DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for 12 years and our relationship has started to suffer. We no longer have dates, we don’t spend any time talking with each other unless it’s about the kids, and the intimacy has faded.
A year ago, I asked him to go to a counselor with me. I asked him to be the one to set it up, as I’m always in charge of doctor appointments, bill paying, etc. I wanted him to show he was “all in” to help fix our marriage. I have reminded him to do it several times, but he hasn’t.
He claims to love me and to want our marriage to thrive, yet he does nothing. Now that the intimacy is completely gone, he all of a sudden wants to work on things. Go figure. I feel hurt and rejected and like throwing in the towel, but we have built a life together and I do love him. I don’t think therapy will work because I’ll feel like I manipulated him to get there by withholding the intimacy.
I feel sad and defeated. The man I married is gone, replaced by this person who is just going through the motions and using me to take care of his kids and clean his house. Please advise. — ON HOLD IN ARKANSAS
DEAR ON HOLD: Ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist and make an appointment — for YOURSELF — for help rebuilding your sagging self-esteem. Because you long ago assumed the role of organizer-arranger in your marriage, it was unrealistic to expect your husband to suddenly pick up the ball. He may not know how. Once you are stronger emotionally, schedule those sessions with a licensed marriage and family therapist, as you have all the other appointments during your marriage. Your relationship with your husband does need work, and this is the path to repairing it.
DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I have a child together. I’m 31, and he’s 16 years older. Sometimes I don’t know if our relationship will work out in the long run because he’s so stubborn and set in his ways. I’m more laid-back and easygoing.
What is bothering me the most right now is his mother constantly asks him for money. It’s not just for little things; it’s for roof and furnace repair and problems with her water heater, washer/dryer, stove and A/C. Her husband works, and he should be able to provide her with the things they need for their house.
It’s not like my fiance is rich. He isn’t. I have tried talking to him about it, but it just ends up in an explosive argument. It’s like, why should I even try to save for our family’s future and the things we need for our house if he’s going to keep giving it to his mother every time she asks? Please help. — ALL FOR MAMA
DEAR ALL: You wrote that YOU are trying to save for your family’s future. Is your fiance giving his mother money that you have been earning, or is it his? If it is his, he can do with it as he pleases — at least until after the wedding. If he is fiscally responsible, he should also be trying to save for the future. However, if he isn’t, recognize that the pattern he has established may not be a sound one for you and your child, and plan accordingly.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)