Q: My husband of 10 years and I are in a rough patch. We have two kids, and we've been arguing a lot over things that has been building up over time. Anyway, last week, he called me the C-word.  He apologized for it the next day, but that hasn't stopped me from thinking about it. The way I see it, that's the most horrible thing you can ever call a woman. He says that I'm overly dramatic and that he has already apologized. But I can't forget it and move on. Help!

Mia: One of the worst things a man can call a woman is the C-word.  The fact that your husband opened his mouth and uttered such a despicable thing is verbal abuse, and you should not take it. The temptation is to stand your ground and go head-to-head in a situation like that. That's not always smart. If a guy is volatile, the situation can quickly escalate and possibly put you in a dangerous position. A better approach is to respond calmly by saying something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way." If it's safe to do so, walk away. Since it has already happened once, you should prepare yourself for the next time. Decide ahead of time how you're going to react -- if at all. If he's the physical type, prepare an escape plan. And if he starts in on you again in a way that feels threatening, use it. Once he calms down, try to get him into counseling. The important thing is your emotional and physical health. And in some cases, that means you have to be clear about what you will accept and what you won't.

Steve: It seems to me that once in 10 years is worth forgiving, but a second time isn't. Be sweet and let him know. More important, however, have an honest, open-minded sit-down and discuss why a 10-year relationship is starting to break apart. Make it clear that each of you must compromise. Then do it. If he says he can't do it, it's time to visit a divorce lawyer.

Q: I have a tough job with long hours, high demands, and almost no security. I'm 35-years-old with breakups, no marriages. So, all of this weighs me down, and I have to carry it alone. One woman who works in a different department has become a friend. She's divorced, and other than occasional lunch or coffee, we haven't gone on a date. I never thought about romance at the start, but she's gradually growing on me. She seems sympathetic to my stress. It helps.This has been going for three months now. I've never dated a woman whom I didn't fall for immediately. Should I take a chance?

Steve: Yes. And Bill Withers knows the answer.

When the day that lies ahead of me/ Seems impossible to face/
When someone else instead of me/ Always seems to know the way

Then I look at you/ And the world's alright with me
Just one look at you/ And I know it's gonna be
A lovely day
A lovely day.

Mia: Steve, you're killing me with the songs. This is a sweet one, but c'mon. As to the workaholic with the roving eye, be really careful. Attractive women get hit on a lot, and they also don't always react well to being approached for dates in the workplace.  Before you even think of making  a move, be sure that the feeling is mutual. You don't want a sexual-harassment suit slapped on you. Also, consider the fact that things could end badly between the two of you. Do you want the discomfort of arriving at work and seeing your former fling in the next cubicle? Think hard and long before you act.

Between them, Steve and Mia have logged more than a few decades in the single-and-dating world. They're also wise to the ways of married life. They don't always agree, but they have plenty of answers. Contact them at S&M c/o Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107 or steveandmia@phillynews.com.