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by Abigail Van Buren

Unaffectionate Husband Is Not Likely to Change

DEAR ABBY: I knew my husband for two years before we married four years ago. My problem is we are no longer intimate -- not even hugs or kisses. For the first two years we did have sex, but the only affection I get now is a kiss on my forehead or my hand.

When I asked if we could sleep together during the weekends, he refused. He says the reason is he has to finish his work. I have told him how much this hurts me and he keeps promising to change, but it never happens. When I recently asked him why, he said he is "shy." I am starting to doubt his love for me because when I need him, he's not there, and when I need his support, he doesn't protect me.

His mother is pushing us for a grandchild. She blames me for not "forcing" her son to sleep with me, which is impossible. I spend most of my time working out at the gym or doing volunteer work, which keeps me from getting too depressed. But when my mother-in-law starts in, I feel scared and don't dare go back to my house. Every few nights I have nightmares and wake up crying. I'm beginning to think I should end this marriage. Should I? -- ALONE IN SINGAPORE

DEAR ALONE: Whatever is going on with your husband, it doesn't appear that he has been completely candid with you. He appears to be using his workload as an excuse not to be intimate. I also seriously doubt that his problem is "shyness."

Your husband may have erectile difficulties or a diminished sex drive, which are medical problems that could be fixed if he was willing to address them. He may be involved with someone else, not be interested in women at all, or he could have simply fallen out of love with you.

Regardless of what your MIL says, a child is NOT your answer and would only complicate matters further. If your husband would consent to counseling with you, it might help. If not, by all means talk to a lawyer.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Sex & Gender | Family & Parenting

Cancer Diagnosis Changes Couple's Marriage Plans

DEAR ABBY: My fiance has just been told that he has cancer. He wants to move our wedding date up because of it, to make sure my boys and I will be taken care of if things don't go well. I am torn about whether we should. I want to marry him, but I think we should work on one thing at a time. Thoughts, Abby? -- MAYBE MARRYING IN MINNESOTA

DEAR MAYBE MARRYING: Your fiance is looking out for you and your boys, and I respect that. The traditional marriage vows include "... for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part." He may survive his cancer diagnosis -- many patients do.

While some in your situation would want to wait until things were more certain, there are no guarantees in life. Your fiance will need your strength, love and care in the months to come, and if knowing you are taken care of will ease his mind, I think you should do it.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Health & Safety | Death

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