Dear Abby:

My boyfriend of more than a year and I broke up about a month ago. While the split was sudden, I understood his reasons for wanting to end the relationship, and we're still good friends.

Recently, a guy at work expressed an interest in me, and we have made out a few times. This guy is extremely forward, likes to move quickly, and has made it clear that his interest is only physical. I can't seem to find the willpower to tell him to leave me alone. I keep associating with him to fill the void that was left when my boyfriend and I parted ways. He is pushing more and more to see me alone, and I'm running out of excuses.

I know what I'm doing isn't right, but the feeling of being desired is something I don't want to lose again.

Can you please help me sort out this mess?

Torn in Two

That little voice that's telling you what you're doing isn't right is your intuition. It is trying to steer you in the right direction. When an affair at the office ends, it can be painful and embarrassing to be confronted every day with the ghost of romance past, so take my advice and don't do it.

Tell the office Romeo to slow down -- he's moving too fast. If he has any respect for you, he will back off.

Dear Abby:

I am a single mother with a wonderful 4-year-old boy. I have been seeing this great man, "Mike," for about seven months. I have not let him spend time with my son because I don't want my child to become attached.

You see, I don't know if Mike wants a real relationship or just wants to keep things simple. He's 33, and that's a 10-year difference in our ages. Mike has never been married, and I have.

My friends have given me mixed advice.

One says to go with the flow and just enjoy. The other says I should invite him to go somewhere with my son and if he objects, get rid of him.

Abby, he's the greatest guy I have ever met -- everything I could want in a man, and to top it off, he's drop-dead gorgeous.

When is the right time to have a serious talk with him?

Lost in Arizona

After seven months, I'd say the time is right. Invite him to go somewhere with you and your son. If he and the boy get along, share your concerns about your son becoming attached and later disappointed. Then be quiet and listen to what Mr. Wonderful has to say.

Dear Abby:

I love to bake, and I have heard for years that when baking or cooking with wine or liquor, the alcohol burns off.

I have a cupcake recipe that contains one-half cup of coffee liqueur and yields 30 cupcakes. They were baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

One of my co-workers, after having one cupcake, told everyone that she was sure the cupcake had made her drunk. She even had slurred speech! She did not appear to be joking, and continued talking about it for several days afterward.

Is this possible?

The New Office Bartender, Quincy, Calif.

Yes, it is. I posed your question to Sherry Yard, pastry chef at Spago in Beverly Hills. Sherry told me that when the liqueur is put directly into the batter, not all of it burns off -- which means people with a sensitivity to alcohol should not eat those cupcakes.

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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate