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Ask Anne: Relationship Advice
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Relationship Questions

I cannot continue to live without affection

I've been married 14 years. For about 13 years, my husband has not shown affection to me (holding hands, sending cards, buying gifts, hugs, sitting next to me, etc.). We have pets and he showers them with affection. He says he loves me and shouldn't have to repeat it, unless something changes. He has also been verbally abusive during our marriage. March 2005, I told him I was considering divorce and seeing a counselor. He refuses to see a counselor, saying he has a brain and knows how to use it to fix his problems. In the last few months, it is obvious he is trying harder. He hasn't been angry much of the time. The verbal abuse has decreased considerably, although I still get an abusive remark several times a week. He has been exceptionally nice the last month. However, there continues to be no affection. Over the last 11 months, I have talked with him several times to express my need for affection and that I cannot continue to live without it. After typing this, it seems obvious, but I really don't want to give up on the marriage if there is any chance he is coming around.

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  • 'Anne' is the pseudonym for the individual who writes this relationship advice column.
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