Baggage Check Live: "Cuddler Versus Non-Cuddler"

Mar 13, 2018

Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Bonior was online to take your comments about her advice column, Baggage Check, and any other questions you might have. These comments may appear in an upcoming column running in Express and online.

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Welcome! I am thrilled to have you here. Any slow-bees out there? Today's column wondered if it can be surmountable when two members of a couple are at opposite speeds. And in Letter 2, we see a person who doesn't want anything to do with that distant family member from 40 years ago who is now calling and emailing. Was I too hard on them?

Also, today I am Zainab-less (sad trombone!) So I will be producing myself, um, myself.  I kindly ask for patience, and for a heads-up without ridicule if I post the same response, say, 457 times.

Thankfully for all of us, she'll be back next week. Let's begin!

In response to today's column:

I'm a slow person, but I try not to be too annoying to others. For things he does on his own without you, just try to do something else and ignore it. If dinner always end up being late, then have a snack. For things he does with you, there may be things you can do to help. For example, my ex used to get mad at how long it took for me to get out the door, but he always expected me to prepare/remember the shopping list, grab/label the items to take to the post office, etc. (And he got mad if I didn't because he never would, even with reminders, but that was him, not you). If you can help with getting things together to get out the door, it can keep you occupied and less frustrated while he finds his shoes. Slow vs fast walking is one I haven't solved - I'm short and end up literally running after people, which I really hate doing especially in dress shoes. But if he can meet you in the middle in some areas, and you can help in others, then maybe it reduces your frustration levels enough to allow you to enjoy a more relaxed attitude about the need for speed?

From someone who's been there! Much appreciated. I agree that it will take adaptation if it is to have a shot of working. And that is SO true that sometimes the people complaining about how "long" their partner takes are not realizing that their partner is the one turning off all the lights/double-checking the diaper bag/making sure the doors are locked/putting the final dishes in the sink. Both parties need to look at what's contributing.

And ahhhhh, the I-am-short-so-I-will-have-to-break-into-full-gallop-if-you-expect-me-to-keep-up issue. I hear you on that too!

Hi Andrea - I thought this amusing recent post on Slate about another couple with different speeds in life, would be interesting to the person who wrote you -

Thank you for this! Can only skim now, but it's so interesting because it seems to be an even bigger metaphor-- slowness in making decisions/commitments/leaps of faith, etc.

Apparently there are many dimensions of the slow-fast continuum!

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 6 months and we’re both mid-20s. Met his family for the first time this weekend and they’re objectively great people and he’s really close to them but I just can’t envision a future in which I’m happy being as close to them/spending as much time with them as he wants and not hating and resenting it. He’s always been open about how close he is with his family, and the fact his parents will move to whatever city he ends up in, his mom will provide child care since his family doesn’t trust daycare, etc. I don’t want that and I think I kind of ignored it, but now it’s very real. I don’t want to make him choose between me and his parents but I just can’t see this in my future, long-term. So do I break up now, or put it off? In about a year we’ll end up needing to do long distance, so can I just pretend it’s all fine for a year and then break it off at that natural point? Things are great between us when it’s just us...

So is it just more "real" now that you've met them in the flesh and blood? Or is there something about them that you're uncomfortable with and you're not saying? And is your heart really in this relationship? I hear a lot of reasons for relationship doubts in this job-- but "has great parents who want to help with child care" is a little bit toward the "Huh?" spectrum.

I do get it-- you're worried about their intrusion into your daily life (another thing I hear about a lot in this gig!) but if they are "great" people and your relationship with your boyfriend is "great," what makes you think that you couldn't communicate honestly about some boundary-setting, and have the chance of them actually follow those boundaries?

Honestly, I have a hunch as to the answer to my own question right here. The very fact that you would even CONSIDER "pretend(ing) it's fine for a year and then break(ing) it off at that natural point"-- well-- methinks there's a little issue with communicating you feelings openly and naturally, and giving yourself the right to be honest about things that are difficult to talk about. So why not push yourself to do just that: TALK to him about all this? Or-- circling back-- is your heart not really in it and this is the red herring/excuse?


You say your partner gets teased about this - by you and by his friends - but doesn't care. So he's obviously getting something out of this. Mindfulness, the ability to do some simple tasks on autopilot while his brain is chewing on a difficult problem, etc. Maybe you should try to understand why he does this, and that would help you with your frustration.

Yes, I love this. A lot of people mentioned in the comments that it would be good to know what is behind the slowness. (Or, could we look at this at what is behind the LW's fastness?) That will tell a lot about whether the gap can be bridged. Thanks.

It takes FOREVER to get me out the door. There's always One More Thing I need to do before we can leave, or I get distracted, or I'm slow and grouchy in the mornings. It's gotten so much worse since I've been put on a medication that makes me feel sluggish and a bit forgetful. But here's how it works when I'm going somewhere with my husband: We decide what time we are leaving. And then he lobs a few reminders my way, like, "We need to go in ten minutes/five minutes/two minutes" while he locks up the house and starts the car. And for my part, I lay out my clothes and pack up/organize anything I can the night before so I'm not running back to the kitchen to pack a snack/grab my water bottle/retrieve the shopping list. It wouldn't work if we weren't willing to work together, so I'm troubled by the boyfriend's refusal to work with the OP.

This is great-- your husband works with you on it, and you are receptive to it, and bam-- a solution that actually fits you both and makes things better. I too think there's a lot of room to wonder about what the boyfriend is and is not willing to change.


I noticed my wife is "slow" and "late" when she doesn't like doing the thing she's preparing for, or what's she's then currently doing is simply more interesting (like texting). If important to her, she tends to be "ready on time". Not always the indicator, but mostly, when impornat or enjoyable, she's on time.

Yes, there's definitely the potential for passive-aggressiveness and power-tripping components here, no? Sort of like I am like a rabid, panting dog ready to do my taxes the first week of January when I'm going to get a refund but if I owe, I'll be signing those suckers a few moments before midnight on April 14th.


My wife and I are late 50's, married about 20 years. (I have a job, she doesn't). In the weekends, I wake up and like to cuddle. She's receptive but doesn't reciprocate; it's a one-lane road, so to speak. Going to sleep, I also like to cuddle; she turns her back towards me, and goes off to sleep, and if I cuddle, it's a few minutes. Slowly has evolved over the years to this. Should I just get my time and accept it ? I tried asking, a little - it's "She's tired." Divorce ? Maybe, but she says she's likes being married to me (She literally says, "It's too late, we're stuck together" and I don't read a 2nd meaning in it).

I think there is room for a bit of a deeper conversation about this. You've been married 20 years-- how "slow" has this evolution been? Maybe she's never liked cuddling but is finally now giving herself the permission not to have" to do it, or maybe there is something going on where she is liking cuddling less (could be anything from physical or emotional factors she's going through on her own to some changing dynamic within your relationship.)

If her heart-- or her body-- is really not into cuddling, then it would be quite damaging to her-- and your relationship-- over time for it to be forced beyond her comfort zone. So the best you can do is understand what's going on for her, figure out what IS comfortable for her, and see if there are ways of getting what you crave with other methods that feel okay to her. Maybe emotional intimacy could be bridged in other ways? Maybe sometimes she wants to lay close to you while watching TV, for instance?

I am guessing I will hear from someone saying that maybe a pet is the answer for you.... not sure that's entirely off-base! But of course the deeper question is about the fuller picture of intimacy between you. Can you have the hard conversation beyond "we're stuck together?"

Anyone else bridge the cuddler versus non-cuddler gap?

Fiance left me via letter one night as I returned home. He had packed up his stuff the previous few weeks while I was at work while acting like everything was normal. He told me that we were fighting too much, but I thought it was situational (finishing up law school and the bar coming up). Looking back, there were obvious red flags like secrecy and lying, and then I found out he had pretty much been cheating on me off and on over the 7 years we had been together. I am in therapy to try to deal with the abandonment and betrayal, but it's been 6 weeks, and I still don't feel any better, and I still want him back. What can I do to help me start feeling a little better and not be so sad all the time?

I am sorry. But six weeks is not very long at all compared to the seven years you were together. Can you set some tangible weekly goals in therapy to help with your distress (behavioral activation like upped physical activity and time outdoors, gratitude exercises, visualizations, meditations, social time with others, etc?) Part of what you will need is time-- there is no other way around it, unfortunately.

As for the part about still wanting him back, forgive yourself for that. You are allowed to have those thoughts and the ensuing feelings, and they make sense to have, even if they are not the right answer. For some people in your shoes, the "aha" moment clicks suddenly like opening a door, and for others, it is a gradual dawning. Surround yourself with people who have your best interests in heart. Make it a goal to learn to separate the love/belongingness you miss and need to grieve, versus thinking that he is actually the right person for you. Let yourself relearn what you deserve in life-- right now that desire for that love/belongingness that you miss so much is being conflated with wanting this person back, against your better judgment.

Kindness to yourself, acknowledging your feelings, looking for non-relationship sparks elsewhere in daily life, and time. Hang in there. For what it's worth I've worked with innumerable people in your shoes, and despite most of them feeling CERTAIN that they will never move on, they always, always do. And the more you're willing to acknowledge the tough thoughts and feelings, the quicker it can happen.

OP said: " I don’t want to make him choose between me and his parents but I just can’t see this in my future, long-term. So do I break up now, or put it off? " I think frank talk with BF about how she sees herself in this "close family" framework is worth emotional cost; it also helps in the breakup because BF sees & knows why, or maybe, BF says, we can work it out.

Yes! Hit the nail on the end. Thanks!

I'm not a touchy-feely type, but my husband is. So I never turn down a cuddle, but once I get squirmy he instantly lets go. I've had exes who would cling and grab tighter when I was touched out and fidgeting, and it felt so violating.

Yes-- yikes. All kinds of controllingness there, indeed.

Glad that you've worked out something with your husband, and that he respects your space.

Isn't it funny how despite the stereotype, it's the husbands who want more cuddling in today's chat?

Wait, what?? How does a shortage of cuddling go straight to Should I Divorce? Unless there's a lot more under the surface than this poster is revealing, as there certainly seems to be from the "I guess we're stuck with each other" comment. There just has to be more to this story than we're hearing.

I couldn't agree more! That was quite a leap. Thanks.

My in-laws are coming for a visit soon. Usually, we go to see them, so this issue doesn't present itself too often. However, I don't know how to handle it when they're in my home. My FIL has the habit of offering unsolicited (and unwelcome) advice. The advice is given in a way (tone, wording, etc.) that implies that my husband and I don't know what we're doing, haven't thought things through, aren't capable, etc. The truth is, 9 times out of 10, we've already thought about the thing he's given us advice on and have decided to proceed our way regardless. In the past, my explanations don't help (he follows up with "well, have you thought about X?") and I don't like to say "thanks, I'll think about it" in situations where I won't. I'd rather leave it to my husband to have the conversation of "When you give us advice in this manner, we feel X; please stop." So, what can I say, as a daughter-in-law, that basically says "We aren't incompetent, we know what we're doing, and we already thought about this."

So, can your husband actually have that conversation?

As longtime readers know, I am very much in the camp of "Person whose family of origin it is tries to intervene first." So, would your husband be motivated to do that? Or is he just not bothered by it as much as you are? But can he understand that maybe he needs to be, on your behalf?

I do like the idea of "Thanks, I'll think about it" as a way to shut down things but I hear how don't want to be pretending you'll think about it when you won't. So how about something with the same principle? An acknowledgment that is civil, but is meant to close down that arm of the conversation? "Hmm-- thanks." (No promise to think about it, just a general gratitude for his existence.) Or a pleasant "Yup, I hear you. How about that Ovechkin?"

As a woman of a certain age, cuddling has lost its appeal - it's too darn hot! My husband generates a lot of heat, and I'm having hot flashes. We used to cuddle more, but now he's under the blankets and I'm not so much.

Ahh.... this is interesting! I hope if that's the case for OP's wife she can bring herself to be open about it.


It's also the only way, really, that is fair to the boyfriend. The OP can start by saying, "I remember you said you'd always want to live near your parents and have them care for your kids. Since I met them, I've been mulling it over, and I have real reservations about that. Can we discuss it?"

Fantastic opener.  Thanks.

I don't consider myself slow, but I try to plan, be organized, and execute. My husband is on the other side - minor planning, but everything is done in a rush. It really isn't pleasant being with him in the kitchen, so I don't often cook with him. He rushes to get stuff done, then something goes wrong because he was rushing, then he's all aggravated. Nothing relaxing about that - he's the same with other chores. I generally ignore it. I also tend to procrastinate, but everything gets done, just not exactly the way he would have done it or on his schedule. I guess we've adapted over the last 26 years of marriage, but he's getting worse as he ages. I'm hoping retirement will slow him down, but if he's anything like his dad, it won't.

Yes. Another side of this slow-fast continuum!

Seems like if you've adapted over 26 years, then maybe the adaptation can continue over time. Certainly, marriages must often adapt to much more when retirement hits.

Adaptation to the adaptations you've already made. Hey, it's meta-adaptation!

Thanks for this. Good luck!

What is the dynamic between you and your parents? If it is way different that could be the source of anxiety. If you go forward with the boyfriend you need to have open discussion about how much family-together-time you want to have with both sets of parents.

Yesss! Great point. I was curious too about what the expectations/roles were with OP's parents, and whether that is unduly influencing things here-- for better or for worse.

Thank you!

My husband and I have been together for more than 5 years, and he has two teenage sons from his first marriage. For the first couple of years that we were together, my husband's ex was cordial to me and supportive of my presence in her kids' lives, even though she is generally pretty nasty to my husband (she chose to end the marriage a couple of years before he and I met; he's a wonderful man and does not engage in her drama, so I don't understand why she treats him this way). I have generally had a good relationship with my step-sons - I'm not a perfect step-mom, but I try hard and I care about them so much, and I think they recognize that. In fact, one of my step-sons gave me a Mother's Day gift the year after my husband and I got married. Since then, husband's ex has been on a campaign to ruin my relationship with the boys and to be generally nasty to me. I do not respond, and I do not say anything negative about her in front of the kids. Now that they're older, I think they get the gist of what's happening, and it seems to affect them. I feel bad that they're stuck in the middle of this, and at a time when so many people are divided, I believe in mending relationships whenever possible. I have thought about reaching out to the ex to see if we can talk about this and at least go back to being cordial, but some people say that it's not worth it to engage with hateful people like this, as they'll probably just dig in deeper. I don't know the ex well, but from what I can tell, she's generally an unhappy person, and I recognize that this is about her and not me, unless I've done something to offend her that I wasn't aware of. Do you think it's worth it to try, or should I just continue to stay out of it and hope that as the kids grow up, they'll be less affected by it?

Honestly, I think it would be a losing battle to engage with her. I like your approach so far, and I think that trying to confront someone who is capable of this type of behavior in the first place is not going to go well, and it is very unlikely to end up "mending" that relationship. (What does your husband say to all of this? That is my number one question, if you are out there!)

I understand it hurts to watch your stepchildren go through this. But you can just continue to lead by example. Behaving with dignity, not responding to the trolls (real or virtual), having a baseline level of civility and kindness no matter what you're thrown. It also down the road can set the very good example of understanding that some people's drama is all about them, and should not be taken as a referendum on one's own worthiness. Keep your relationship with those kids strong-- it's THAT stability that will help them through this, probably much more than going into some confrontation that is bound to cause fireworks.

Has anyone else dealt with the difficult parent of their step-children?

My mid-20s sister has BPD and ongoing addiction issues (she's currently on subox to stay off heroin). She's "engaged" to an older man who is also struggling with addiction and neither are consistently employed. The fiance is a trained teacher but can't get a job (for obvious reasons) and has a child from a previous relationship that his parents have full custody of (also for obvious reasons). my sister has been unable to complete any post-high school education/training. She is also unemployed. She and the fiance are financial dependent upon family (more on that later). She recently found out she is pregnant and is thrilled. She is absolutely not considering termination or adoption. My mom and I are devastated but are working on coming to terms with things (with the help of good therapists respectively). The big issue is my grandparents... they are very wealthy and are controlling to the EXTREME. My grandparents are financing my sister and fiance's lifestyle in an attempt to "fix" my sister's "problems" since my mom clearly failed as a parent (< their words). Several months ago they decided to send my sister an email explaining to her that she should sterilize herself because of her "continued mental instability and addiction". (I'm not even going to get into how repugnant this is.) Needless to say they will be less than thrilled when they find out she's pregnant and will do everything in their power to keep her from being a parent. And I don't really know what to do. Do I think this is a good time for my sister to become a parent? ABSOLUTELY NOT. but I still believe in, you know, her right to be a human. I'm trying to avoid getting in the middle but I know I inevitably will be. I'm not really sure what I'm asking for here other than some words of wisdom. How can I support my sister and mother and reject my grandparent's awfulness but also stay true to myself (in that I think this pregnancy is a TERRIBLE idea)?



Ugh, this is truly an awful situation to be in. My heart goes out to you.

Let's get down to basics, though: your sister is choosing to have this baby. So the moment that that decision is solidified, then your role can move squarely into protecting and supporting her. From all of it-- from emotional manipulation, from blackmail worthy of some film noir movie about eugenics-- all of it.

You help her stay clean by helping her stay connected to her resources/treatment for sobriety. You listen when she needs it. You make it clear that you love her and want her to succeed. You intervene when is needed and take an active role in your niece/nephew's life. You seek out your own support so that you make sure you aren't getting sucked in in a way that jeopardizes your own emotional health.

Please keep us posted.

Good afternoon!! First off, love the column!! So, I have been having severe work troubles for a while now. I have found myself detached, and just plain old unhappy, which has impacted my performance significantly. I have been in the same Department for the last nine years, and it's time for a change. What advice can you give in terms of coping mechanism, etc, can you advise besides the regular "look for another job", (which by the way is being done", as this job has begun to effect my physical as well as mental health? Thanks!

I think it's all about daily goal-setting. Some of that can tie into the escape route (tasks related to the job search, aka "Paving the Way Toward Getting the *&%$ Out.") But a lot of it needs to involve identifying the tasks that you still find fulfilling within your work, tying them into a larger sense of meaning and purpose, and focusing on them more so than on the other stuff. I am not sure if it is a toxic environment, burnout, unfulfilment, or all of the above, but you can also begin to identify the triggers that make you feel worse-- and up your coping skills, having certain tools at the ready for when they come. ("I always get bummed after that ridiculous staff meeting. So now I take a walk outside for ten minutes when my lunch hour hits right afterward.") Coping mechanisms can include other people, relaxation exercises, humor, visualization, distraction -- the works. But I really think it will help to keep track of your thoughts and feeling first-- then you can target them best.

And think about what makes you happiest outside of work. How can you harness the potential of that more fully for now? Might you even be able to bring a bit of into work, within reason? (Reading a novel on your lunch break, for instance.)

Hang in there!

Danger of posting here is wild imagination - - Divorce ? No, is she thinking no cuddling because she's planning to leave ? No. But then, I didn't call the election corectionly in 2016. She's likes married to me. "We're stuck together" is her joke way of saying it. She proposed 20 years ago, planned the wedding, and I showed up. Insulted that I told her to keep her professional maiden name. But she recently set up her Facebook page with my name; I think a confidence vote.

Okay, it is nice to hear this update! I do think it sounds like there is a nice foundation there-- now it needs to be tested a bit by really talking this out. Good luck!

I love my husband of over 30 years but I'm not a cuddler. With what seems to be a permanent hot flash, I find close proximity just makes me more uncomfortable.

Yup, many people are like this. Presumably you've both found a way for it to work it out and be happy together, right? Do tell! 

My ex went straight from why don't you want to cuddle to you are cheating on me, and never went back. If you don't stop pressing, it will end in divorce. I was tired of being groped morning and night, what is so hard to understand. She is your wife and a person not your teddy bear. Get a teddy bear if you want to grope something.

Yes! When it feels like being groped, the dynamic has some serious problems! Glad you presumably escaped intact. Thanks.

Do you think cuddling is a euphemism for sex? Regardless why does cuddling have to be regulated to the bed? What about on the couch when they are watching TV or, if it is a euphemism, then how about scheduling some afternoon "cuddling". Sleep can be sacrosanct and touching, cuddling, and "cuddling" can all be detrimental to those who have trouble sleeping or aren't getting good sleep.

I was assuming it wasn't a euphemism for sex-- and wanted to ask if that other part was presumably satisfactory, but not only were my typing fingers not fast enough but I felt a little skeezy doing so-- but you raise excellent points. Thanks.

I think both Miss Manners and Carolyn Hax have addressed this. "Thank you for your concern." "Thank you." " I appreciate your interest." Even if you don't. Sometimes a white lie is perfectly acceptable. You do not have to take, or even consider, the advice, but since the in laws undoubtedly mean well - even if they don't express it well - there is no need to be rude in return. Meanwhile getting your spouse to talk to his parents is good if he will or if he shares your concern, but maybe he just doesn't see it as judgmental as you do.

Bingo-- well said. Thanks.

The kids are probably hurt/offended by their mother's behavior, but you're doing exactly the right thing by being loving and refusing to engage with an angry and unreasonable person -- you are modeling good parenting behavior and a good marriage for them. Trust me, they'll appreciate it. So, you're winning even when it seems like you're losing.

Another vote for staying on the path. Appreciate it!

Does he mean cuddling or is that a "cute" way of saying sex?

You were clearly not the only one who thought this!

My in-laws are dysfunctional. Divorces, mental health issues, addiction, etc. But, they love to have large family parties that last for hours, like arrive at 3pm and stay until 11pm. I would say roughly 10-15 parties/year grouped around holidays. I hate them, but my husband wants me to come with him. I've asked to drive separately, but then he says that he'll be there even longer. What are better coping mechanisms instead of having too many glasses of wine or playing with the children and ignoring the adults? Should I push back on my husband and say I will only stay for 2 hours? I'm not sure how much of it I should put up with.

This is such an interesting juxtaposition to see with the other question! It's almost like a glimpse into the potential Christmas (Party) Future.

So, are you okay with him being there even longer? Or is it annoying to cede these stretches of the holidays to your in-laws? I can give you some coping mechanisms, but I do wonder if the solution isn't to have a firmer compromise. You accept a certain number of hours that he stays later, and then you go on your merry way without judgment. Or you go to every-other-party and stay the whole time but skip the others altogether. I see this kind of compromise work out all the time-- even in families where the in-laws are fine but there's an introvert versus extrovert issue among the spouses.

If you are going to be there, then yes, there's a range of coping tools. I put the "playing with the children and ignoring the adults" as being pretty satisfactory, honestly, IF it is pleasant to you. Too many glasses of wine-- well, you already know that's probably a bit less satisfactory. Is there a single person in the group that is less nauseating that you can focus most of your time with? Are there any interests/hobbies/TV shows/token topics of conversation that you can rely on with certain people, at least to punctuate the longer portions of misery? Are there "projects" you would want to do while you were there: baking something, decorating cookies with kids, organizing an outdoor yodeling contest? (Thinking outside the box here.) But bottom line: the more you can work it out that he gets time there and you get space, the better.

There's a difference between being later and being slow. I'm fast, my closest friend is slow - she is generally not late. I am focussed and I am pretty good at staying on-point. Things to do on your own: grocery shopping - or consider it like your the passenger on the trip, just go with the slow person's flow! My grocery shopping is a surgical strike I am in and out. I know who is slow in my life and I try to accommodate them. I think you need to figure out what is bothering you? Is he slow or is he a bad timekeeper - these are different. Incidentally, I am under 5' and my normal walking steps sound like I'm running ... .

Great points. Yes, two totally different things-- not everyone who is slow is chronically ate, and not everyone is chronically late is slow!

Hear you on the run-walking! When you put it that way, maybe I am someone who can consider herself a "runner" after all!

I am 5 weeks pregnant with my first. How on earth do people wait until 8 weeks, and then 12, and then 40?!?!? I'm dying to know if this is viable (we have an appointment in two weeks to hopefully hear a heartbeat) and also trying to temper my expectations in case it's not. Not to mention trying to keep it from some people while telling others. Any general advice for weathering this? My hormones aren't helping!

There's no doubt that this is one aspect of pregnancy that often feels harder than people talk about. Take it one day at a time. Find ways to pass the time and distract yourself if you can. If there is a partner in the picture, they can help as someone to talk through these feelings with since they might be experiencing the same thing (and are "allowed" to know about it.) If your overall anxiety is up, a lot of pregnant women really do find yoga to help moderate it. As your body undergoes changes outside of your control (physically and emotionally!) it can really help in embracing them. Meditation as well. But focus on getting through one day at a time, and treat yourself to little pleasures when you can.

If the anxiety does start to spiral into taking over your life, of course therapy can be helpful as well.

All kinds of good luck sent your way.

Um, Mister, you're the one who posted that leap -- and I quote your words: "I tried asking, a little - it's "She's tired." Divorce ? Maybe" It's not us leaping to unreasonable conclusions. If you want better advice, explain yourself more accurately.

Yes, it was definitely him who brought up the D word. Perhaps it was meant to be a joke, though. Not sure!

I come from a family and relationships where we sat at a table and ate dinner every night chatting. I met my husband when I was 42 (I'm now 50). He was adamant he couldn't do that. This was an issue and we talked about it. I don't remember the process - but we ended up having 'date night' at the table every friday and maybe one night during the week. The other nights, we watch the telly while eating - and when we finish actually eating, I put my head in his lap for the rest of the show. It works - because although I was uses to 'sharing our day' intimacy every day - this gives physical intimacy, that I like in its place.

This is pretty great! A seemingly huge gap to overcome, and you two filled it beautifully. Thanks.

"Thanks - we've got this."

Another way to word it-- I like it. Bravo!

Well, that seems like a solution. He gets to stay as long as he wants and you can leave when you want. But you should talk to someone about "getting his permission" so to speak about not attending at all. That is your right.

Something perhaps to explore there, for sure.

Thank you for this!

I’d suggest the poster go out and get a dog—and especially a breed that’s known for cuddling like a Doberman (its true! they are know as the “Velcro dog”). He could then cuddle with that guy night and day and get his fill!

I knew someone would come through!

Probably beats the stuffed animal option.


Thank you all for being here! It was another fabulous day of watching you guys help each other so much. How I love that.

Now go out there and cuddle your partner. If they want it. If not, then your Doberman. (Well, only if they want it too.)

I can't wait to see you next week, and in the meantime, there's Facebook and the print column. Be well!

In This Chat
Dr. Andrea Bonior
Dr. Andrea Bonior is a licensed clinical psychologist and the voice behind Baggage Check since its start in 2005. She serves on the faculty of Georgetown University and is the author of the Publisher's Weekly best-seller "Psychology: Essential Thinkers, Classic Theories, and How They Inform Your World" and "The Friendship Fix.”
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