DEAR ABBY: I'm in a new relationship with a man I have known for 30 years. We had our own lives, married others, had kids and then split with our spouses. After all this time, we have finally gotten together and discovered we were made for each other. Neither of us has experienced this intense kind of love before.
My problem is that although he tells me often that he loves me and cannot see his life without me, he never compliments me -- whether I'm dressed up, or just putting on makeup and looking special. I compliment him all the time.
I have low self-esteem and insecurities due to previous abusive relationships. It's not like I want to hear it constantly, but it would be nice to hear it at least once in a blue moon. Also, there are times I don't think he finds me sexy or attractive. How can I express this without embarrassing us both? -- NEEDS VALIDATION IN NEW ENGLAND
DEAR NEEDS: Have you told this man what you have expressed to me -- that it's hurtful that when you make an extra effort to look nice for him, he seems to ignore it? Is he aware that you suffer from low self-esteem because of previous emotionally abusive relationships?
Honest communication is important, particularly in new relationships, as well as those between partners who have known each other for a long time although not on an intimate level. While the two of you are basking in the flowering of this unexpected passion, you still have to get to know each other.
How he reacts to the conversation and whether he's willing to put forth some extra effort will tell you everything you need to know about a future with him.