Ask Amy: She wants marriage; he wants a clean shave
I have been in a relationship with a man for 10 years.
He is 71 and lives in another state (50 miles away), and I am 70. I am divorced and he has never been married.
We both own our homes.
When I had a job in another state, I would come home on weekends, and he would come to my house on Friday and leave on Sunday.
We spent most weekends and holidays together and went on vacations (all at my expense because he lives on a low fixed income, and I make much more money than he does).
Since I retired in October, he is perfectly content to keep our previous arrangement intact.
He does not stay any longer than Sunday unless we have special plans for Sunday night, or go on vacation together.
I want to spend more time with him, but on Sundays he seems anxious to return to his hometown.
He is retired, and when he gets home, he spends his time hanging out at barbershops with his friends. Then he comes back to my house most Fridays.
When we are together, he seems content with our relationship, and we talk on the phone often.
I recently learned from a confidential reliable source that he was asked when he and I are going to marry. He replied, "Never. I have loved only one woman in my life, and if I didn't marry her, I will never marry."
I was devastated to hear this because he knows I want to marry him.
Should I confront him with what I have learned, or keep quiet as if I don't know what he has said?
— Anonymous Woman
Let's recap: You have been in this relationship for 10 years. Ten. Years. A decade.
You sound like a successful, smart, independent woman. Logic would tell you that a never-married man who reaches the age of 70 without marrying (and spending 10 years with you without marrying) would remain unmarried. And that a man who loves his own home and Monday-Friday barbershop hang-time would either invite you to join him, or would continue to enjoy this arrangement alone, because it works for him.
You have now heard that your guy has loved only one woman in his life — and presumably that woman is not you.
You seem to have surrendered your own rights in this relationship. I'm talking about the right to use your voice, the right to ask questions, the right to state — out loud — what you want, and the right to leave a relationship if it doesn't serve your needs.
We adore our two college-age nieces and have always supported them as equally as possible.
However, their needs are now very different, as the older one is starting med school.
With exorbitant tuition and housing costs, she will need family support for at least four more years to help keep her debt down.
Her sister will soon complete her undergrad degree and does not plan to continue her education at this time.
It has been our intent to help both girls as long as they are in school, but this will create a vastly different amount of money needed by each. Another relative plans to give them an equal dollar amount in order to remain fair to both.
Are both of our views equally valid, or is it unfair for us to give one girl so much more?
— Doting Aunt and Uncle
In my opinion, both of your positions are valid — because you are all adults, it is your money, and you have the right to spend it as you wish.
You have decided to support your nieces throughout their higher education. Both women know this and presumably if your younger niece chooses to go to grad school at some point in the future, you would consider granting her some financial support at that time.
Like "Pandemic Pandemonium," I am struggling with a spouse whose hygiene and habits have changed a lot over the last few months. In my case, it is my husband. Honestly, if it weren't for occasional Zoom meetings, I don't think he would bathe. Ever.
— Holding My Nose
I hope you can talk to him about this. Letting things slide is (I believe) a normal and human response to isolation, but your husband is not the only person in the household. As with "Pandemic's" wife, my concern would also be about his mental health.
Write to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.