Dear Miss Emily:

I have a problem with my husband of 23 years. I'm to the
point were I want to end the marriage. We are not
intimate with each other anymore. I had an affair about ten
years ago and told him about it. He has had affairs too.
In the past, I thought we were over all that, but now he says
he doesn't want to have sex with me because he can't
trust me. My husband is disabled with back problems and has
high blood pressure. He takes medication. The last time we
tried to have sex, he couldn't keep it up, so now I'm thinking
he has an erectile problem. I long to be kissed and held -- just
some closeness with my husband. Please help.
Outside Looking In

----------------------Miss Emily's advice-------------------

Dear Outside:

Your marriage has been going down hill for a long time, I would
imagine. The affairs indicate a lack of commitment. I'm not
blaming anyone, here, but adultery is either a symptom or the
cause of marital breakdown. That said, I don't think lack of
trust is necessarily the issue, now. Your husband is most
likely impotent from the medication he is taking, and he
tells you it's a trust issue, when it's really about him not
being able to perform. If he refuses to get help for this
problem, he will continue to alienate you. As a last ditch
effort, attempt to form a new bond of friendship, hoping that
someday he will let his guard down, and let you
in. If he thinks you're on his team, perhaps he will agree
to work on this. It would be for his own good, as well. But
it may be that nothing you do will work, and you are at a
crucial time in your life where you will need to chart a new
course. Many people, in this situation, stay together for
myriad reasons -- they have children or, they are not willing
to make the tough choices required to initiate and follow
through with divorce. If it is possible, try a separation
before you jump into the deep end, so-to-speak. This would
give you the opportunity to find out whether you can, or
cannot live without this man.