Dear Annie: My husband, Danny, and I have been married for 37 years. We raised two daughters, who are now married with children of their own.
As far as my friends are concerned, Danny is a great husband, and they continually tell me how lucky I am because he treats me like a queen.
Danny is fit and trim and average-looking. He does all the cooking, cleans the bathrooms and does a number of other household chores. He also maintains our automobiles, and no matter their age, they look brand-new. Our yard is the envy of the neighbourhood, and it is all due to Danny. In fact, there is nothing Danny will not do for me if I ask.
So what is the problem? Danny expects sex once a week. Sex is something I have never enjoyed. Since Day One, I would submit to him because I believed it was my duty, but after 37 years, I consider sex an unnecessary task. When I turn him down, Danny gets depressed and mopes around the house for days. I love Danny with all my heart and cannot imagine my life without him. He reads your column daily, and if he saw my letter in print he might understand that even though I do not want to be intimate, it doesn’t mean I don’t love or care for him. — Not Interested Now, Never Was
Dear Not Interested: Please don’t do this. Danny has been a full partner in your marriage. You should be one, too, and sex is part of that. When you love someone, you accommodate them in ways that make them happy — whether you get anything out of it or not. Sex once a week is not excessive.
Have your doctor check your hormone levels, which we suspect have always been out of balance, and consider therapy. It’s possible you could enjoy intimacy if you worked on it.
Dear Annie: My 70-year-old father died after a long battle with cancer. My mother, an active 68-year-old woman who still maintains a part-time job, requested my sisters and I help her out while Dad was ailing and, of course, we did.
However, it’s been six months and Mom continues to expect us to come over and do her chores, which are getting out of hand.
We clean the floors, fold laundry and organize closets. There’s always a “to do” list when we visit, including holidays. We have families of our own, and I have a full-time job, as well. I know Mom is grieving, but I’m beginning to lose patience and don’t want to be so bitter. What can I do? — Ungrateful Daughter
Dear Daughter: Your mother has become dependent on you. Six months ago, this was both necessary and loving, but now it is creating an unhealthy neediness and you are becoming resentful.
Set boundaries for how much time you spend doing chores.
Perhaps you and your sister can help her hire someone once every other week for household maintenance. Also remember that Mom is still grieving. Becoming independent makes her loss more permanent and painful. Grief counselling will help.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Hurting Parent,” whose 12-year-old son walked past a full garbage can, so the parents made him write a letter about his bad behaviour.
They need to back off. If he’s a well-mannered kid with good grades, why do they punish him for typical 12-year-old behaviour? A gentle reminder to empty the trash will go much further than punishment.
I grew up in a house where nothing was good enough and I was punished for every tiny infraction.
To this day I am not close to my parents. If the worst thing my kid did was ignore a trash can, I would count myself blessed. — Practical Parent
Dear Parent: You certainly aren’t the only parent who feels this way. Thanks for weighing in.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.