Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Couple Must Work To Restore Intimacy

DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been married for a long time, but we have not been close for years. We look good at a party, but we don’t share any type of intimacy. In part, it’s my fault. We were at each other’s throats some years back, and he was not nice to me at all. That’s when I stopped being intimate with him. After a while, it just started being habit that we weren’t romantic. Now, our son is about to go away to college. I worry that if things don’t change, we won’t have a reason to stay together. I can’t make it on my own financially, but I also don’t know how to turn the romance back on. Do you have any suggestions? -- Turn It On

DEAR TURN IT ON: You can’t have it both ways. Either you work to repair your marriage, or you prepare for the potential of a life on your own. If your husband is interested in intimacy, figure out how to reignite your own interest -- assuming you want to. Would the two of you consider going to counseling? You could choose marriage counseling or even sex counseling. You need to address the problem before you in an open and thoughtful way, which is why professional help may be in order.

You have to decide what you want in your life. Staying with your husband for financial reasons while withholding intimacy doesn’t necessarily seem like a fair trade. Once your child is gone, you are probably right: He may no longer feel obliged to stick around. You need to answer the questions of what you want and what are you willing to do to have it. After that, the work begins.