Dear Annie: I met my boyfriend, “Tyler,” almost six years ago. For the past two years, I’ve been wondering whether he truly loves me. There is very little physical contact between us. We’re intimate maybe once a year. If I try to touch him at night, he pulls away, even if my foot just brushes against his. He only kisses me and says he loves me before work. And I always have to ask whether he loves me. We go to bed separately. He usually goes first, and it’s mostly because he has had his fix of beer. Tyler is a big drinker. He goes through a 12-pack a day, even on weekdays. We have never been out on a date together. He never takes me anywhere.
I care for Tyler and am afraid of change, but he has no plan to marry me, and I don’t feel the love. He financially supports me, but if I needed to, I could support myself. I am 43, and he is 55. I feel I am missing out on life. Have I wasted my time with him? Do I call it quits? I’m so confused on what I should do.
Dear Crossroads: I don’t think you’re confused. I think you’re looking for someone to tell you what you already know: You need to leave this man. If you want further evidence than your own letter, close your eyes and picture yourself three years from today. First imagine that you’re still in the same place, waiting for this man to reflect back some modicum of the love you’ve shown him. Then imagine you’re somewhere else, a place you’ve always wanted to go, rediscovering what a joy it is to be alive. Which daydream makes you want to keep your eyes shut a little longer?
If you’re struggling to find the self-confidence to leave, one step you can take today is to attend Al-Anon meetings. Living in a household with alcoholism has most likely warped your perspective, making it hard for you to really look after yourself. Visit https://al-anon.org to find a meeting.
Stay strong. I know that change is scary, but only after you end this relationship will you really begin to live.
Dear Annie: How do you decide on an executor, a durable power of attorney and a medical power of attorney if you have no family or healthy/young-enough friends? I have stepchildren but cannot trust them or their spouses.
I am fortunate enough to have my husband, but I need a backup person in place for the potential situation in which he dies and I am not mentally or physically able to set up a replacement for him. Should I use an attorney specializing in elder law as the backup power of attorney, or is that too risky? I was told that would be foolhardy because a durable power of attorney carries so much power. Whom else could I consider? I feel so helpless and alone in this. What should I do?
Dear Alone: Take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone — many seniors who don’t have children are dealing with these same questions — and you’re on top of it. One option is to talk to your bank’s trust division about using the bank as an executor. Another is an attorney specializing in elder law, as you mentioned. If you need help finding a professional, the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (http://www.naepc.org) and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (https://www.naela.org) are good places to start.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.