Dear Annie: I’m a 50-year-old male, married for 20 years to a beautiful woman in her 40s. The past five years have been hard. I have made mistakes during our marriage but have worked hard to change and be a better husband. I don’t drink, smoke or gamble. I love my wife dearly and have never cheated. I don’t want anyone but her.
Unfortunately, my wife displays no emotion toward me in any way. Everything we do together is fine, and she is a wonderful companion, but her coldness is killing my spirit. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like this. I want us to enjoy each other’s company. I have dealt with this for as long as I can, and I think I’ve reached the end of my tether. I need help.
Dear Crushed: We don’t know what you did in the past that may be contributing to your wife’s coldness toward you, but if you have made genuine efforts to redeem yourself for five years, she needs to cut you some slack before it’s too late. There’s a point at which punishment becomes counterproductive, and you’ve reached it.
Please talk to your wife and let her know that the current situation has become intolerable and you cannot continue in the marriage like this. Ask her to go with you for counseling to work on ways to warm up and improve your relationship. As always, if she refuses, go without her.
Dear Annie: I am a member of a large family. We are planning a beach vacation for next summer and are having issues with how to share the expense of the rental house. The house sleeps 14.
I think the fair way to share the expense is to divide the total rental cost by the number of occupied beds. Other members of the family (those with children) can’t afford that much and say costs should be split equally between the adult siblings. That means it would cost me, a single adult, as much as it would my sister’s family of four. It also means the cost would be divided by seven instead of 14, so the total price is a lot higher per sibling.
I don’t feel I should have to subsidize my sister’s kids’ vacation. What do you think is fair to all parties?
-- Shore To Cause a Problem
Dear Shore: Unless your siblings’ spouses and children don’t plan to eat, bathe or use electricity, the cost per person is higher than just a bed. But dividing all costs by the number of people may mean that your siblings cannot afford it and won’t come. So what’s “fair” may not work for your family.
Figure out the costs per person. (Very young children should not count the same as adults, and anyone who gets a bedroom to himself should pay a little extra.) Then determine what each sibling can afford of their fraction of the total. The siblings who can afford more might choose to pool extra money to make up for those siblings who are less well off. The important thing is to discuss and agree on the price in advance.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Devastated,” whose family will not accept her relationship with an African-American man.
Our daughter married a black man in 1975. My biggest reservation was the prejudice that their children might face. But they handled it in an exemplary fashion. They taught their two lovely daughters to tell people, “My dad is black and my mother is white, and that’s just the way it is.” I learned to love my son-in-law as if he were my own child. He is a special man. They have been married 37 years and counting.
I side with you, Annie. It is really nobody’s business. I hope “Devastated” will go for it.
-- Proud Mother in Kansas
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