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Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar


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Woman Would Rather Sleep With Daughter Than Hubby


Dear Annie: My wife sleeps with our 9-year-old daughter, "Alexis." This started shortly after Alexis' birth and continues to this day. At the same time, my wife complains bitterly about our lack of emotional and physical closeness. My response is that I'm always available upstairs — alone.

I have tried over the years to coax her back into our bedroom using a combination of the carrot and the stick, but nothing seems to work. I often tell her that sleeping with our child is a symbol of our apartness. Nonetheless, she has made it clear that she enjoys sleeping with our daughter and prefers it to sleeping with me. She has chosen her child over her husband.

Please publish my letter so my wife will see it and hopefully change her priorities. I've tried everything else and don't know what more I can do. — Indy

Dear Indy: Some women use their children as an excuse to avoid the marital bed. The repercussions not only damage the marriage, but also the child. And at this point, Alexis will make it extremely difficult to change the sleeping arrangements, which will only make your wife more likely to maintain the status quo. She needs to stop, and it will help if she understands and faces her reasons. Please get into counseling, preferably together, and work on this.

Dear Annie: A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a townhouse in Arizona and now spend every winter there. Between family and friends, we have quite a bit of company.

The problem is, there is a lot to do and see here, and everybody wants to do and see all there is. We have now seen most of the sights several times, and the cost of doing so runs into quite a bit of money.

We don't want to be rude and send them alone, but neither are we interested in seeing things again and again.

What is the right thing to do? Would it be OK to let them go without us? — To Go or Not To Go

Dear To Go: By all means. It is perfectly fine to tell your houseguests that they should enjoy their time on their own. Give them suggestions of what to see and how to get there, and then perhaps join them later for dinner.

Dear Annie: I feel compelled to write after reading the letter from "Confused in Illinois," whose husband has started working out in the nude in front of their 12-year-old daughter. I realize there is probably nothing going on that is immoral, but as an educator and mother of three daughters, I am concerned.

Working out in the nude in front of your child is wrong. I would never even consider doing this in front of my own daughters. Why is he now so interested in the workout process, and why is the daughter only involved when nudity is a part of the equation? A small pair of shorts, even underwear, would not impede his movement.

The daughter needs to know this is not "normal" behavior. It is a form of exhibitionism, and she may have problems dealing with this in the future. Innocent or not, as parents we have to make decisions that are in the best interests of our children. The writer said they are not prudes, but the fact that she is questioning the behavior says it all. I go back to the advice of my grandmother: "If something feels wrong, it probably is." — Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned: You make an excellent point that if the nudity is making Mom uncomfortable, there could be an underlying reason, and she should not be reluctant to tell Dad to put some shorts on.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to, 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



11 Comments | Post Comment
Normally I hate the Annie's 'get to counseling' but but I am going to agree this time for LW1. Not counseling for him and his wife, though. She probably won't go, since she's already laid down the law. He needs to go himself to decide why he's put up with this situation for nine years. Personally, I'd have be gone if my spouse told me he preferred sleeping with one of the kids to me. This woman is using her daughter as a chastity belt. What is she going to do when the girl becomes a teenager? Or moves out? The LW is a single man. He just doesn't know it yet.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Datura
Sun May 30, 2010 6:35 AM
On a side note, I hope the maintainers here really rethink the mechanics of the comments page. The double, triple and sometimes quadruple posts are annoying. But what is worse is not being able to tell if your comments went through, even if you refresh the page or navigate away.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Datura
Sun May 30, 2010 6:37 AM
I got divorced, moved into a 1 bedroom apartment, and my daughters and I slept in the same room. My friends said I was ruining them and that they would sleep with me forever. We now have a 2 bedroom condo, and both girls moved to the other bedroom, of their own accord, when they were 12. And they are both healthy, happy honor students.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Barb
Sun May 30, 2010 7:05 AM
To Indy - it's definitely weird that your wife chooses to sleep with your daughter, but - just typing out loud here - maybe you're really, really bad at sex. And it's clear she doesn't want to get pregnant again. Whatever it is, she's not telling you the real reasons. If she complains bitterly about the lack of "physical and emotional closeness" maybe that's exactly what she means. Not a quick roll in the hay.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sun May 30, 2010 7:11 AM
@Barb....that's different. You didn't sleep with them for 9 years since they were babies and sleep with them instead of your husband...right?

@Maggie....if he's bad at sex it's up to her to tell him how to make it better. And that's what birth control is for. And it seems a little extreme to do that for 9 years.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Liz
Sun May 30, 2010 7:39 AM
Well Liz, maybe he's extremely bad at sex. And maybe she finds it impossible to tell him what it is - I dunno - but I would sure like to know what the "carrot and stick" are.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Maggie Lawrence
Sun May 30, 2010 8:40 AM
LW1 also might not be listening to what his wife is saying. I have been honest with my husband about why we no longer share a bed, but he refuses to hear me and keeps on taking it personally and thinking there is "something wrong". The reason I decided to move into my own bed has nothing to do with my love for him. It has to do with SLEEPING. I put up with the discomfort for years because I cared about his feelings, but we are just too different and my work was starting to suffer from it. He loves to sleep in a warm room, preferably with an electric blanket, while I keep the windows wide open, even in January when it is 10 below. He smokes a pipe, and the room stinks, while I prefer a smoke-free room and now wake up headache-free. He also has low testosterone and is only interested in sex when he first wakes up, which is about 5am (he no longer works, but I do and I need my rest). So, now I have my own bed, and the dogs pile up with me, and I get accused of preferring the dogs over him. Things weren't always this way, but have escalated due to his age and poor health. I love him, but at some point I had to think of my own health. There are two sides to every story.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Kodiak
Sun May 30, 2010 12:59 PM
LW1 - I'm a huge advocate of attachment parenting, and DH and I still let our son crawl in bed with us when he's had a bad dream or needs comforting (and even then we sneak him back into his OWN bed when he's returned to a deep sleep), but even I think nine is too old for co-sleeping. I'd be willing to bet even Dr. Sears et al would see red flags in this situation. I agree counseling is in order because clearly there's a disconnect in the communication and it's going to take someone neutral to help get to the bottom of this.

LW3 - Thank you! As someone whose own father did inappropriate things during my teen years I echo your sentiments 100%. I did not even realize that what he did was sexual abuse because I thought "But he isn't touching me." I then learned about covert incest and OMG so much of what he did fit the description... and yes it is damaging, at the very least in terms of how it affects a child's perception of what healthy sexuality is all about.
Comment: #8
Posted by: PS
Sun May 30, 2010 1:27 PM
Glad to see LW3's dose of common sense! There is something very wrong in that situation -- Mom should trust her gut. The fact that Dad only goes around naked when he's exercising, and his daughter only hung around during the workout after he ditched the shorts, is highly disturbing. I'm not saying the girl wants to be there, either! But like any kid, she is responding to a parent's praise -- in this case, dad's obvious enjoyment of having her observe, and the child's naive sense that this is a bonding experience, reinforces it in her mind as a "positive behavior".
Mom, it's time to panic! YOUR HUSBAND is a CREEP.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Honor Girl
Mon May 31, 2010 8:28 AM
I agree with other poster about the father who wants to workout in the nude with his daughter present. He is a creep. I have done weight training for years, there is no reason it has to be done in the nude. The gym I go to has professional bodybuilders and everyone of them is not only clothed but clothed according to a dress code. This father is trying to find a reason to be nude in front of his daughter. There is something incestous about this, and the LW needs to put a stop to it now. If it ever gets out what the husband is doing, child welfare will be on the doorstep pronto.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Lisa
Mon May 31, 2010 10:20 AM
My husband and I don't sleep together. My 10-y/o has been sleeping with me since she was 5 on and off since she was diagnosed with cancer. It made her feel better to feel close to me during her chemo and recovery, then she had night terrors, fear of being alone, the dark, etc.. Now she is over all that and sleeps in her room 5/7 nights. My husband still doesn't sleep with me but we are still intimate and find plenty of alone time. He has to sleep with the TV or radio on, I just cannot sleep with them on. I did it years ago in college in the dorm to drown out the noise, but just cannot do it now at 45. He won't wear ear buds or head phones so he ends up sleeping on the couch in the LR or in my daughter's room when she is with me in the MBR. You can still have a healthy sex life and not sleep in the same bed. My husband also snores horribly so I'd rather not sleep with him anyway, and no he is not obese at 165 pounds and 5'11" tall. So not sleeping together does not have to mean no physical intimacy. LW1 is not dangling enough I guess....or else she just has absolutely no interest in sex anymore...or is avoiding her husband for other reasons whihc he needs to ferret out.
Comment: #11
Posted by: L
Mon May 31, 2010 4:45 PM
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