the adult in this situation, but I was also hurt by her words and actions, and feel angry that I have to be the one to apologize. I told her I hope that we can put this behind us. Must I apologize even though I told her I am sorry that she is still hurt?

— WOUNDED IN OHIO

DEAR WOUNDED: I see nothing positive to be gained by allowing this to fester any longer. You ARE the parent in this situation, so if you’d like a resolution, apologize again.

DEAR ABBY: I’m a florist. Would you please appeal to your readers who are composing obituaries for loved ones to think first before adding “in lieu of flowers ...”? People can then donate to the designated or favorite organizations OR purchase flowers. The choice would be theirs. This would be a blessing for flower growers, truckers, wholesalers and folks like me. Many of our businesses are small, multigeneration establishments. A possible suggestion for wording is, “Flowers are welcomed, and those wishing to make a donation in his/her name may do so to _____.” Thanks, Abby.

— GRATEFUL MOM/POP FLOWER SHOP OWNER

DEAR GRATEFUL: While families in the throes of grieving may forget to include it in their loved ones’ obituaries, as our economy slowly recovers, your suggestion is certainly worth noting. Thank you for sending it.

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DEAR ABBY: My husband of many years died. We were very close and spent a lot of time together. How do I graciously decline visits from people I care about but am not close to? I know they mean well, and I don’t want to cause hurt feelings. I think we may all grieve differently. Even after several months, I’m still not ready to entertain a visitor. I may never be, although I appreciate their thoughts.

— CONTINUING TO GRIEVE

DEAR CONTINUING: When you wrote that everyone grieves differently, you nailed it. It’s the truth. For some, the process can take a short time. (Many widows and widowers had time to grieve before they lost their spouses.) For others, it takes longer. Several months is still a relatively short time, but please do not isolate yourself completely. You don’t have to entertain, but being able to vent your feelings to caring friends or in a support group can be healthy and healing.

If you don’t want anyone in your home, consider meeting a close friend or two out in public for a brief visit. Going out, exercising and getting some sunshine each day is healthy and can help to lessen depression. Your husband is irreplaceable, but isolating yourself won’t bring him back. If your inability to move forward persists, I urge you to discuss it with your physician or your religious adviser if you have one.

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Write to Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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