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I'm a virgin and my boyfriend isn't. He's had much more experience than me, and though I don't care about his past, I want to wait until marriage until we have sex. Is this too much to ask?
Grandma: I'm sure you and the boyfriend are having oral or manual sex. Therefore, that is sex. Your boyfriend is a saint. I would advise you to marry sooner rather than later — how many years are you going to wait?
Alison: What I'm wondering is how old you are, and how serious the relationship is. Are you actually going to be getting engaged in the near future? Talk to your boyfriend about what you want, and see what he thinks, but stick to your beliefs. It's fine if you do make the decision not to wait, but it shouldn't be just to hold on to him. I know a couple that went the first four years of their relationship without having sex, because the girl wanted to wait for marriage. The guy was in love with her, and decided it was worth it. They're married now and doing great, so it is possible.
I'm twenty-five, and I have a three-year-old son. My husband is not a particularly sexual person, and we sometimes go weeks without intimate contact. He says he's in love with me, but he's very cold and doesn't act interested.
For about sixteen months, I've been seeing someone else. He's great, but also married, and will never leave his wife. In the original letter you wrote to your granddaughter, you said not to marry a man if there is no passion. But now I find myself in love with a man who won't be physical with me, while caring very deeply for a guy who will never be with me. Do I leave and go for it alone, or try to make things happen with my cold husband? Or worse, stay a secret lover to a man who's perfect for me in my head but not in reality?
Grandma Carmela: How old is your husband? He should see a urologist or primary doctor, or have his testosterone levels checked — they might be very low. If that's corrected, he'll be a new and happy man. If your husband wants to save his marriage, he should realize that a wife needs love from her husband, and she has sexual needs. If his hormones are normal, your husband has psychological problems. See a marriage counselor, psychiatrist, or divorce lawyer. Perhaps he is gay and is afraid to come out of the "closet," and is living a double life. I hate to hurt your feelings, but I feel your husband does not love you. I suggest you end the affair with the married man — there is no future for you there, only more heartache.
Alison: I would never have thought of getting his hormone levels checked, but hey, why not? Is there another issue triggering his lack of intimacy, like depression? Or has he always been that way? I don't have the experience of being in a marriage to offer much guidance, but counseling sounds like a good option, especially since you say you're still in love with him, and you have a child. Whether or not you work it out with your husband, I agree with Grandma — end the affair.
I've been dating my boyfriend for six years, and I feel like I'm falling out of love with him. I don't know if he feels the same way or not. Also, there's this new guy who I'm infatuated with. It's totally different with him. Should I work things out with my boyfriend, or go for the new guy?
Grandma: If it's been six years with no marriage proposal yet, it looks as though your relationship will never go further. You have met a new man who is different. I like the word "different" — it sounds like you met Mr. Right. Go for it, enjoy, and dump the six-year relationship — it's dead and over.
Alison: You need to have a serious talk with your boyfriend about your relationship. Chances are he can sense that something is off. It will be difficult, but worth it to lay all of your feelings out on the table. It might be good to take a break, date other people, and see if the grass is greener on the other side — but know that you're risking losing him. Think about if you're really okay with that, even if it doesn't work out with the new guy.
My marriage is nearly too perfect. We almost never fight — I can count the number of times we've raised our voices with each other on one hand. On one hand, I feel like I'm complaining about nothing, but on the other, I'm worried about what this could mean. How much conflict should a good relationship have?
Grandma: You're lucky. There is excellent communication between you two and you have a good marriage.
Alison: Again, I'm not married, but isn't it a good sign if you have nothing legitimate to fight about? Do you really want to be one of those couples that get into screaming matches? As long as you're happy and talking about any issues you do have, there's no need for lots of conflict. It's a lot sexier in the movies than in real life.