Dear Annie: I have been with the same woman for six years. Now she has asked me to marry her. We get along terrifically, but when it comes to bedtime, there is no closeness. She says she can’t cuddle with me because she’s been hurt so many times in the past. We sleep with her three big dogs in between us.
This doesn’t seem fair to me. If you’re in love, isn’t it only natural to want to hold and cuddle the one you marry? I’m terrified of making the wrong choice. Please help.
No Cuddles in California
Dear California: Not everyone likes to cuddle, but someone who puts three dogs between you in bed isn’t even trying. More importantly, you need to be compatible on this issue. If your girlfriend has been so hurt in the past that she cannot show affection, suggest that she get counseling. Otherwise, we don’t recommend you spend the rest of your life wishing things were different with your partner. And should you decide she’s not the one, please have the decency to tell her so you both can move on.
Dear Annie: I would like to offer a possible solution to “No Hallmark,” whose sister makes cards that are a work of art and need to be displayed. Now she’s inundated with lovely cards and doesn’t know what to do with them.
I have a dear friend who has been making such cards for more than 20 years. I consider them an extension of her personality and spirit. For a long time, I saved the cards in a box. Recently, I took them out, selected a few of my favorites and had them cropped, matted and framed in a collage that I hung in my home office. Whenever I see it, I smile and remember happy times in our friendship.
My friend sends me new cards every year. I display them temporarily and then put them into the box. Sometime in the future, I will once again go through the process of having my favorites framed and hung in a space that needs brightening somewhere in my home.
When my friend found out what I had done, it sent her over the moon with happiness — the same way her thoughtfulness in creating and sending the cards makes me feel.
Dear Lucky: We received several suggestions from readers who came up with ways to preserve these artistic cards without feeling overwhelmed. Read on:
From New York: I am a card maker. I hope the people to whom I send my works of art feel the love and good wishes glued and stamped on that card stock. Here is another option for what to do with the cards after the recipient has finished enjoying them: Offer to give them back to the sender. I keep a scrapbook of my art and often look back at previous work to get ideas for new cards. I certainly would take my cards back. Perhaps No Hallmark’s sister will, too. I bet she would be touched by the fact that the cards are still around after all these years.
Sierra Vista, Ariz: “No Hallmark” could donate those cards to a charity, such as St. Jude’s Children’s Ranch (100 St. Jude’s Blvd., Boulder City, NV 89005). The Ranch cares for children from abusive homes, and the kids earn money by recycling used cards into new ones and selling them.
California: “No Hallmark” could scan those beautiful cards and save them digitally. That way, she keeps the artwork and sentiments, but doesn’t have to store the physical paper. And she also could easily share them with others. She could even make a virtual album.
Louisville: My mother takes cards that she really likes and glues the front to a plain gift bag so the card continues “giving its gift.” I liked the idea enough to start doing it myself.
Dear Annie: Your advice to “Hurt and Alone,” the woman whose husband has a good time with his cheating friends, was fine, but you didn’t address an important point. She said her husband managed to manipulate the therapist. A well-trained therapist doesn’t get manipulated. It sounds as if she and her husband were shortchanged by someone who couldn’t effectively dissect the situation and tackle the problems at hand.
I’d like to suggest that she seek individual psychotherapy with a licensed mental health therapist (LMHT) or licensed certified social worker (LCSW). Her physician or a local hospital social worker can recommend someone,l.
Saved by a Competent Therapist
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