Ask Amy: Long-distance engagement inspires doubts

  • Article by: AMY DICKINSON
  • January 13, 2014 - 1:39 PM

Dear Amy: I reconnected with a friend from high school after 40 years. We started a romantic, virtual courtship through phone calls, e-mails and cards over several months. We live in different states. We became engaged in December 2012, but I have some major concerns. Apart from the long-distance relationship and my serious issues with relocating at some point in the near future, he recently told me he has run out of money and hasn’t paid taxes in more than a year.

He recently bought a beautiful home for us that needs major renovations. He made a large down payment on this house and is remodeling it himself. He is 60 years old and has no savings whatsoever. He is a self-employed attorney. He recently visited me and confessed that he now has a medical condition that is causing severe joint and muscle pain.

He has lost all interest in sex, so our relationship has become purely platonic. I am a vital, 59-year-old attractive woman who enjoys sex immensely.

I am a successful consultant who owns my business and my own home. I have always had healthy sexual relationships. I feel isolated and lonely most weekends and am leaning toward breaking off the engagement.

Six months ago I was excited about our future. Now all I see is a relationship that could have serious implications. Am I being too unrealistic to expect my partner to be financially stable and want to have sex with me, especially when we only see each other every six to eight weeks?

Amy says: You sound very self-actualized, so it is strange that you would override good sense and become engaged to someone in another state. You also sound somewhat surprised to be in a relationship that has “serious implications.” Every relationship has serious implications. Marriage is the ultimate serious implication, and ideally in a marriage spouses accept the “for better and for worse” aspect of the relationship.

You have every right to want what you want, and now that you know what a challenge this man presents to you, you should break off the engagement — to spare yourself and also before he sinks even more cash and sweat equity into a future with you.

Daughter hiding gift

Dear Amy: Tonight when I went into my college-student daughter’s room she turned away from me very quickly. When I confronted her, she finally showed me that she had received a heart-shaped diamond necklace from her boyfriend of one month. We are very close, and I can’t imagine why she hid it from me. I am more than a little hurt that she felt the need to hide this gift.

I thought I would always share in her joy. She said she was embarrassed but doesn’t know why. I hate this stage of parenting more than any other one — it is really painful. What should we do?

Amy says: The reason your daughter hid this necklace from you is because she is embarrassed by it. And the reason she is embarrassed is because it is too much, too soon. The reason she is not sharing her joy with you is because she is not necessarily joyful — she is confused. Rather than mourn your daughter’s choice to keep something from you while she figures out what it means, you should realize that this is not about you or your relationship to her. This is about her and this boyfriend.

You should be open and encourage her to talk about herself and her own life without acting threatened. This will help to keep you close.

Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at

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