Dear Annie: I have a long-term partner but feel overwhelming loneliness

Dear Annie: I am seeking advice on a very important and personal matter: my future marriage.

I am a 30-year-old female who has dated my partner for seven years. We have lived together for two of those years. He embodies so many qualities I admire, and I feel a deep love for him within my soul. I know our future is going to work out because we have similar goals, values, a plan for marriage and ideas about where we want to live. Knowing this brings me a sense of security and safety.

I am writing because I feel an overwhelming loneliness inside. On a day-to-day basis, I feel we lack emotional intimacy, despite my efforts to cultivate it. We rarely spend time together; his priorities are his career and his circle of friends. I have had heart-to-heart talks with him about this and receive empathy in the moment, but there have been no actionable changes. Ultimately, I don’t feel like a cherished priority.

I’m having trouble discerning if this is normal as relationships evolve over time? Or if we fundamentally have differences in the closeness we desire from a partner.

-- Lonely in Love

Dear Lonely in Love: I am sorry that you are feeling a loneliness inside. It certainly could be due to you feeling like your boyfriend puts his career and circle of friends ahead of you, but it could also be an old childhood wound that needs tending to. I would suggest the help of a therapist to get you out of the feelings of loneliness.

When you’ve had your heart-to-heart talks with your partner, have you told him exactly how you feel? That you would like more time spent together and more intimacy? It could be that you are different in your fundamental closeness and it might not work, but you have to have the conversation first so that he knows how you’re feeling.

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Dear Annie: For 25 years, I thought my husband was blurting out inappropriate things too often in conversations. He was somewhat like his mother, who once said to me, “You look like you are going to cry,” as I fiercely attempted to retain my composure. Little did I realize that their “faux pas” blurts were attempts to read emotions uninterpretable to them.

After my husband’s sister had a wonderful, creative and happy autistic son, I found a college textbook on adult Asperger’s at a yard sale and my eyes were opened. It explained to me that we were both failing to see the other’s emotional point of view. “Sad Wife’s” husband, who often blurts out offensive things, might be on the spectrum, too.

By the way, we will celebrate 50 years of marriage in November. My husband still blurts occasionally, but now I realize he wouldn’t have even thought about holding back if I hadn’t taught him what is “nice” or “appropriate.”

-- Understanding Asperger’s

Dear Understanding: Thank you for your letter. You bring up a great point about why “Sad Wife’s” husband might blurt out inappropriate or offensive comments. Although I do think your mother-in-law saying you look like you are going to cry, even if she doesn’t understand social etiquette, is a bit cruel. Glad that you now have an understanding as to why your husband and mother-in-law can act so brash.

Annie Lane

Annie Lane offers common-sense solutions to everyday problems. She's firm, funny and sympathetic, echoing the style of her biggest inspiration, Ann Landers. She lives outside Manhattan with her husband, two kids and two dogs. When not writing, she devotes her time to play dates and Play-Doh. Write her: