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by Abigail Van Buren

Despondent Wife Is All Alone in Marriage to Silent Husband

DEAR ABBY: I am so lonely. My husband refuses to communicate with me or do anything with me. The only outlet I have is work and school. I would like to end this misery, but I don't know where to begin. We have been married for 17 years. I have never been unfaithful to him, although I have thought about it -- not for the physical aspect, but for the communication. -- DESPERATE FOR SOMEONE TO TALK TO

DEAR DESPERATE: Has your marriage always been this way? When did this "great silence" begin? Most important, why have you tolerated an emotional "starvation diet" for so long?

If you think your marriage is worth saving, offer your husband the chance to repair it through marriage counseling -- but be prepared for it to take some time, because old habits are hard to break. If not, then accept the fact that you have suffered enough, and formalize the reality that you haven't really been married in a very long time.