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by Abigail Van Buren

After-Work Massages End When Woman Stops Working

DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend of five years, "Jack," is funny, unique and generally very sweet. I'm currently on disability and working hard to get myself healthy enough to start working again. The problem is, Jack thinks I do nothing but sit on my butt all day.

When I worked, we used to trade massages to make each other feel relaxed because our jobs were physically demanding. Now, because I'm not working, he says it's my "job" to help him relax. I give him a massage every night, but it's never reciprocated. When I ask him for one, he puts no effort into it and acts like it's a chore.

I no longer feel loved or special. I feel like a live-in masseuse, but I'm worried that if I stop, there will be no physical contact at all between us. What would be the best way to let him know I'm tired of it? -- RUBBED THE WRONG WAY IN MINNESOTA

DEAR RUBBED THE WRONG WAY: Jack doesn't sound all that "sweet" to me. Because you feel the way you do, tell him how his change of behavior is affecting you. Touch is important because it helps partners to stay connected. Could it be that Jack's unwillingness to give you massages is "punishment" because you're not contributing financially as you did while you were working?

Tell him you miss the closeness you once shared, and that if the shoe were on the other foot, you wouldn't treat him this way. Depending on what he has to say, suggest that for the sake of your relationship, a compromise may be in order because your partnership is not equal now.

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