DEAR AMY: I've been married for over 20 years. Early on in the marriage, the intimacy died. I have tried everything I can think of — talking to my spouse, lingerie, seducing him, making the first move, and therapy. Nothing has worked. He is a hardworking man and has taken excellent care of me and our three kids. We had our kids through artificial insemination because we didn't have sex often enough for me to get pregnant. I am positive he is not now, nor has he ever, cheated. He does have thyroid issues, chronic fatigue, and is an over-worker. I have been committed and faithful throughout, and have tried repeatedly to make things work. I have come to the realization that I've waited for 20 years for my husband to touch me. (In the last 15 years, we've maybe touched about 10 times, if that.) He claims it's "my fault" and that I don't try enough, or when I do it's the wrong time, etc. He even once claimed I was unattractive because I had put on some weight. I have recently decided that enough is enough, and I'm planning to divorce him. I've gotten a job and am saving up to rent an apartment on my own. I'm a couple months away from moving out of the house. I've recently met a guy. We have a deep connection. I want to move on, because in my mind and heart this marriage is dead. This other man is very interested in me, but doesn't want to be "the other man." I completely respect his opinion, and am not pushing him. Do you think I'm justified in moving on, even though I'm still living (temporarily) in the house with my (future) ex?
I Need Affection
DEAR NEED: Your situation is very challenging and depleting.
You seem to be asking for (my) permission to leave your marriage, and to become sexually involved with this other man before you do. I can't supply you with a justification to leave; it's your life and you alone are responsible for your choices.
You seem to believe in the institution of marriage enough to have children with and stay faithful to someone who wants no physical contact with you.
This new romantic interest of yours has catapulted you into a sexually exciting phase, but — you are married, and you are a parent. It's not just about you right now. You should see a lawyer. Discuss your responsibilities and options, as well as the real-life impact of your choice.
The other man in your story does not want to become involved with you while you are married. Follow his lead.
DEAR AMY: I read the letter from "Keep it or Pitch it," from the person who didn't know what to do with the letters and documents left to her by her parents. It made me think of the responsibility families have to NOT destroy these letters written from a husband to his wife during WWII. We owe it to the generations that follow us, and for veterans, there is no better way to preserve these memories than The Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. These documents are collected, preserved and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of U.S. military veterans from World War I on. My father, a WWII Navy doctor, was killed in action, never to return. But in perpetuity, his history will be available for his descendants (and others). You don't have to go to Washington, D.C., to make this happen. Check the Veterans History Project website: at loc.gov/vets/, or call 202-707-4916.
DEAR CONCERNED: Thank you so much for reminding me and informing readers of this wonderful resource.
DEAR AMY: Wow, your so-called "advice" to "Upset" was terrible. Upset is an 88-year-old woman who wondered if her family members had the right to tell her not to drink, even though her doctor said it might cause liver problems one day. For Lord's sake, Amy, let the woman have her wine!
Frustrated with You
DEAR FRUSTRATED: My response was universally reviled by readers. And here is the first line of my answer: "You have the legal right to harm yourself with alcohol use, although dying of liver disease is exceptionally painful."
I then went on to outline reasons her family members might be worried about her consumption. But yes, I agree that she has the right to do — and drink — as she wishes.