Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I’ve been married to “Craig” for 38 years, and for the past 10, we haven’t had much of a sexual relationship due to his erectile dysfunction and various other marital issues. I have reconnected by phone with a man I was in love with before I met Craig. In fact, we had a serious relationship for three years. We are now having phone sex about once a week.
I love my husband, but have not been sexually attracted to him for a long time. I do, however, fantasize about my former lover. We have no plans to see each other, but I think about him obsessively and may still be in love with him. I can’t afford to see a psychologist to work this problem out. What do you suggest? — Confused and Frustrated
Dear Confused: We know some readers would say, “What’s the harm in phone sex if there’s nothing more?” Here’s the problem: You obsess over this man and believe you may be in love with him. Plus, you feel sexually deprived and Mr. Phone Sex fills that need. This makes him a major threat to your marriage.
Decide what price you are willing to pay to continue the relationship. If you want to stay with your husband, you must cease and desist the phone sex because you risk convincing yourself you should be with the other man. You can find low-cost counseling through your church, the YMCA, United Way, local hospitals, university psychology departments and graduate school counseling departments, and Recovery, Inc. (recovery-inc.org).
Dear Annie: My father and stepmother are old and broke. They squandered all their money on gambling and still do. After my parents divorced, my father and I spoke only occasionally. When I married, he offered no financial assistance and didn’t even give us a wedding present.
A few years ago, Dad re-established contact with me. He finally learned my wife’s name after we had been married nearly 30 years, although he still doesn’t know the names of my three grown children. Dad and his wife (who I barely know) gush about how much they love me, but every call includes a discussion about why they need money. After the first few dips in that well, I quit giving them anything except at Christmas and birthdays.
My sister gets along with Dad, but she’s financially challenged. I want to maintain a good relationship with my sister, but I don’t want to pay for my father’s funeral when the time comes. Frankly, I don’t care where, or even if, he is buried. I can afford it, but I don’t want to spend any part of my children’s inheritance on a funeral for a grandfather they don’t know. Any thoughts? — Indifferent Son
Dear Son: Funerals don’t have to deplete the family inheritance. Select something simple, and start setting aside a portion of the annual Christmas and birthday money for that purpose. You aren’t doing it for Dad. You’re doing it for your sister.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Dysfunctional in Utah,” who comes from a family of molesters and whose brother sexually abused their sister. He now has four young granddaughters.
Please tell her not to wait another day to inform her sister-in-law. My former son-in-law’s parents and siblings kept the same dirty little secret about him. After it was too late to protect my grandsons from this animal, it turned out he had made plea agreements for at least two similar offenses. My grandchildren will spend the rest of their lives in counseling trying to get over what these people allowed to happen. I wish there was a way to charge these family members with risk of injury. — Brokenhearted Grandma
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.11.09