Dear Annie: I have been dating the woman of my dreams for a year. She treats me incredibly well, and we both are very much in love.
Like most adults our age, at first we had sex every week. However, over the past few months, “Jane” has not been willing to make love and has not shown much sign of physical attraction toward me. I confronted her about it, and she said sex is painful.
We agreed to try to make things better and not give up on a potentially great sex life. Since that conversation, Jane still hasn’t shown any physical interest. I have tried setting the right atmosphere, and I always tell her how beautiful and sexy she is. I would never want to put her through anything she doesn’t enjoy, but I truly want a good sex life with the woman I love and believe it can be achieved.
Should I confront her again, or do you have any other suggestions? — Loving Boyfriend
Dear Boyfriend: The right atmosphere and nice compliments are not going to solve Jane’s problem. She needs to see her gynecologist and explain that she is suffering from painful intercourse (dyspareunia).
There can be a variety of causes, both physical and psychological, and an array of treatments. But it is important that Jane talk to someone knowledgeable. Ask Jane if she would like you to accompany her so you can learn how to be supportive and helpful. She sounds worth it.
Dear Annie: I am (God help me) thinking about having my 80-year-old mother move in with me.
In some ways, it would benefit both of us. Her health is deteriorating, she is on a small fixed income, and my own post-divorce finances are shaky. However, Mom is highly controlling and critical and tends to be spiteful when she doesn’t get her way.
I have serious concerns about being able to maintain my privacy and my identity should she come to live with me.
There is a limit to the number of nasty remarks I am willing to tolerate, and just because she disapproves of my career, my music preferences, my friends, etc., doesn’t mean I’m going to change my ways.
Can you give me some advice on how to address these issues in advance? Is there a Bill of Rights for when parents move in? — Trying To Do My Duty
Dear Trying: Not that we know of. We recommend you and your mother have a nice long talk before she moves in. Explain that living together will require compromises from both of you, and it’s best to iron out some of the problem areas in advance. She should not expect you to change your lifestyle in order to please her, and you must allow her to maintain her independence. Learn to turn a deaf ear to some of her criticisms, and say “no” when she makes unreasonable demands. If you are consistently polite but firm about it, she will eventually adjust — and so will you.
Dear Annie: “Frustrated Bride-to-Be” said she is getting married soon and wants her guests to make donations to charity instead of giving wedding gifts, but her friends and relatives don’t seem to be complying.
I recommend she register at her local retailers for only sensible everyday items like towels, sheets, dishes, cups, pot and pans.
After the wedding, she can take the unwrapped gifts to her local women’s shelter or the charity of her choice. These things would bring tremendous joy to someone in need. This solution gets her the outcome she wants without forcing her guests to stop giving presents. And, as you stated, she should be sure to send thank-you notes. — Tris
Dear Tris: A lovely solution! Thanks for suggesting it.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.