DEAR AMY: My wife and I have not had a physical relationship with each other in several years. She seems to have completely lost interest. That has resulted in an accompanying slowdown of our emotional bond. We still enjoy doing lots of things together but there is no sex, no physical displays, and not much emotional connection, either. Dealing with that has been tough for me (we are in our early 60s). I eventually made a long-distance connection with another man who was facing the same issues that I am facing. My friend is also married -- to another man. He and I have developed a close relationship that has become physical as well as emotional and spiritual. We stay in touch via email, texting and phone. When we are together, it is not just the physical part of the relationship that we enjoy; it's all the other things, too. In the past I have tried talking to my wife about the physical and emotional parts of our relationship that have withered but she seems to have no interest at all in doing anything to change the status quo. I'm in a real quandary. I have come to rely on this other person outside our marriage to meet some of my needs. And he feels the same way. Do you have any suggestions for me?
DEAR LONELY: Answer this: If your wife approached you today and said her libido had awakened, would you want to be sexually intimate with her? That's what I thought.
Widely quoted research reports that 43 percent of women say they experience some form of sexual dysfunction. Ideally partners would face this challenge together.
There is no loneliness quite like the feeling of being alone in your own marriage. But you made your own choice to leave your marriage and seek passion elsewhere.
You have some tough decisions ahead. You cannot work on your marriage if you are intensely bonded to another person. You should see a counselor as you navigate this life-changing situation. Ultimately I hope you will choose to be honest with your wife so she can make an informed decision about her own future.
DEAR AMY: I am a 43-year-old woman who has battled her weight her entire life. I have tried several diets and paid thousands of dollars in an effort to lose weight. I likely have about 130 to 150 pounds to lose. I have recently looked into bariatric surgery. I am a nurse and am aware of both the pros and cons. My husband (of two years) is dead set against surgery. He is afraid I will die on the table. Given my weight I am destined to a shorter life span already. I understand the psychology behind my terrible eating habits. Now I need to be healthy for my 9-year-old daughter and my patients. Twelve-hour shifts are hard on the joints. I am a very independent woman. I find it difficult having to ask for an agreement from my hubby when the reality is -- it is my body and my money that will cover this. What do you think?
Wanna Be Healthier
DEAR WANNA BE: You do not need your husband's permission for this surgery. Stop seeking it. Instead, seek his support as you make your own choice.
Your husband loves you -- just as you are. If successful this surgery will result in an extreme change in you, representing a huge unknown for your husband. Be brave as you move forward, and ask him also to be brave as you both face this change. But don't wait for his permission.
DEAR AMY: Your feminist-tinged advice cracks me up. "Very Worried Mom" wrote of her fear that her 14-year-old son was "addicted" to porn. And you fell for that!? Excuse me -- have you ever been around a 14-year-old boy? Their hormones are raging. And they love porn!
DEAR DISGUSTED: I have been around 14-year-old boys. And unfortunately for me I also have a passing acquaintance with modern Internet porn (research!).
Teen boys are the same as ever, but porn has changed. It's not Playboy magazine. And it's not good for teen consumption.