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by Abigail Van Buren

Family Dog Gets More Attention Than Man in Loveless Marriage

DEAR ABBY: This isn't a dog question but a romance one. I think my wife would rather I sleep on the dog bed and the dog sleep with her. Every morning she quietly slides out of bed to pet the dog instead of rolling over and connecting with me. At night they go to bed at the same time. The dog also gets most of her attention during the day.

We have been married for 20 years and have three kids. I'm tired of living in a marriage without romance. I can't remember the last time my wife initiated intimacy. We have sex maybe twice a month. While I don't want a divorce -- yet -- I'm almost at that point. Being a man, abstinence is not part of my DNA.

I love my wife. She's a great mom and spouse in most ways, except when it comes to affection and intimacy. I have talked with her about this, but nothing changes. Honestly, I think she'd be OK if we never had sex again. I know there's a saying that "If you are not having sex with your husband, someone else is," and I'm beginning to think that is my future. Please advise because I am running on empty. -- CLOSE TO DOGGONE DONE

DEAR CLOSE TO DOGGONE DONE: Talk to your wife again and ask her why she avoids having relations with you. Is it something you are (or aren't) doing? Has sex become physically painful for her? Could she be approaching menopause, with the inevitable hormonal changes that accompany it?

If it's either of the latter two possibilities, she needs to talk to her doctor about possible solutions. However, if it's something else, then it's time to enlist the help of a licensed marriage and family therapist.