After 28 years, my wife announces she’ll no longer have sex - that her “playground” is closed, and that I should get used to it or get out.
Over the last three years, her mother and father passed away, our children started university and, her job will disappear in two years.
I’ve tried talking to her about this, and have asked her to go to marriage counselling. But she says it’s a waste of her time.
I’m not ready to call it quits as I still have feelings for her, but I can’t and won’t live in a loveless marriage.
- In the Cold
Your wife is emotionally depleted, but it’s unfair for her to close down all possibilities of intimacy… and counter-productive, too, since a loving connection can restore emotional health.
But recognize that anyone with major changes including parents’ deaths and job loss is likely to be depressed and needing high levels of support and understanding. Talk to her about her losses, without only focusing on the one she’s imposed on you.
Help her plan positively for the job change, by considering taking time to just relax awhile, take some courses, pursue interest in another field, etc.
Respect the time she needs for mourning; join her in new activities and try new schedules (dinner out once weekly?) as empty nesters. Then, suggest marriage counselling to re-connect as a loving couple.
If she refuses, go yourself to think through your options.
My brother-in-law resents me because I’ve given my husband, his youngest brother, the confidence to speak up when he’s ignored.
Keep up the (private) support for your hubby! But leave the adjustment between the brothers. Be polite and pleasant when together.
My father is twice-divorced; recently, he was sending a “woman” from Nigeria (Internet girlfriend) money and jewellery and offering marriage when she came here.
My brother and I researched her name – “she” was a known scammer who’d copied her passport photo from a modelling site.
Lately he’s been communicating with a woman from Indonesia, saying they’ll marry, he’ll adopt her two children and they’ll all move into our house. He’ll pay for her travel expenses, visa, childcare.
I’m in school, my brother’s a teenager and we both also have to work full time, or he threatens to “throw us out.” My father’s verbally abusive, especially to me; he expects the house to be perfectly clean and dinner ready for him.
We can’t live with our mother because she’s remarried with two other young children, but we can’t support ourselves.
Our father gives me his credit card to pay house bills so I see the transcript of what he spends and check his computer history for women scamming a lonely man.
What should I do?
- Troubled Daughter
Your father’s loneliness is sad but no excuse for his abuse. You need to talk to someone trusted to help you handle the present, and plan for the future. Find out if there’s pastoral counselling in your faith community, or student counselling services at your school, or seek a teacher or relative whose opinion you respect.
If possible, talk to your mother about this; she may have ideas on ways to help.
Meanwhile, though your father’s social life is not your responsibility, you could give him information about local community centre activities.
Start looking ahead, to how you can become more independent and move out; hopefully, your brother will be able to join you in time.
A close girlfriend said she bought a white dress to wear to my September wedding. How do I inform her that I find it rude to wear white to anyone’s wedding?
- Fall Foul
You already know whether she’s a born attention-seeker (I look great in white, with my summer tan!) or just clueless about wedding no-no’s… of which the white dress option is high on the “Bad Guest” list.
Have a mutual friend ask if she’s chosen a dress, and respond with horror when she learns of its colour.
If there’s no indication of change, you can soon mention yourself that you heard about it, understand she likely didn’t know, but that you do feel as others do, that it’s an unkind choice. Add you’d be happy to shop with her during the summer sales, when looking for another dress at a bargain price will be so much fun!
Tip of the day:
Withholding sex in marriage is an unfair escape from the partnership, often sparked by depression and life changes.