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Sutton Foster Interview About Adoption and Motherhood
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How Being a Transracial Adoptee Shaped — but Nearly Shattered — My Self-Identity
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Essay About Passion Leaving a Marriage

Dear Husband, If You Want Me, Tell Me

Dear Husband,

Look at me. Like, really look at me. Tell me I'm pretty. Tell me I'm sexy. Tell me you adore and desire me, that you are lucky to have me by your side.

I'm in my 30s, haven't had children, and most of the time feel confident about how I look. I'm in my prime, and I'm not ready to settle for a passionless marriage. Touch me. Hold me. Hold my hand, squeeze my leg, and do it because you want to, not out of a sense of duty. The crumbs of affection you sprinkle my way because you know I want them? It's not enough. Am I enough?

If I wear a sexy dress for a special occasion and ask what you think, tell me I look hot. Don't say, "It's nice" without looking up from your phone. If I put effort into my looks, say something, anything. I know I don't have the same body as I did when we started dating. But I'm not that same 20-year-old in so many ways, and thank God.

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I've told you I need physical touch, this isn't new. You've told me you aren't a touchy feely guy, this isn't new. In my 20s, it didn't seem important. It was fun to attack you with kisses and affection, to have you begrudgingly crack a smile. It's not fun anymore. I didn't know, couldn't know, that I would crave something so deeply that you don't seem willing or able to give me.

At night when I turn away from you in bed, sometimes my eyes are filled with tears, wishing you were holding me, kissing me. I don't think you understand that my gradual loss in interest for sex actually has nothing to do with my sexual appetite (which has only gotten stronger, if anything), but everything to do with not feeling desired by you. Affection is foreplay, and without it sex feels lackluster and inauthentic. A means to an end.

You're my partner, my teammate, and I love you. I know you care for me and show me in other ways. We work well together, we laugh together, we have meaningful conversations together, and we share a million little memories. We've built a life together, you and me.

But you're losing me a little bit every day. It breaks my heart to even write that. I don't want to throw away our past, but I don't want to throw away my future. Looking ahead at decades of longing, of having to beg for affection and desire, I'm overcome with sadness.

Would you be happier with someone who doesn't have these needs that go against who you are? Could things be better for both of us? Do we deserve better? I just don't know.

If you want me, tell me. Before it's too late.

Image Source: Unsplash/Isaac Ordaz
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