Kisses Run Cold
Dear Annie: I am a divorced man in his mid-60s and involved with a woman of the same age. We both have good jobs and enjoy each other's company.
We recently began spending the weekend at each other's houses and agreed to give the other one space in their dresser and closet.
When we first began dating, we took things slowly, but all of a sudden, she wanted to ramp things up. I agreed to go along.
Things were going well until recently, when I noticed that she doesn't seem to be as into me as she was in the beginning. Her kisses are much less passionate and almost feel cold. In addition, she will no longer hold hands, and we no longer shower together.
I have asked her numerous times what is wrong and get the same answer every time: nothing.
If she's not going to be honest with me, should I end the relationship? -- Confused in Virginia
Dear Confused: As the old song says, "If you want to know if he loves you so, it's in his kiss." The fact that she has pulled away and you feel that she is much colder to you than before speaks volumes. But three key components seem to be missing in your relationship: trust, communication and love.
You can't trust what she says because clearly her actions are speaking louder than her words. The fact that she is passive-aggressively letting you know through her change in behavior does not speak well for the future.
Perhaps express to her the importance of these three qualities to you in a relationship, and give her one more chance to express to you why she has suddenly changed. If she is unable to open up, I say leave and go find someone who is consistently loving, and if they don't feel like they want to be, at least they tell you why they are pulling away. Best of luck to you on your quest for real and peaceful love.
Dear Annie: I was brought up in a house where children were seen and not heard. My parents only gave me any type of love when I got good grades or did well on my tennis team. There were a great many high expectations placed on me and my sister, and I never quite felt enough unless I was doing something. Fast-forward 20 years and I am now a father to a beautiful baby girl. I don't want to put the same pressure on her that was put on me because I still resent my parents' conditional love. How do I not make the same mistakes? -- Trying to Be a Good Dad
Dear Good Dad: You already are a good dad! Your little girl is lucky to have you as her father. The simple awareness of your own parents' shortcomings, and the desire to do things differently, is enough to make sure you won't repeat the same mistakes.
Make sure she knows that grades, achievements and job titles have nothing to do with her worth. She is worthy just because she is a beautiful human being. Let her know that all her feelings are OK, even the unpleasant ones, and that she is worthy of apologies and respect from you and the adults around her. Providing unconditional love is not easy, but it is the most important thing a parent can do.
"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- 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.