Dear Miss Emily:

I am deeply in love and have been for more than a year with a spectacular woman who considers me only a very close friend. We spend a lot of time together and have been thru some difficult situations with her health. After having a 25-year marriage and a 14-year relationship, I know this is the woman with whom I want to spend eternity.  I am very patient and don't constantly remind her of my feelings, but she is well aware of them.  She has been in only one serious relationship and the man in it eventually passed. We are both 62 years old, but are "very young" in terms of our outlook on life, more like maybe in our 40s. I treasure time with her, and though I'm immensely satisfied with the relationship we do have, I want so much more, and wish she did too.  She has told me she loves me, but only once has she told me she loves me in a romantic way.....and nothing happened beyond that.....perhaps my fault for not trying to take it farther when she told me that, but quite honestly, I was scared of doing something that might change her mind.  We have kissed only once, and are not sexually active, though that's not as important to me at least as it once was.  What I want, what I need, is for her to be at my side forever, equal partners, living and loving life together.  There's a huge hole in my life I didn't even know was there until I met her, and I'm absolutely sure she is the only woman who can fill it.  Even though other "opportunities" present themselves, I have no interest in any other woman, and don't even look at other women anymore. I want to devote my life to making her happy, as she so deserves to be. And I know that we could be amazing together. What do I do?

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

I know you think you risk losing her if you tell her what you have told me (all of it), but I think you need to weigh the risk factors. If keeping the status quo is better than the alternative -- continue hoping things will change. It's only been a year, and that's why I'm reticent to advise you to let go of your dream, completely. However, at some point, if you don't get the kind of reciprocation you desire, your frustration could lead you to resentment toward her (no matter her wonderful nature), and anger at yourself for not letting go when the signs of "no sale" flashed like neon, in Vegas. For your own protection, and a chance for her to see that you do have a life of your own and are capable of living it with less attachment to her, ease-off a bit on the togetherness factor. It will be better for you, in the long-run, if things don't work out in your favor, and it will give her a chance to miss you.  If could be, at 62, she doesn't want the responsibility of a full-time commitment to a man (she's been there) and, now, enjoys the freedom without one.