DEAR NATALIE: Hi, I've been married for 27 years. When we met, it was love at first sight for the both of us. I was only her second boyfriend. We took our time and after six months, we began being intimate. We got married one and a half years later. After we got married, I was with her romantically only once or twice a year. For some years, it was ZERO times a year. I’m not the the type of man to sleep around but I’m a hot 52 year old Latino male. I get looks from a lot of women. I've always made any woman I've been with happy. That's not a problem. I've tried talking to my wife about this lack of romance. Her response is," I’m like my mother. We don't like sex." She knows that I’m unhappy and that I’m very sad that we don’t connect on that level. I have even asked her to see a doctor because it could be hormonal. But, it has fallen on deaf ears. I'm really lonely. I need affection. I'm the nurturer. I’m kind, gentle, I like to cook and clean, Sometimes I feel USED. I know she loves me but, this situation isn’t working. I feel so alone in my marriage. Any advice?
-- DESPERATELY SEEKING
DEAR DESPERATELY SEEKING: I applaud you for being loyal, for trying to talk to your wife about this and communicating your needs. But now it's a matter of what you can live with (or without). If you really can't imagine the rest of your life without sex (and I wouldn't blame you!), then you should consider a divorce. If she isn't interested in sex, and it sounds like it hasn't changed or gotten any better, I don't know what other option you have. Perhaps by saying those words out loud, it might make her recognize just how unhappy you are, and maybe she will be open to going to a sex therapist together. But, if she still doesn't get it or doesn't seem to care, then you should move on. Life is too short to be in a lonely marriage. Separate for a bit, give yourself the opportunity to see what else is out there, and then decide if your marriage is really over or worth saving.
DEAR NATALIE: I’m in a weird situation. My friend Mike has a wonderful boyfriend named Steven. They have been together for five years. Steven is super sweet and really handsome. But, Mike doesn’t seem to appreciate him and is always cheating on him whenever Steven goes away on business trips or working late. Mike says that this is no big deal and that Steven doesn’t care, but Steven doesn’t know what Mike is doing. So, I told Steven what Mike was up to and they got into a huge fight. Now Mike is mad at ME for spilling the beans, and accused me of wanting Steven for myself. Steven wants to leave Mike, and Mike is devastated. Did I do something wrong here? Isn’t it better that Steven knows that truth? -- TATTLETALE
DEAR TATTLETALE: Well, you can kiss your friendship with Mike good-bye. Getting in the middle of someone else’s relationship is never a good idea because you don’t really ever know what is going on behind closed doors. Can you really blame Mike for being angry with you? Meddling to the extreme you did would make anyone mad. Regardless of what was going on in their relationship, it had nothing to do with you and now it is just a big mess. You also have to ask yourself if you did do this (even a tiny bit) out of the hopes that Steven might leave Mike for you. To be accused of that by Mike makes me wonder if there was another motive here, even if it was unconscious on your part. The fact that Steven didn’t even ask you if Mike was cheating and you just volunteered this information makes me question your altruism even more. But, whatever the case, the damage is done. If I were you, I would take a big step back from both of them until the smoke clears. They may work through this or it may be the end. But whatever the outcome, I think it’s time you take a seat. You’ve done enough.
Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: What are your goals for networking? Focus on your intention for attending a networking event so that you are making the most of your interactions.
Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)