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ANNIE’S MAILBOX: Passion has left their marriage

Sunday, December 26, 2010

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been together for 20 years, and the spark has left our relationship. We are in counseling, communicate openly, have tried date nights and mutual activities, and get along OK.

But we have grown apart and have lost the passion and connection we once had. I have come to realize that many marriages seem to suffer the same fate over time.

We have friends who divorce as a result, and others stay together for various reasons.

We are in our 40s and do not want another 20-plus years of a passionless marriage, but I also don’t want us to become enemies due to separation or divorce.

We have children, so we will always have a bond. I believe divorced couples can remain friendly, but my husband disagrees.

Do you have any advice to help us maintain a marriage under these circumstances — or divorce and remain friendly?

Midlife Marriage

Dear Marriage: Some couples don’t realize how much a marriage can change over time. It will not always be a passionfest. In the early years, you have the luxury of focusing only on each other, but once kids come along, the focus changes. Those couples who expect the level of romance to stay the same are in for disappointment. In a solid marriage, husbands and wives adjust to the ups and downs, weather the storms, compromise when necessary and find comfort in the relationship. They respect each other. They make intimacy a priority.

Many couples these days are too quick to call it quits when things become difficult or boring. Those in it for the long haul understand that it requires effort to maintain a good relationship. When the kids grow up, things often become much better because of the shared life experience.

Whether or not you stay married, there is no reason you cannot remain friends. In fact, it is best for the children if you do so. It may take some hard work not to be bitter, angry, jealous or manipulative, but many couples manage it quite well.

Dear Annie: For 25 years, I tried to kill my mother-in-law with kindness, but eventually realized she was never going to change.

Our whole family suffered from her negative impact on our lives. My children have no desire to see their grandmother again. My husband still strives for her love and will never get it.

Two years ago, we packed our bags and moved across the country. I have had no contact with my mother-in-law since, and our quality of life has improved 200 percent.

Sometimes you just have to leave people behind in order to enjoy life.

So, Mom, you need to make the next move and heal the wounds. We have released ourselves from your wrath and are so blessed living in peace and happiness together.

Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

E-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

Creators Syndicate