Dear Amy: I have been married for more than 20 years to a very nice man who is a good father. We generally get along, but we don't have much of a romantic relationship.
It has always been this way (at least since early dating). He works hard and is devoted to both his career and children, but I feel like our relationship is not that important.
For the past few years we have spent very little time together as a couple. I feel very lonely and can't seem to find any comfort with him. We have been to marriage counseling, but our issues were never resolved (at least to my satisfaction).
I feel like we are friends but not lovers. As I get older, I wonder what will become of us and how I will deal with the loneliness as our children move away. Do you have any advice?
— Friends without benefits
Dear Friends: Thoughtful parents and partners try to keep the relationship fires stoked during the kids' younger years by having date nights, going away together occasionally and overall putting the marriage at the center of the family.
In your counseling sessions, are you only looking for ways for him to change? Are there things you could do differently to try to inspire a shift in your marriage (and other relationships), thus easing your loneliness?
To enjoy a companionable togetherness, you two have to spend time together. Simply put, you have more to talk about when you've done things together. Traveling, hiking, bike riding, going to concerts or working on a home project together are all positive places to start.
Meanwhile, you should definitely continue with professional counseling on your own.
Dear Amy: Responding to the letter from "Terrified," whose mother refused to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding: For those of us who wait and wait for an organ transplant, a motorcyclist speeding along without a helmet looks exactly like a squadron of useful organs flying (temporarily) in formation.
Let people who choose to wear a helmet do so, but don't criticize those who choose to take their chances and want to sacrifice their lives to save many more. Over 100,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant; anything that increases the supply of lifesaving or life-extending organs can't be too bad.
Dear Peter: This is pretty stark, but I get your point. Thank you.