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Husband is just roommate

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Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for six years. We’re older, and it’s the third marriage for both of us.

At first, my husband was very passionate, loving and anxious to please. We took a lot of trips and went out to eat and socialize regularly.

Gradually, over the past three years, he has moved into the guest bedroom, and we haven’t had sex at all. We rarely go anywhere together anymore, and he is content to spend most of the day looking at his phone.

He gets annoyed when I try to talk to him about our relationship. He does a lot of the cooking, cleaning and house maintenance. We seem to have settled into a platonic relationship, much to my dismay. I want to know how to rekindle our relationship and start to live again. — Feeling Just Like a Roommate

Dear Feeling Just Like a Roommate: You have to take hold of your relationship and your life and happiness. Insist that your husband sit down with you for an uninterrupted conversation — no phones allowed — and express to him just what you wrote in your letter. Try not to be accusatory, and avoid saying, “You do this” and, “You don’t do that.” Instead, make “I” statements, such as, “I’m feeling just like a roommate” or, “I don’t feel fulfilled when we don’t have sex, we don’t travel and we rarely go anywhere together.”

His response will tell you everything. Of course, don’t rule out couples therapy to get professional insights, which can be very helpful.

Dear Annie: Your advice to “Anxious Aunt” about a family heirloom was perfect. As I once read in Ann Landers’ column, “People are more important than things.” When I was young, I was on the other end of this dilemma.

More than 40 years ago, I accepted a proposal from a man whose family was of a different culture. His mother and grandmother were particularly kind in welcoming me to the family. When his grandmother died, she left me a lovely necklace and earring set in her will.

Unfortunately, soon afterward, I had an argument with the man, who struck me. I feel that physical abuse has no place in a happy marriage and broke off the engagement. I felt that it was not right for me to keep the family jewelry, so I returned it to his mother, insuring the package for many times its worth as a mark of respect. Luckily, I kept the receipt.

A few months later, the police came to my door to arrest me, as my ex-fiance claimed that I had stolen some jewelry from his house. I produced the receipt and asked if I might make a telephone call, which the police officers allowed. I called his mother, who spoke to the officers on my behalf, and promised me that I would hear no more from her son. For my part, I declined to press countercharges because that would have required me to see the man again, which I did not need in my life.

“Anxious Aunt” must let the heirloom go, no matter how painful it seems. Resentment, especially over what was originally an act of kindness, leads to irrational anger, which makes us all behave in ways that lead to regrets. Thank you for encouraging her to do the right thing. — Let It Go and Moved On

Dear Let it Go and Moved On: Thank you for your very kind words and letter. Declining to press charges so that you could keep the man out of your life was admirable and, in the end, rewarding for you.

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