Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 20 years. He’s had several health problems during this time, but has always managed his pain.
Last year, he went to a pain management clinic and they prescribed narcotics. He takes them every day and is in a fog every night. He has gained weight, become sloppy and stopped caring how I feel. He sleeps like the dead, mouth hanging open, and of course our sex life has suffered. I have lost my attraction to him and feel the connection between us is evaporating.
I have suggested counseling, but he refuses, saying he has no problem with our marriage. I have seen a counselor myself, but am totally torn up by this. I’m an attractive woman who still receives attention from other men. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone who is continually numb. I have a solid job offer in another town close to family. Should I stick it out and accept this new version of my husband, or do I try it on my own? — Falling Out of Love
Dear Falling: Your husband doesn’t want to stop taking this medication because he feels good for the first time in years and prefers not to give up such relief. However, if he is “in a fog,” he may be overmedicated and his doctor should be informed. If you’ve been with him for 20 years and this latest phase has lasted only 12 months, please stick it out and give him time to adjust his medication and see if that helps. If not, insist on counseling for YOUR sake so he can understand how close he is to losing his marriage.
Dear Annie: My friend, “Liz,” has been struggling a lot recently, and I found out that when she was younger, her older brother molested her when he babysat. He was 13 at the time.
Liz has always excelled in everything to try to win her parents’ approval. They have no idea this happened and think their son is wonderful. They complain she is not close to him. Fortunately, Liz is in counseling now.
I did some research and was shocked to find out how many other girls have been through similar things. I want to tell parents to be careful. Boys are very curious and hormonal. Don’t put them in this type of situation. I know parents will say, “Not my son,” but you never know. Hold your daughters a little closer. And if your child says this is happening, don’t blame or ignore her. Deal with it and be supportive. — Just a Friend
Dear Friend: Many teenage boys make wonderful babysitters. You are right, however, that parents must teach their children to report any inappropriate touching, and that they pay attention to what their child is telling (and not telling) them, regardless of the babysitter’s age or gender.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Please Help Me,” who was unhappy in her marriage to a military man. I know exactly how she feels. I, too, was in a faraway military base, and everyone knew my business whether I wanted it or not. Unfortunately, that is the way of life on a military base.
Before going for help through military channels, she should seek private professional help. The so-called buddy system in the military is very strong and things could backfire on her. I’d suggest she reconsider her relationship with her husband, pack a very light bag, make proper and secure plans and fly home to the people who love her. You’d be surprised at the stuff high-ranking officers get away with. — Ex-Military Wife in Massachusetts
Dear Ex-Military: We were surprised at the number of readers who assumed this woman was somehow being abused. We don’t know if this is the case, but we do know that counseling, even if others know about it, is worth doing, and the military offers such services for free.
Happy Kwanzaa to all our readers.
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 12.26.07