Dear Annie: How would you profile a 33-year-old man who will not let his 31-year-old wife wear a bra? At night, on weekends and almost any other time I am not at work, my husband insists I go braless.
At 31, and being fairly well-endowed, I am concerned that my breasts will sag from the lack of support. I haven’t seen any evidence of that yet, but still, the dresses my husband likes me to wear are fairly low-cut. I find myself getting disapproving glances from women at the grocery store and other kinds of glances from teenage boys at the movies. My husband says bras are unnatural and too constricting and he likes the slight bounce.
I love my husband and feel I should do this for him, but wish he didn’t ask it of me. What should I do? — Not Drooping Yet in Ohio
Dear Ohio: Whether or not to wear a bra should be up to you — not your husband. It’s not his breasts bouncing around in the grocery store. You are not obligated to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, even for your husband, and he should not be a tyrant about it. Try to find a reasonable compromise. For example, you might offer to go braless on weekends, but not when you’re running errands. The fact that your husband gets his jollies putting you on display is no reason to be more accommodating than you wish to be.
Dear Annie: I have found the man of my dreams. We’ve been seeing each other for the last three years and believe we are true soul mates. We want more than anything to get married. The problem is our family — family in the singular.
You see, we are first cousins, at least legally. We actually are not blood related because I was adopted when I was 4 months old. Because of the legal connection, though, our family views this as incest.
We grew up more than 600 miles apart and only met twice before attending the same college. We were thrilled to know someone in the new environment and spent a lot of time together. We have both finished school now and have great jobs. We feel ready to take the next step in our relationship and want to get married.
Our family has threatened not to show up for the wedding. Can you imagine? No family on either side. The thought is unbearable for both of us. My brother even said that, because of the law, I may have to legally disown my parents. I hope this is not true. Can you please advise us? — Kissing Cousins
Dear Cousins: Marriage between first cousins is illegal in 25 states, which means it could be perfectly fine where you are. Some states permit first-cousin unions if there is no increased chance of producing children with genetic abnormalities, and that is certainly the case here, since you are not blood related. Do some research and find out what’s permitted in your state. Then present this information to your concerned family members. If they still refuse to accept the union, you might dig a little deeper and find out if there is another reason.
Dear Annie: I so enjoy reading your column and liked the responses about what to call a live-in boyfriend. I, too, am “living in sin” and loving it.
There is also the description of “Life’s Partner,” but I use a description that drives my mate crazy. I call him my “Clusband” — for common-law husband. The state I live in doesn’t recognize common-law marriages, but I consider this man to be my husband. Although he keeps asking me to make it legal, I would lose too much. I tell him I am committed to the relationship and it’s working for us. I just wish he would call me his Clife. — Rosemarie in The Villages, Fla.
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 5.5.08