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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Questions Future With Unaffectionate Man

DEAR ABBY: I am 28 and have dated my boyfriend "Dan" for two years. We have lived together for the past year. I fell for him the moment I laid eyes on him and have always imagined we would spend the rest of our lives together.

My problem is Dan shows me almost no affection. He doesn't tell me he loves me unless I say it first; he never wants to cuddle next to me or hug me when he gets home from work. He insists that he loves me, and says his lack of demonstrativeness is because he didn't grow up in an affectionate household and it makes him uncomfortable.

I feel Dan is an adult and can choose to make his household -- our household -- one filled with love and affection. It's starting to make me question whether we really have a future together. Am I overreacting? -- NO HUGS, NO CUDDLES IN PHILLY

DEAR NO HUGS, NO CUDDLES: No. You're an intelligent woman, and you're asking intelligent questions. Before making up your mind about Dan, make clear to him what your needs are. Demonstrate the kind of affection you need from him, and see if he's willing to make the effort. If he's not up to it, then -- face it -- he's not the man for you. To marry someone who can't show love would be for you to live on an emotional starvation diet.

DEAR ABBY: I am a caring, loving husband. I enjoy my time with my wife. I think about our future a lot and want our marriage to last for as long as possible.

I make exercise a priority in my life, but I can't get her to understand that she should, too. I love her for who she is, but I want her to be in great health.

I am a very straightforward person and have told her in ways she didn't respond well to. She becomes defensive. How do you tell a woman she should exercise without offending her? -- FIT IN AKRON, OHIO

DEAR FIT: Talk to her about the couples you encounter who exercise together. Tell her how much it would mean to you if you could share the activity together. If your form of exercise isn't one that works for her, then find something you can agree on to do together.

If that doesn't help, then you'll have to accept her for who she is -- a confirmed couch potato.

DEAR ABBY: I live in Japan and love your column. It is informative and helps me stay in touch with America. But I need to get something off my chest.

I am beyond tired of the number of women I read about in your column who refer to their wedding day as "my special day." News flash, ladies: You should be using the term "our special day"! If you're so focused on your dress and hair and any faux pas -- real or imagined -- your guests may commit that you lose focus on the life you and your husband are beginning, perhaps you should buy a pet rather than get married.

Any person who has stayed married for more than a few years knows the marriage ceremony is the easy part. The self-absorption that permeates today's wedding scene ranges from embarrassing to sickening. -- ROB IN TOMAKOMAI

DEAR ROB: Weddings (and funerals) can bring out the worst in people because they are times when emotion sometimes trumps common sense. The majority of American brides are gracious, polite, loving and hardworking. They are also prepared for the realities that come after the fairy tale wedding. (And if they're not, I hear from them!) Please don't judge all American brides by the ones you read about in my column. The weddings that go smoothly I don't hear about.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)