Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Your Husband,” who wrote an open letter to his wife explaining how her unwillingness to have sex justified his affair. He was obviously pouring his heart out. I am a 54-year-old woman on hormone replacement. My husband and I enjoy a wonderful sex life, but as I get older, I am less and less interested. I love him and want to make him happy, so once a week I force myself to have sex. If you love someone, you try to understand their needs.
But I respect hard honesty. If he had told his wife how he felt before his affair, they might have reached a mutual agreement. Now, it’s a betrayal of the marriage. He made a decision for both of them without consulting her. How would he feel if she did that? — Emotional in California
Dear Emotional: We were drowning in mail from readers responding to this man’s message, nearly all of it from women. Read on:
From Illinois: This husband is an immature, selfish, spineless jerk. How can he claim he loves his wife and then commit adultery? As long as she fulfills his need for sex, she is perfect, but when the sex stops, all those other things don’t count. He should have the decency to tell her that his need for sex outweighs his love for her.
New York: I am the Other Woman. If his wife has no libido, why should he have to live that way, too? The kicker is that I am also married, and I love my husband. I wonder whether “Your Husband” really has no emotional attachment to the other woman, because I know I am attached to mine. Worse, I am not so turned on by my husband because I have such a strong physical connection with my boyfriend.
Pennsylvania: I’ll bet his wife cooks, cleans and takes care of those children, so he’d be an idiot to walk away. Not once does he indicate that they have tried counseling or a doctor’s help. Instead, he took the selfish way out and slept with another woman. And just to be clear, a basic need would be food, water, shelter, clothing. No one has ever died for lack of sex.
Chicago: This letter shocked me, and then I became enraged. Dear Husband: I’ll tell you why we don’t have sex anymore. I am exhausted after working a full day and then coming home and taking care of the kids. I see you watching TV and wonder how you don’t notice the dirty dishes, screaming kids and toys on the floor. I resent you for choosing your friends and other interests over me. I notice how you look at other women but can’t find the same gleam in your eye for me. You pay no attention to me until we get into the bedroom, and then you expect me to fulfill your desires. I can’t have sex with someone who treats me so poorly.
Florida: I don’t have libido issues. I am simply turned off. You have gained 80 pounds, perspire profusely and have bad breath. If you would spend less time playing with your girlfriend and work on your appeal, this would be different. I do love you, so figure out which woman will be around to feed you and change your Depends when you have a stroke.
Boston: Love does not sneak around, betray or hurt others. That’s why marriage can be hard. Others with the same issue choose to honor their vows of fidelity, talk openly with their spouse and seek help from professionals.
Arizona: Sex creates a bond. I think this man has a big surprise coming if he ever tries to break it off with the other woman.
California: I was this wife. At age 38, I began ignoring his advances. Looking back, I think I was unhappy with myself. I finally found my libido, and our sex life has been amazing since. But when I first approached him again, he turned me down. Now I know how much rejection hurts, especially from someone you love.
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.