Reserved boyfriend may have to be shown how to love

Published 8:48 am Monday, February 5, 2024

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.
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DEAR ABBY: My sister and I have always had a decent relationship, but for about the last two years, we haven’t communicated with each other. I recently learned that she and her husband had a baby three months ago, making me an uncle. This is their fourth child, and they just announced the child’s name. What’s bothering me is that I got the information through a general Facebook post. I was never contacted to be told I was about to become an uncle again. Should I be upset about this? I’m the only brother and family member left. – BATTLING EMOTIONS IN ILLINOIS

DEAR BATTLING: Much depends upon the reason you and your sister haven’t been in contact in two years. Could you have had a falling out with her or her husband? Have you tried communicating with her? She may have felt slighted or that you weren’t interested in a closer relationship. Because this has upset you, pick up the phone and straighten this out with your sister before you drift further apart than you already are. Half the blame for this may be yours, but you won’t know for sure unless you ask.
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DEAR ABBY: I’ve got a small group of women friends I’ve known since childhood. One of them talks about everyone behind our backs. She’s sweet and nice to our faces, but as soon as our backs are turned, she can’t wait to dish the dirt. She really hurt my feelings the last time. I haven’t spoken to her in almost three months, and I am stress-free! Am I being childish? — PEEVED IN PENNSYLVANIA

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DEAR PEEVED: Childish? Not at all. Why spend time with someone you know you can’t trust? In my opinion, you are being smart and self-protective.
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Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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Good advice for everyone – teens to seniors – is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)