Dear Annie: I am a 57-year-old woman, and my husband is 61. We met online and spent weekends together for seven months before getting married. I was deeply in love with him for the first six months.
Lately, my attitude and feelings have changed dramatically. This man drives me crazy and grosses me out. He is constantly clearing his throat and blowing his nose. He is flatulent and burps long and loud all day and night. He’s clumsy, and his memory is going downhill fast. He becomes very defensive when I try to talk to him about any of this. I still love him, but not romantically. I feel more like a best friend.
I have to force myself to kiss him, let alone sleep with him, and due to his denial, I have lost a lot of respect for him. This was not the man I dated. He retired six months ago and now sits around all day getting stoned. He doesn’t make friends, and he needs open heart surgery and a knee replacement and will require a caregiver very soon. He knew I was a nurse when we met, and I think he married me because of his overwhelming fear of being alone. I have spent decades taking care of people who are disabled, demented and in denial. I now see this marriage as a live-in job.
He can’t understand why my feelings have changed and blames me. I feel totally trapped. I bought the house we are living in and brought more money into the marriage. However, because I am entitled to his retirement benefit when he dies, he considers our financial contributions to be equal.
I didn’t date for 12 years before I met him and thought we were very compatible. I should have lived with him for at least a year, but I wanted to set a good example for my children. Please don’t suggest counseling. It won’t change his personality or improve his declining health and honesty. — Regrets in Paradise
Dear Regrets: The counseling isn’t for him. It’s for you. You feel trapped with a man you no longer wish to be intimate with, and the future you see is that of patient and nurse. There’s no point in beating yourself up over what you didn’t notice when you were dating. That happens to everyone. The question is what you are going to do about it now. And that’s where the counseling can help. You need to sort out how you feel, whether you are willing to stick it out and the emotional cost to you.
Dear Annie: Why do people make a big deal out of men who are crossdressers?
I am 43 years old, happily married and not gay. I’m a businessman, and I wear lacy lingerie with breast forms under my suits every day. My beautiful wife of 20 years thinks I look hot in lingerie. When we go out to fancy restaurants, I dress up as a woman. I’m very passable, and our four teenage daughters are OK with it.
There are straight women who wear men’s clothing, and I never hear anything negative about them. — A Happy Father and Husband
Dear Happy: Women who wear men’s clothing generally do so because it is more comfortable. Men who wear women’s clothing, which is decidedly less comfortable, often do so because it gives them a sexual thrill or satisfies some emotional need. (Some women dress like men for the same reasons.) The important thing is that your wife and daughters are OK with it. No one else’s opinion matters.
Dear Annie: I believe “Native New Yorker,” whose scratchy voice makes people think he is foreign, missed out on a lot of opportunities to have fun. His response to questions regarding his origin should be: “I’m from Mars. Please take me to your leader.” — C.
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 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.