Dear Annie: For the past five years, I’ve been with the most wonderful woman. “Jane” and I plan to marry, but we haven’t set a date because she has two adult daughters who still live at home, and their future plans are unsettled.
Her younger daughter, “Trudi,” is 24 and recovering from a debilitating gambling problem. Trudi lost her job, got caught stealing family heirlooms and was arrested for drunk driving. Jane eventually kicked her out.
Trudi bounced from place to place, landed at a homeless shelter, met an irresponsible young man and got pregnant. At that point, Jane made the difficult decision to bring Trudi back home so she could help raise her grandchild.
Things actually worked out. Trudi is sober and no longer gambling, and she has become a trusted member of the household again. (The father of the baby is not in the picture.) Trudi hasn’t had much opportunity to look for a job. Jane works all day and then goes home to take care of her granddaughter. The other daughter is busy with work, school and a serious boyfriend. She does not take much interest in her niece.
In the past 18 months, intimate relations with Jane have steadily declined. Menopause is a factor, but it’s mostly because she has a lot on her plate. She hasn’t been to my house in months, and when I’m at hers, I try to care for the baby so Jane can sit down and rest. I feel like our relationship is slipping away. We’ve talked briefly about it, but I simply want more than Jane can give. Is this just a rough patch, or is this our new relationship? — Too Much
Dear Too Much: You sound like a good guy who is trying to help with a stressful situation. Raising a baby is exhausting, and we are certain that Jane appreciates your patience and assistance.
Instead of pressuring her for intimacy, ask what she thinks you can do to improve your relationship. She will always have two daughters and a grandchild. Decide whether you can handle that.