Dear Annie: I’d give anything to be intimate with my wife, in any form. We’ve been married for 18 years. We have not made love in more than three. We also don’t hold hands, hug, kiss or cuddle. We have pleasant conversations, and I would classify us as compatible roommates.
My wife once had a very active libido, but there was a decline in sexual frequency after the birth of our second child. We had many conversations about it, but she and I both attributed it to crazy schedules and her moderate weight gain. She joined Weight Watchers and lost the weight. In the meantime, I gained 65 pounds.
I help out around the house as best I can. I bathe and groom regularly. I went for counseling by myself and then started hinting to her about wanting to resume sex. Last year, I finally asked her why we don’t make love anymore. Her answer stunned me. My weight gain was such that she no longer finds me physically attractive. I thought I was a good person and a good husband. Apparently none of that mattered enough.
She finally agreed to couples counseling. We went once and things improved for about two weeks, but then her mother’s health declined and everything was put on the back burner. I started going to the gym and lost five pounds, but no more.
Our bed is a dead zone. I don’t know whether it’s better to be lonely in a marriage or to be alone. I know we should return to counseling, but between her mother’s health, financial issues, underachieving teenagers and my own depression, I am not seeing the point and no longer believe all of this effort will make any difference. Any suggestions? — Frustrated on the West Coast
Dear West Coast: Right now, you don’t have the energy to work on your intimacy issues on top of everything else. And even if you did, your wife might not. Life is full of stressful periods, and you cannot let the overriding problem in your marriage slide by while you wait for things to settle down. Get back into counseling for your own sake, whether your wife goes or not. It will help you reach clarity about your situation and how to proceed. And please work on your weight to get healthier. You’ll feel better mentally, as well as physically.
Dear Annie: A person I know gossips nonstop. She can tell you the latest about everyone in the neighborhood. She also badmouths people behind their backs. She uses the guise of caring to find out whatever she can so she can spread more gossip. She is manipulative and deceitful and uses people to get what she wants, including favors and free rides. Worse, she presents herself as deeply religious.
Am I wrong to want as little as possible to do with this woman? — Don’t Know
Dear Don’t Know: You do know. This woman sounds toxic. She doesn’t deserve an audience. Avoiding her won’t make her stop gossiping about you or badmouthing you behind your back. But at least you won’t have to listen to the malicious things she says about others, which can color how you perceive them.
Dear Annie: I am writing about the letter from “Not the Company’s Bank,” the wife whose husband was not being reimbursed for his business expenses in a timely fashion. I am happy to suggest an easy solution.
Hubby should go to the boss or accounting department and ask for a company credit card to be used solely for his business expenses. Instead of needing reimbursement, each month’s bill would be sent directly to the firm. The husband could have a copy in order to break down the expenses by client for billing purposes or to justify a questionable expense. The responsibility for timely payment would be squarely in the firm’s control. — A Former Bookkeeper
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.