The couple’s marriage became a partnership of convenience

Jeanne Phillips

DEAR ABBY: Although my husband and I are no longer in a romantic relationship, we are what I call ‘life partners’. After cancer rendered him impotent, he rejected all physical affection. I had an extramarital affair that lasted four years. My boyfriend passed away last year. I have no desire to be physically involved with my husband, but I do miss being affectionate and having a romantic (not necessarily sexual) relationship.

I feel empty and not sure if we should consider divorce or continue in our daily routine of being socially close but otherwise distant. We no longer share the same room and we rarely touch each other. He has recently become more verbally and emotionally abusive during arguments, which may be a result of his recent reconnection with his criminal brother who molested his wife. I don’t know which direction to go. — WITHOUT HOPE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR WITHOUT HOPE: The relationship you described with your husband is not a “marriage” in the traditional sense. Ask your husband, in the least confrontational way possible, if he wants to stay married to you or get divorced. Make it clear to him what your needs are and ask him if he is willing or able to meet them. I can’t imagine why you would want to stay in a relationship that is becoming increasingly abusive. Consult a divorce lawyer and ask him how to protect your interests BEFORE talking to your husband, to make sure he’s not trying to hide his (and your) assets.


DEAR ABBY: I took a job and moved to another state. My wife chose to stay so our children could complete their education in the hometown where they grew up. Over the past 20 months, we’ve been back and forth between the state I work in and our hometown. I suspect she’s not happy with the idea of ​​moving, even though it’s a place worth investing in and provides a quality of life for our family that doesn’t exist in many places. other places.

A lot of my time is spent calming him down, especially when there’s conflict between our teenagers at home. We are actively looking for schools in my new town, but there is never a solution to our relocation problem. Tips? — LONG DISTANCE HUSBAND/DAD

DEAR LONG DISTANCE: I would have liked you to say if your wife works outside the home. Does she have a career she doesn’t want to leave? If the answer is no, keep looking for schools in the new community. Then contact a real estate agent to help you find a suitable home for your family. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few, invite your wife to watch them with you and choose what she thinks is most appropriate.

At this point, if she doesn’t want to make the move, she should say so, allowing you to decide whether to sacrifice what you envision for your family’s future, continue to have a long-distance marriage, or return to the town where you left so you can all be together.


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 or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


For a great guide to becoming a better conversationalist and more social person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, and an $8 check or money order (US funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, PO Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling charges are included in the price.)

(EDITORS: If you have editorial questions, please contact Clint Hooker, [email protected])


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