Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 34 years. I changed jobs so I could have better hours and pay and more time with my wife and son. Eighteen months ago, I went on disability due to severe arthritis.
A few years back, I noticed that my wife was coming up with reasons for us not to have sex. She said my work hours kept her up too late, and then she played Internet games all night. A year ago, her father died, and she claims she has to stay with Mom five nights a week. In the past eight months, we’ve had sex twice.
I never forget an occasion and bought her lovely gifts for Valentine’s Day, her birthday and our anniversary. She got me nothing. She could have asked her brother to stay with Mom, but didn’t. I spent my birthday alone, without even a phone call. I spent our anniversary watching her play Internet games, and when we finally got into bed, she pushed me away, telling me to leave her alone. We had a big argument, and she said she doesn’t love me and only stays because of our 30-year-old son. She also said I need her because of her insurance.
Annie, I am afraid I am going to die alone and in pain. I am looking at a bottle of pills, wondering whether I should take them and simply get out of her way.
Dear Rejected: Please don’t. Your wife isn’t looking to divorce. The main problem is that she’s no longer interested in sex. She believes (and perhaps rightly) that being around you means she will feel pressured to be intimate. So she avoids you by spending time online or with Mom.
The two of you have decisions to make. Is she willing to have sex on occasion? Are you willing to live without it? Are there other accommodations you could reach regarding intimacy? Please discuss these issues honestly and openly. If you find it too difficult to start this conversation, talk to your doctor about a referral to a marriage counselor.
Dear Annie: My dad is getting remarried on Labor Day weekend. Though I’m happy for him, this will be his third marriage. I went to the last two ceremonies. During his most recent marriage, he put his new family’s needs ahead of those of my siblings and me from the “old marriage.” I’m expecting the same this time around.
Here’s the problem: I have been training for months to run a full marathon that happens to be scheduled the same day as the wedding. I didn’t know about the wedding until after I’d already signed up for the marathon. Although I’d be finished running by the time the ceremony begins, it’s three hours away and a long drive after a physically and emotionally intense event.
My dad says it’s really important to him that I go, and so do my siblings. But I’m turning 30 soon and am weary of Dad’s immaturity. Should I go to both events? Should I put my needs first and not go at all?
-- Long-Distance Runner
Dear Running: We think you should make an effort to go, even if it means arriving late. He’s still your father, and your presence matters to him. And who knows? Maybe the third time’s the charm.
Dear Annie: I’m 73 and have been sending emails for quite awhile. I don’t remember hearing that all caps means shouting. For many of us, finding the “Caps Lock” button is already an accomplishment. The alternatives you suggested to enlarge the lettering is so beyond our abilities, they could have been in a foreign language.
I can’t imagine any seniors getting upset about receiving a letter all in caps, even if it were shouting. Many of us are also hard of hearing.
-- N.D. Rose
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org