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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Has Fallen Out of Love With Good Man and Father

DEAR ABBY: I'm a mother of two girls, ages 3 and 5. Their father and I are together, but I'm not in love with him anymore. I have felt this way for two years now.

I'm not excited to see him come home. When I take our children out, I hope he doesn't want to come. When he touches me affectionately, I want to pull away. I have talked to him about it, but he doesn't feel the same way. He wants to do everything he can to fix it. I'd love that too, but I no longer feel any connection to him.

He's not a bad guy. He gives me plenty of attention and is good with the kids. I feel like an idiot. What kind of person even thinks about breaking her family up when they've got someone so great? How much time should I give this before I call it quits? How much couples counseling should we pay for before we can say we tried, but it didn't work? Should I stay for the kids even though I'm not happy with him? -- JUMBLED IN OHIO

DEAR JUMBLED: I would love to know what happened two years ago that caused you to begin withdrawing from your partner. You ask what kind of person thinks the way you do? The answer may be a woman who is bored, confused, disillusioned or has stopped putting in the effort that's required to maintain a satisfactory relationship. Or, you may not have been in love with him in the first place.

If you're sincere about it, try counseling, first to determine where your relationship went off track, and second to find a way to save it. Your daughters are little. They don't need their lives disrupted. Be sure the person you and your spouse choose is licensed. Give it a year. By then both of you will know whether it was worth the money.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce