DEAR ABBY: I have been happily married for a number of years. I’m not what you would call “hot” – far from it, actually. But for some reason, women have always been attracted to me.

It doesn’t matter where I work, there always seems to be some woman coming on to me. I have never cheated on my wife – never! I have always told the interested party that I’m married and love my wife and kids, and would never do anything to destroy what we have.

About a year ago, my wife and I hit a rough spot. I met a woman who was having problems with her boyfriend. We were attracted to each other and became quite close. We never did anything physically. We never spoke of love, and both recognized that we were only infatuated.

My problem is this is the first time I was really tempted. I resisted, thank God, but feel terribly guilty about it. My head says telling my wife would help relieve my guilt, but nothing else. Ultimately, it would hurt her.

Because nothing actually “happened,” should I listen to my head, or should I go with my heart, which says to tell her everything? This is eating me up inside. – CONSUMED BY GUILT IN N.Y.

Perhaps it’s time to take a good look at your conduct at work and the kind of signals you’re sending to female co-workers. For one or two of them to come on to you might be accidental in a lifetime. But if they’re coming on to you in droves as you suggest, it’s because you’re sending out signals that you’re available.

I see nothing to be gained by telling your wife that you “almost” committed adultery. To do so will only create insecurity where once she had complete confidence. Nothing happened, and for that you are to be commended. Because you feel the need to expiate your guilt, confide in a trusted religious adviser who will keep your confidence. And please stop flirting with danger, or you WILL get burned.

DEAR ABBY: To my grown children’s dismay, I am in love with a man who is in prison for murder. He still has a lot of time left to serve, and I’m older than he is.

I send him money – my money – and write him almost daily. My son thinks I’m “wasting my time,” but I am happy. Any opinion? – MARY IN COLUMBUS, OHIO

If you are happy, then far be it from me to rain on your parade. However, I must caution you. Inmates have been known to write to multiple “pen pals,” involving them in romances and milking them for money. If you wish to continue with this arrangement, please do it with your eyes wide open.

DEAR ABBY: Our first child is nearly a year old, and I am planning his first birthday party. My in-laws and my parents do not get along, and my in-laws have threatened not to come if my parents are present.

My husband and I have made it clear that we do not agree with this. We feel they should be able to put aside their differences for one day for the sake of their grandchild. Should we bend to their stubbornness and have two separate birthday parties – one for each side of the family? – TORN IN ILLINOIS

DEAR TORN: Absolutely not. To do so would set a terrible precedent. Make sure your husband’s parents know the time and place of the celebration and that they are welcome. If they choose not to attend, then so be it.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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