DEAR ABBY: Woman feels unloved after three decades of marriage

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DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 32 years. I cannot remember the last time he asked me about my day, let alone my life, without a prompt from me. I feel ignored and emotionally neglected. After years of this treatment, I’m no longer willing to tolerate it.

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He doesn’t engage with me verbally unless he has a question or a complaint. If I laugh out loud at something I am reading, he never asks what’s funny. We do love each other, but we have very different personalities. I respect his introversion, and he respects my need for social engagement. His career demands very long hours, and I understood that from the start. We have been living parallel lives most of our marriage.

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Our children are grown and out of the house. He is a good man. He tells other people how much he loves me and how beautiful I am, but he doesn’t say it to ME. I try to engage him in basic small talk and hug him every day, but he doesn’t respond or take the initiative.

Years ago, he volunteered that he wasn’t seeing someone else. I am not, either, but I do have a standing offer from an old flame who does talk with me and does tell me how fine I look. I would never disrespect my husband by having an affair, but maybe it would get my juices flowing again. Is there anything to salvage here? — DISSATISFIED IN TEXAS

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DEAR DISSATISFIED: An affair might get your juices flowing again, but not with your husband, so I don’t advise it. You and your husband may love each other, but unless you are willing to stay on a starvation diet, it may be time to make some decisions about whether the status quo is how you want to live the rest of your life. Do not attempt to do this alone. A licensed marriage and family therapist should guide you — and him.

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DEAR ABBY: I recently reconnected with an acquaintance who has now become a dear friend. I have at least one meal a week with her and her family. I suffer from misophonia, and they are always quite in tune, asking if the volume is too loud on the TV or whatever.

However, while we are eating, there is a lot of lip-smacking and open-mouth chewing by my friend and her 17-year-old daughter. I love them, and I try to ignore it, but it’s extremely difficult. I remember my friend doing this 20 years ago when we were teenagers.

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I know it’s not my place, but is there anything that can be said? I worry about this girl heading off to college soon with such deplorable table manners. They are otherwise wonderful, amazing friends. — HEARS TOO MUCH IN NEW YORK

DEAR HEARS: I agree that atrocious table manners can be a handicap when young people fly the nest. You can, as tactfully as possible, remind your friend ONCE about your hearing disorder and that it is magnified when she and her daughter chew with their mouths open. If that doesn’t help, however, you may have to stop being a dinner guest.

— 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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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