CAR­OLYN HAX

Austin American-Statesman - - CLASSIFIED -

I’d like to warn my hus­band that I’m un­happy enough that it could de­stroy us, but I’m not sure how to do it with­out an ul­ti­ma­tum. I’m un­happy with a gen­eral lack of af­fec­tion, es­pe­cially the G-rated kind. That both­ers me all the more, like I’m only worth an ef­fort when sex is in­volved.

We’ve had dif­fer­ent ver­sions of this con­ver­sa­tion ev­ery few months for two years — ev­ery­thing from the se­ri­ous and tear­ful, “I’m lonely,” to a jok­ing, “Pay at­ten­tion to me.” When I raise the sub­ject, I’ll en­joy the sweet fore­head kiss or ran­dom hug for a few days, but it never lasts.

It doesn’t seem fair to blind­side him with a sep­a­ra­tion, but I don’t want to be a “do this or else” kind of wife and won’t stay in a lonely mar­riage.

His in­abil­ity to show sus­tained af­fec­tion con­tains es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion: His daily-af­fec­tion set point is be­low what you want.

So, tweak­ing your orig­i­nal ques­tion: Know­ing he’s not af­fec­tion­ate, what do you want next? To make one last re­quest? To try liv­ing in the mar­riage for a while this is how it’s go­ing to be?

Do you want to sep­a­rate? There’s no “blind­sid­ing” some­one af­ter eight dis­cus­sions in the past two years. That’s a lot of no­tice. Say this, even. And: “I’ve run out of ways to ask. I also don’t think it’s fair for ei­ther of us to stay in a mar­riage where we’re be­ing asked to be peo­ple we’re not.”

Be­fore “seeya,” you can also say you’ve con­tem­plated leav­ing over the af­fec­tion prob­lem and may still, but you want him to know this is how lonely you feel.

He’ll ei­ther change per­ma­nently or he won’t.

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