I always feel that I need to do something to improve myself around my birthday. I get serious about diet and exercise. Better at this or that. Then it wears off. My birthday is like New Year’s Day for most people. And my resolutions last about as long.

I’ve been trying to improve my love life, but that doesn’t seem to be going very far. One night, Lou basically said that he felt our relationship has become too routine, that there isn’t enough romance. I couldn’t agree more. Frankly, there has never been much romance, but I didn’t say that. What I did say was that it was something that we could work on changing together.

He doesn’t know it, but I see the e-mails that he sends and some that he gets on his America Online account. I can only imagine what the chatting is about, but in the e-mails, I can see that he is constantly looking to hook up with women, and that he cheats on me when he’s out of town. I don’t know what I can do about it, though. If I admit to reading the e-mails, he will just turn that around as my fault for snooping and say the letters are being taken out of context. When I bring up my concern that he is unhappy and spending a lot of time chatting online, he says I’m paranoid, and that he’s doing nothing wrong, but that I’ll make it happen if I continue with “this vicious circle.” During one of those conversations, he complained that the romance was gone.

I was actually thrilled to have something to fix. I read books about romance, including Light His Fire and 1001 Ways to be Romantic. I tried doing different things for him based on the advice. I also gave him a book about what to do for me, named Light Her Fire.

He didn’t respond to anything I did for him. I found the book I gave him tossed in the closet, and it cracked when I opened it. He does not want to fix our romantic life; it was probably sadistic fun to watch me fail trying.