Dear Annie: My husband was in a car accident three years ago and has had back pain ever since.
The problem is, we just had a baby four months ago. I understand my husband doesn’t sleep well because of his back, but that leaves me to get up with the baby every night. I also am up with all three of our children on weekends while he sleeps until 10 a.m. Is this fair? I can’t help but be a little resentful, but then I feel bad if I bother him at night. How can we compromise? — Sleep Deprived in Oregon
Dear Sleep Deprived: Your husband may not sleep well because of his back, but you don’t sleep well because of the baby, so when the weekend comes, you’re even. Here’s your compromise: You get to sleep more on Saturday, and he gets extra rest on Sunday. Whether that means sleeping late in the morning or taking a nap in the afternoon is up to you. P.S.: If your husband hasn’t asked his doctor about pain management, please suggest it.
Dear Annie: You’ve printed many letters from men who want more sex in their marriages. If a woman were starving her husband — feeding him once a week and keeping the food locked up — I’m sure you’d consider that abuse. A strong sex drive feels exactly like that — you’re hungry all the time. Telling your spouse he has to do without because you don’t need it as often is cruel.
Why should the partner with the minimal sex drive determine the type and frequency of intimacy? Never feeling satisfied is a terrible way to live. If you love your spouse, you won’t want him to be hungry.
By the way, I’m a woman who knows what it’s like to be treated as if there’s something wrong with me for wanting sex, and to have a spouse who uses sex as a reward and withholds it for punishment. I am now remarried. It is heaven to be with someone who enjoys making sure I’m taken care of in every way. And it makes me want to do everything I can to see that he’s happy in return. — O.
Dear O.: Thanks for the excellent analogy. We agree that husbands and wives should do everything possible to make sure their partners are not starving from lack of intimacy.
Dear Annie: My heart is breaking. I am a 40-year-old married mother of three, and I have lost the spark in my marriage. The real problem is that I am in love with a co-worker — a female co-worker. I have never had a lesbian relationship, but I care about “Nina” in a way I’ve never felt before. We are good friends and spend a lot of time together — shopping, dining out, going to the movies — and I’m fantasizing about having more, but I have no idea if Nina is interested in a gay relationship.
When I look into her eyes, I see my soul mate and am filled with such a longing, I can hardly stand it. Is it crazy for me to feel this way? Can someone suddenly become gay? And what should I tell my husband? I still love him, but I don’t feel the same passion I feel for Nina. Please help. — Brokenhearted in the Midwest
Dear Brokenhearted: Your marriage has become stale and that has left you open to other possibilities. It is unlikely that you are “suddenly” gay. Either you have been repressing that side of yourself for years, or your attraction to Nina is not so much sexual as it is an infatuation with her personality. This happens more often than you might think and has little to do with your basic sexual orientation.
You have an obligation to your husband and children to work on your marriage first. Passion is wonderful, but it’s not everything. Please get counseling and sort this out.
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 on 11.08.07