Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: I am happily married to an amazing lady who has been my best friend since the day we met 25 years ago. Our children are all away at college, and we love our empty nest. We keep physically fit, are in great health, are financially stable and have a satisfying social life. The only problem is in the bedroom.
Menopause hit about five years ago, and it has devastated our intimacy. We both visit our doctors regularly and have been to a counselor twice. Our doctors say everything is normal, and the counselor tried to give us some helpful advice, which my wife followed. She does her best to “be there” for me physically, and I do everything I can to be a great husband for her.
My question has to do with what the counselor told me. She said I need to accept the fact that at our age (48), and after 24 years of marriage, an exciting and fulfilling sex life was an unrealistic expectation.
Annie, I am having a hard time accepting this. While we are still intimate, it’s like making love to a mannequin. And after all these years of being faithful, it’s getting harder and harder to brush off the continuous opportunities to stray.
My wife and I have discussed this in detail. She can’t understand why I am not able to simply “turn off” my libido the way nature has turned off hers. Is the counselor right, or is there hope that our great marriage can become complete again? — Happy and Sad in Oklahoma
Dear Oklahoma: The counselor is wrong. Your sex life might not be what it once was, but there is no reason it cannot be fulfilling and satisfying and still include passion. We understand that menopause has taken a toll on your wife’s libido, but she needs to make the effort to work on intimacy because she loves you and values her marriage. Please see a different counselor who will work with both of you to improve those things you can, instead of encouraging you to give up.
Dear Annie: Yesterday, I celebrated a big birthday and received cards and well wishes from many friends. One in particular sent a nice card. However, I was a bit disappointed there wasn’t more. Two years ago, when she celebrated the same big birthday, I wanted to make it special and sent a card with an enclosed gift certificate.
I was surprised she didn’t reciprocate. I would have been happy if she had just sent a note saying, “I will take you out to lunch” or something similar. It hurts that she made no gesture at all. I considered us very close. Am I being foolish to feel this way? — Janet in Reno, Nev.
Dear Janet: Not foolish, but perhaps overly optimistic. It was kind of you to send a birthday gift to your friend, but it was unsolicited, and your thoughtfulness depreciates substantially when you think she “owes” you as a result. All she owes you is a thank-you note. She apparently isn’t the type to exchange gifts. Now you know.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Upset in Santa Cruz,” whose stepdaughter-in-law accused her of abusing her son because there were bruises on him.
Unexplained bruises can be the result of a rare, heritable connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. One sign of EDS is tissue fragility, which results in unexplained bruises. Unfortunately, these bruises often create the impression that the child has been abused.
Please inform your readers, especially teachers, parents and medical professionals, that easily bruised skin can be a symptom of EDS. Additional information can be found at Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Network C.A.R.E.S., Inc., (ehlersdanlosnetwork.org) P.O. Box 66, Muskego, WI 53150. — J.R.
Dear J.R.: Thank you for educating our readers — and us — about this rare condition. Unfortunately, when there are bruises, there is often a less benign reason.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. 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 2.1.10