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Dear husband,

We’ve been through so much over the years: kids, job changes, many moves, health issues, crazy family issues. It hasn’t always been easy and it hasn’t always been fun. Even with disappointments, it has been so much more than I expected.

You’ve made tremendous contributions to and sacrifices for our family, but so have I. You have carried much of the financial burden to allow our children to have a stay at home mom while I tended the homefront. Overall, I think together we have made a great team. I gave up a job I loved for a new job as a full-time mom because I loved my home “bosses” more.

On the verge of being empty nesters, we are rediscovering our relationship as lovers, but I feel you just aren’t interested in being anything other than settled. Though sitting watching TV in PJs is nice, sometimes I want more.

We no longer have typical parental responsibilities, but we don’t seem to have found something to replace them yet.

I feel like I finally have time to do grown-up things like see grown-up movies or get dressed up and go to dinner without finding unexplained food stains on my clothes. I want to experience new things, travel to new places. I’ve waited decades for these things. I will do them alone, but I want to do them with you.

I see in your eyes I sometimes surprise you. You don’t always know what I am thinking. Sometimes this is good; it shows we still have things to share with each other. Other times it is distressing; after all this time together, how do you not know me? Have we lost each other?

We don’t know each other as well as we used to. I want that to change.

Put down your phone and talk to me. Ask me about my day and listen to the answer. You complain you don’t know about things, but you don’t ask. Sometimes I try to start a conversation, but you are too engrossed in your screen to hear me. Honestly, I’d rather eat alone than with someone who is more interested in a phone (and I HATE eating alone).

Sit down with me and plan our future. We are completing a chapter of our lives, but we still have so much more time to live. There are many things I want to see and do. Some we discussed way back before kids (do you remember that time?), other things I discovered along the way.

Allow me to be passionate about life. I know my rants about politics or the drama in our bizarre family scare you a bit, but I need to get it out. I realize my excitement about projects I’m working on seems a bit extreme in the big picture, but my career is rebooting while yours has been continuous since we left college. Of course, I can talk to other people about these things, but I want to share them with you.

Tell me you’re proud of me (I hear that you are secondhand from others, but I need to hear it directly from you). I believe in myself and my abilities, but I want to know you value what I am doing as well. Your opinion matters.

That girl you married way back when, she’s still here.

She’s no longer skinny, she now has a few wrinkles and a bit of gray at the temples, but in some ways, she is more interesting and still crazy in love with you. Could you just stop what you are doing and take a look? Please, dear husband, I really want you to see me.

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