Dear Annie: My husband and I are both in our 60s and have had a mutually loving and enjoyable sex life. We were intimate once or twice a week. Until now.
”Bill” recently was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and we have elected to do nothing aggressive. The doctor suggested “dutiful watching.” Bill has some erectile dysfunction, and so he has all but eliminated sex from our bedroom. What used to be once a week is now less than once a month.
All I need is the cuddling we used to have and the touching and caressing. But I can barely get him to hold my hand. Sometimes, I wake up during the night and find that Bill is also awake. But he won’t respond to my sweet caresses.
Bill refuses to talk about it. How do I assure him that I love him from the inside out? I don’t care if we don’t have sex. I just want the affection he used to show. — Sleepless in Seattle
Dear Seattle: So many of our readers have this same problem: Their spouses withhold affection because they fear it could lead to an expectation of sex. But lack of affection only makes one’s partner feel unloved and unwanted.
Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction often feel stressed about their sexual performance. And undoubtedly, the prostate cancer is weighing heavily on Bill’s mind. According to the American Cancer Society (cancer.org), survivors and their wives have greater success reviving their sex lives when they go through couples therapy (online or in person). Please suggest it to Bill.
Dear Annie: I need to get this off my chest. I am stunned at the number of events to which my husband and I are invited by folks who live in the same town but who have never once had the courtesy to offer a drink or a meal that didn’t involve our bringing a gift. These “friends” ought to ask themselves, before issuing an invitation, whether they have ever welcomed us into their homes for so much as a cup of coffee.
Right now, we are being inundated with graduation invitations and announcements, and we are putting down our collective foot. Obviously, these people think our pockets are deep and that we are unaware of how insulting this is. — Jaded and Voting with Our Wallets
Dear Jaded: We understand your aggravation at being invited to events for people to whom you are only marginally connected. When invited to a graduation (or sent an announcement), your only obligation is to send a card of congratulations. Anything further is up to you.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “No Free Lunch,” who doesn’t like it when people come into her restaurant with their own food.
I am a diabetic on a very strict diet for weight loss and blood-sugar control. When my friends want to have a meal in a place that does not have a menu conducive to my diet needs, I will get my food elsewhere and meet them at their restaurant of choice to share a table and fellowship.
Perhaps this is rude to the owners, but the only alternative is to take our business to a restaurant that will cater to my dietary needs. I think the restaurant owner first needs to see whether the person is actually freeloading and taking up valuable space, or just trying to share a table with legitimate customers. When I go into a restaurant that has hostile signs posted, it turns me off and I am less likely to return there. It does not create an inviting atmosphere. — Just Saying
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.