DEAR ABBY: I am a mature, divorced woman living with my boyfriend for the past two years. We have a good life in general. We live in a nice home in a great community. My problem is, he isn't capable of showing as much affection as I need. He grew up in a family in which affection was not demonstrated physically or verbally. He claims he is the same way but will "work on it." His temporary efforts are nice, but they don't last long and things return to "business as usual." Our sex life works -- in a mechanical kind of way, but there is no "lovemaking" as part of it. How do I maintain being understanding toward the situation? Should we part ways because my needs aren't being met? He's a good man, and the lack of affection is the only thing missing. -- UNFULFILLED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR UNFULFILLED: Try this: Fill your boyfriend to the brim with love and affection, and what spills over may come back to you. Communication is key. Tell him you love him -- often -- and be physically demonstrative. If you need affection, ask for it. The kind of spontaneous demonstrations of affection you crave were never patterned for him during his formative years, so he will have to be taught everything. Please try it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you do.