Steve and Mia | Hubby befriends married co-worker

Now he's house-hunting for her - are they looking for a chance to hook up?

Steve is a 50-something married man who's been around the block. Mia is a 20-something single immersed in the Center City dating scene. They may not agree, but they have plenty of answers. If you'd like an answer to your romantic troubles, e-mail them at S& or write: S&M c/o Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101.

Q: My husband and I have been arguing lately over his "co-worker." Her car broke down and - him being the gentleman he is - he drove her home occasionally. Then it became picking her up for work. Then they started texting one another.

She is married but in an unstable and abusive relationship. Recently, my husband told me she is trying to leave her husband but can't find suitable housing. Then I found a house hunter's guide on our dining room table.

Is this another friendly attempt to help her out? Or once she's settled in her new home, is that his cue for them to hook up?

Mia: I think your husband texting with this woman is inappropriate. You can show him this column, too. I understand that she is going through a hard time, but she needs to turn to other friends or family, not someone else's husband. If he won't tell her this, I'd walk.

Steve: If everyone would take Steve and Mia's advice about not getting involved with co-workers, the divorce rate would drop overnight. This woman sounds like big trouble. You need to address this issue with your husband immediately.

Q: My husband of six months has been offered a job in a city that's a day's drive or a flight of several hours from our home. It would be impossible for me to move with him now, but I probably could get a transfer to that city in a year or so.

Do you think a yearlong commuter marriage would it strain our relationship too much?

Mia: I'm not a fan of long-distance relationships. I think part of a strong bond is living in the same place. But if there's no other option, I would suggest setting some very clear ground rules: talking daily, visiting at least every other weekend and doing it for a finite period of time.

Steve: Well, it all depends on how cute the women are at your hubby's new job. Just kidding! Distance can indeed place a strain, especially on a new marriage. But seeing each other two or three times a month is the best way to get through it. Try to make your own move as quickly as possible.

Q: I've never thought of myself as a doormat but I am beginning to wonder. An old high school buddy stopped communicating with me last year with no explanation. I just figured he'd moved on to other friends. This week, he called me at work. Without much of a greeting and without even mentioning the long absence, he asked me if he could give my number to a fellow alum. I asked him to give the guy my e-mail instead. He said, "Thanks, I just wanted to make sure it was OK." Then he said bye and hung up. No "How are you? Is this a bad time?" He never asked anything about me. Now I'm angry at him and myself. Any suggestions?

Steve: No need to beat yourself up because you know an insensitive boor. I'd be tempted to be quite short with this joker the next time he called. The only person who can make you a doormat is you.

Mia: It sounds like the guy is a pig. Just don't take his calls in future. Maybe he'll take the hint and either shape up or leave you alone. *