Affection Is Absent
Dear Annie: My spouse and I have been married for over 40 years. Our children are married with children of their own. They seem happy and well-adjusted, and our whole family seems happy and healthy. I am very blessed and glad things are the way they are.
The problem: There is no love or affection in our marriage, and there hasn't been for over 20 years. We sleep in separate rooms. Despite my requests, which I don't make often, there is never any cuddling, affection, hand-holding ... nothing. When I suggest counseling, the response is that I am the one who needs counseling, that I am needy and insecure. I am in decent shape, take care of myself, have good hygiene, and do most of the housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal prep, etc.
All I want is a little attention. I am in my mid-60s, and the thought of spending the rest of my life like this really depresses me. I don't want to have an affair or get divorced, but I don't want to be lonely the rest of my life. The thought of the grandchildren going to separate homes to see Grandma and Grandpa makes me sad. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. -- My Heart Aches for Attention
Dear Heart Aches: Don't let your husband convince you that being needy and wanting affection are the same thing. Props to you for communicating what you want rather than expecting him to read your mind.
It sounds like you're stuck between a rock and a hard place: You don't want a divorce, but your husband is unwilling to work toward a solution. Unfortunately, relationships are a two-way street; they require effort from both parties. If he's unwilling to make your needs one of his priorities -- by at least going to couples counseling -- perhaps this is not a marriage you want to be in.
Your grandchildren deserve the most joyful, affectionate version of yourself that you can give them. That's far more important than who Grandma shares a house with.
Dear Annie: I've had a girlfriend for two years.
When COVID hit, she was with me 24/7. Now that COVID has died down, she does not hang out with me. I have not seen her for four weeks. She works way too much and travels with her daughter for swim.
When I tell her I love her over text, she just sends me hearts. She doesn't call or text me much.
Do you think I should end this relationship and move on? Because to be honest, I don't see it going anywhere. I have kind of lost interest with her. We were engaged, and she always wore her ring. Now she does not wear it anymore. I'm confused. Please help. -- Am I an Ex?
Dear Am I: It sounds like your girlfriend/fiancee has both feet out the door. She's been gradually ghosting you, and now you're left in the dust, alone and confused.
Though puzzling for you, this is a blessing in disguise. If you don't see a future and you've lost interest in her, too, then you aren't really losing much; you're gaining an opportunity to move on and up with your life.
Make contact with this woman and officially break things off. Put it all out on the table and get the clarity you need to put your confusion to bed. You have a whole new chapter waiting for you -- may it be with someone who never leaves you guessing where you stand.
"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 http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.