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Ask Amy: Celibacy causes partner's esteem to plummet

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am a woman in my mid-50s. I had a brief, miserable marriage in my 30s (no children), and have been happily single ever since.

"Jack" is 60, was married for his entire adult life, and has two grown kids. He thought his marriage was happy, but his wife just left one day, moving halfway across the country. (I knew them both before this happened.) After their divorce, Jack and I started dating.

Jack is loving and considerate. We have a wonderful life with fulfilling jobs, a great circle of friends, and shared hobbies. His children and their spouses have welcomed me with open arms. We talk through differences like rational people. We've purchased a house together. I could not imagine a better relationship!

Still, my self-esteem has taken some hits. Jack did not choose to end his marriage, and being aware that he would prefer to be with his ex makes me feel like I'm the consolation prize. Jack has never said anything about it, but it's something I'm aware of.

Also, for some reason that he is unwilling to discuss, Jack does not want to be intimate. We had a few encounters early in our relationship solely because he wanted to please me. Whenever I bring up the subject, he just says he's more interested in companionship (yet he loves movies or TV shows that show a little skin).

Is a lack of sexual intimacy common in relationships between older people?

 

Or is it because he wants to be with his ex-wife?

I'm OK with never having sex, as long as it's not a sign that there is something bigger missing in our relationship.

-- Confusedly Celibate

Dear Celibate: You say that you and "Jack" talk through your differences like rational human beings.

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