Dear Neil: I’ve had a good relationship for the past year with a 48-year-old man who has never been married. He needs a fair amount of time to himself. I also like time alone, but I find myself wishing we could have a more permanent relationship together. He has never expressed interest in marriage or living together. How can I fulfill my needs for a sense of sanctuary with someone else? Is it naïve of me to think an unmarried bachelor at 48 would ever want a deeper commitment than he has now?

Waiting And Wishing In Denver

Dear Waiting And Wishing: There are indeed some 48-year-old never married bachelors that want a deeper relationship with a woman, and that would be good long-term prospects, but I don’t hear that your man is asking for—or attempting to create—such a relationship with you.

The first step in deciding what’s possible in a relationship is to openly talk about what you want, inviting the question of a deeper relationship with greater commitment and more time together, and see how he reacts to your idea. This fits into the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” genre.

If he shuts the door, or puts the question off into “not now,” he is saying “no” to your request.

Dear Neil: My husband and I recently married. I have four children from my previous marriage, and have worked part-time, which has allowed me to financially squeak by every month. I am supposed to pay for the household expenses (most of the food, phone, utilities, the majority of the mortgage, etc.)

My husband, on the other hand, makes four to five times what I do. He is “investing for our future,” although he also pays for home improvement and family vacations. While he usually isn’t extravagant with his money, he can and does do anything he wants. I am broke all the time, and most months I have argued for him to subsidize me in order to meet my expenses. He thinks I see him as a “cash cow.”

I have begun contemplating going back to work full-time. But we are talking about having a child together, and my husband queries why my children benefited from my working only part-time, but his child would have to be put in daycare. How does a couple solve these issues without damaging their relationship?

Caught in a Quandary In Colorado

Dear Caught in a Quandary: You and your husband are not functioning as a partnership. Partnerships try to be fair and equal to each person, recognizing his/her unique contributions and gifts to the relationship, as well as special needs, such as children, medical expenses, etc.

Each person in a partnership identifies his/her needs and wishes, and an honest attempt is made to accommodate both parties, so that neither person feels the arrangement is unequal or unfair.

You feel the arrangement is indeed unequal and unfair. So I would recommend you discuss renegotiating the financial arrangements in your family, saying you would like the burden you feel to be shared more equally between the two of you.

Everything in a marriage is essentially a negotiation, and it sounds as if you don’t feel very taken care of, nurtured or valued by him. Perhaps you need to negotiate better.

Has your relationship turned cold and distant? Neil’s book Love, Sex, and Staying Warm can help you rekindle your passion.

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