DEAR ABBY: I am a 40-year-old man, divorced with teenage children, and have been exclusively dating a woman who has a 4-year-old daughter. There have been no clashes between our children.
We have yet to have sex. When I'm over at her place, I sleep on the living room floor either on an inflatable air mattress (her idea) or in a sleeping bag (my response when I just couldn't take the air mattress any longer). Either way, I feel like I'm left to sleep on a dog bed -- not great for my self-esteem, as you can imagine.
My girlfriend uses her daughter as the reason, suggesting that the girl just wouldn't understand me sleeping in Mommy's bed. I don't personally see it as being a big issue for her daughter, given how long we have been together. We have discussed the subject, and she makes reference to perhaps planning some sort of rendezvous, but it never seems to go from theory to practice.
There are no religious issues here. My girlfriend did have a promiscuous and troubled past as a young adult, so I'm sensitive to the issue. But this is driving me nuts. Any suggestions would be appreciated. -- ON HOLD IN NEW YORK
DEAR ON HOLD: People usually find the time to do the things they want to do. Your girlfriend may be holding out for marriage, not have a strong sex drive, or not be as attracted to you as you are to her.
You didn't mention how long you have been seeing this lady, but I think it's time you discussed your feelings with her again, find out exactly why your sexual relationship hasn't gone from theory to practice, and take your cue from there.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 37 and have been married for eight years. I love my husband, but I'm not "in love" with him. In my younger years I gave my heart to another woman.
Since then, I have masked my true feelings, but I can't do it anymore. I'm still in love with "Loretta," and I want to be with her. But now I have many responsibilities -- husband, kids, etc.
I have told my husband about my feelings, but he seems to think this is something I'll get over. I was 17 when Loretta and I started our relationship. We still love each other very much. I don't want to hurt him, so what do I do? -- FOLLOWING MY HEART IN ALABAMA
DEAR FOLLOWING: What you do is tell your husband that you thought you might be able to get over your love for Loretta, but that you haven't. Do not expect him to take the news lightly because he has good reason to be upset. But he needs to know that none of this is his fault.
If he has trouble accepting and understanding this, suggest he contact the Straight Spouse Network (straightspouse.org) for the support it offers to the heterosexual partners of LGBT individuals.
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