Dear Amy: My wife is afraid to touch me since the pandemic started.

I even took the coronavirus test and the antibody test to reassure her. I have tested negative both times. And yet my wife maintains — no hugging and (of course) no sex.

Is this normal?

— Lonely Husband

Lonely Husband: Are you sure this is about covid-19? I ask because, just as the pandemic has turned all of our lives upside down, it has also offered a rationale for simply refusing to do things you don’t want to do.

If you and your wife have (basically) formed a “germ pod” together with both of you in the same household and maintaining sound hygiene, limiting outside interaction, and wearing masks and social distancing while you are out, then I would say that her behavior is NOT normal. It isn’t rational, anyway. The idea is to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines (and common sense) to maintain a safe household and to minimize any chance of the virus entering your orbit.

The pandemic has thrown most people somewhat off-course. For some people, the pandemic has triggered extreme anxieties and obsessions. Fortunately, therapeutic help is readily available by phone or video chat. There are many ways to connect for help; you can check psychologytoday.com/us/therapists for a helpful list of therapists, categorized by location and specialties.

I think it is also obvious — and necessary — for you to do some self-reflection; might there be a reason (or reasons) other than the pandemic for your wife to keep her distance?

Dear Amy: I love my two nieces. I lavished them with attention during their childhood. My sister (their mother), passed away and I kept in touch by attending graduations, visiting them in their relocated cities, and paying for entertainment and meals when we were together.

My nieces are now adults (late 20s/early 30s), and I continued to stay in touch. However, they have made no effort to reciprocate. They never return phone calls, visit, send holiday greetings, etc.

In fact, when I advised one niece that I was hurt that she didn't return my call (after she said "she'd call me back later"), she explained that younger people just say that and it doesn't mean that they'll call later.

Additionally, she suggested that I should contact her in advance so she could "block out some time to talk." It seemed I had interrupted her important television viewing. This same niece had a graphic design business. I put in an order, but never received my order because she was "too busy" fulfilling others' orders. She said she "assumed" I would understand.

I have determined that I will no longer put myself out for them. My family members tell me that as the older member of the family, I should look past their behavior. Additionally, they say that young people just don't want to be with older family members.

Your advice?

— Agonized Aunt

Agonized Aunt: Yes, it is time for you to back away a little bit.

It is pretty typical for adults at this stage of life to be wrapped up in building their own lives, seeing the needs of others as distractions rather than invitations to connect.

Many people in your nieces’ age group seem to treat talking on the phone as an unwelcome intrusion. Millennials have told me that they sometimes have a knee-jerk reaction when they see a call coming in, thinking it is actually rude of people to call them, when they should send a text. Nobody leaves messages, and voice-mail messages are seldom returned.

This does not excuse your nieces’ rudeness toward you.

One way to handle this would be to occasionally text them to say, “Hey, I was thinking about you today; I’m just checking in to see how you’re doing.”

I don’t believe that young people as a group “don’t want to be with” older people, but no one likes to be — or feel — pressured.

If you give them more space, they may instinctively draw a little closer to you over time. Give less, and they may give more. They may not, but you won’t be so resentful.

Dear Amy: "Frustrated" said her husband's underarms had become "stinky." She wanted him to use deodorant. I couldn't believe that you agreed with her.

Deodorant should not be necessary if your body is healthy. I hope you don't use it.

— Healthy

Healthy: This really is not about deodorant, but about a spouse talking to her husband about his body odor.

2020 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency