Life Advice



Readers' Thoughts on Neglected Spouses

Annie Lane on

Dear Readers: Many of you wrote about why the husband of "Neglected Spouse" has not had sex with her in years. We received quite a variety of opinions and comments; here is a sampling:

Dear Annie: "Neglected Spouse" wrote that her husband hasn't shown interest in her sexually throughout their 30-year marriage. Your answer was thoughtful and encouraging. But I have experienced the same situation in my 37-year marriage because of something rarely discussed. People, especially men, who have autism spectrum disorders like Asperger's syndrome sometimes act like the writer's husband regarding sexuality. Asperger's is a developmental disorder that can affect every part of life.

I've found peace with my autistic husband, and I hope that others may find their own peace. -- Been There

Dear Annie: Reading the letter from "Neglected," I was like, "I wrote it." My husband and I had the same issues, only he showed signs of infidelity. We are now divorced.

I am in counseling, and I am happy. I am no longer bitter, so I can be cordial with the guy, who is obviously not happy with his choices. -- Beautiful, Inside and Out

Dear Annie: Unfortunately, her husband ignores the therapist option. This could be a chemical/libido problem. I'd say a doctor's visit is needed for him. A hormone checkup may help! -- Reader in Italy

Dear Annie: I empathize with the woman who is in a platonic relationship with her husband. I had a similar experience and relate to her need for closeness.

I struggled for seven-plus years with a husband who refused to discuss what was wrong. He pretended to be impotent. I discovered him in the kitchen during the night watching porn and masturbating. Still, he refused to discuss what was wrong except that it was "me." He refused counseling.

We are divorced, and I am happier. My advice to "Neglected" is to let him go. -- Speaking from Experience


Dear Annie: "Neglected Spouse" should consider that her husband is probably gay. I was married for 20 years to a man who pretended at first. He was a great actor. But eventually, he became emotionally abusive, saying it was my fault that he didn't want to have sex with me.

I lost my sense of myself as a woman. I couldn't leave the children, and I didn't believe I could support them myself. He developed alcoholism, and Al-Anon finally helped me get myself back. My kids were grown when I left, and it took 14 years of being alone before I could make another connection.

I met a wonderful man and had 20 years with him, both of us older and wiser and much happier. I wish I had had the strength to get out of that first marriage sooner. Tell her she can find someone who will love her for herself. And he should admit he is gay and find a man who will love him for himself! -- Married to a Gay Man

Dear Annie: My spouse and I have both been married before. There was no wedding night; my husband had said he wanted to "wait till after marriage" but then said health issues made sex impossible. Coming home from work early, I found him in full performance, watching porn. He confessed to a porn addiction.

I sought a marriage annulment, but the lawyer scoffed and said I'd waited too long and "there are many reasons to be married." We went to counseling and agreed that he'd abstain when I was home, and I would schedule time away. Fast-forward 12 years; we're both retired. I have hobbies, volunteer work and friends, and I know that my happiness is no one's job but mine. -- Not What I Expected, but OK in Nevada


"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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