Life Advice



Ask Amy: Wife isn’t proving to be a good roommate

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I've been married for 30 years, I believed happily.

My wife was never demonstrative emotionally, but I believed that we loved each other.

Three years ago, she told me that she was no longer interested in sex, and didn't see that changing. This was a surprise to me, but the one rule of our sex life that she always insisted on was that we not discuss it.

We saw a counselor, and it helped with other communication issues, but after a year, she said she still "doesn't see anything changing."

We still live together, we're still friendly, we have a young adult child who hasn't left home yet, but there is no physical contact between us, no matter how casual or innocent.

She didn't offer as much as a pat on the shoulder when I got laid off, or when I took our elderly cat to the vet to be put to sleep. She just went about her day as usual.

She's always been very private with her emotions, but I used to be the one she opened up to, and now I'm not. She says she just doesn't feel emotions very strongly anymore, and she's fine with that.

I've done lots of research and reading, and the prevailing opinion in cases like mine is: "Your marriage is over; you should leave."

But I don't want to leave! I love my wife, and I very much enjoy the life we've built together. At my age, I can't imagine trying to start over.

I keep coming back to the conclusion that the only real problem is that I still want a sexual relationship, and my spouse doesn't. I can ignore it for months at a time, but I can't banish it completely. If I could just get rid of that, I think my relationship would be fine.

Am I kidding myself?

– Devoted Husband

Dear Devoted: You have described a relationship devoid of kindness, caring, meaningful communication, or any kind of emotional or physical intimacy.

The relationship I share with my regular server at the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru seems more deep, rich, and satisfying than your long marriage (hi, Kaytlin!).

You describe this emotionally empty marriage, and yet you’ve fixed on the lack of sex as the only missing ingredient. But, from your description, everything is missing.

Your marriage does seem over, but if you love your wife, your home, and the life you two share, you should hang in there with your unemotional and unsupportive roommate, and perhaps pursue occasional sex elsewhere.

Given that she doesn’t seem to care and that she “doesn’t see anything changing,” I doubt your wife would oppose this plan.

I hope you will stick with therapy. A therapist will not tell you what to do, but this would be a safe space for you to discuss your options and your feelings about your options.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have two children. Our oldest, “Ava,” will be 12 in the fall.


My kids are very close with my parents and, given that we live in the same town, my folks have been very involved in their lives. We love them and feel lucky to have relatively youthful and fun grandparents for our kids – and for us.

Ava recently came home from an overnight visit with my folks and told me that my mother suggested that she should shave her legs.

This issue goes into one area where my mother errs: She has a habit of giving advice about bodies, clothes and grooming. She once cut my daughter’s hair without permission from either of us.

I had to accept this when I was a child, but I don’t like it now.

What do you think I should do?

– Mother

Dear Mother: First, you should talk to your daughter. Emphasize that her body hair belongs to her, and that nobody has the right to tell her what to do with it.

Then you should talk to your mother. Emphasize that “Ava’s” body hair belongs to her, etc.

Rinse and repeat whenever necessary.

Dear Amy: “Cat Lover and Friend” worried that her friend’s cats roamed freely outdoors in an area with predators, and that now one cat was missing.

Mine roam outdoors, and if they become prey, so be it.

Yes, “indoor” cats may live longer, but with being stuck inside all the time – is that really living?

– Cat Lover

Dear Cat Lover: There is a middle ground, where cats can be outside part of the time and brought in at night.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.




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