Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 22 years and have two wonderful children. We both have college degrees and full-time jobs.
I am an optimistic introvert, and she is a pessimistic extrovert. We have never been close to each other socially. We have different interest and physical abilities. We also don't communicate much, even on important issues. I think conversations should be short and to the point, my wife can go on and on. She doesn't even try anymore because she believes I have no interest. Our sex life is almost nonexistent. She has no interest in any type of intimacy.
We both contribute to the problems, and I want to change this. I want to be closer and find common ground. But when I suggested counseling, she refused. She says everyone she knows who has tried therapy has ended up in divorce court. She thinks if I ask for counseling, it means I want a divorce.
This puts me between a rock and a hard place. What would you suggest? — Stymied Husband
Dear Stymied: We wonder how you two ever ended up married for 22 years. While it is true that some couples enter counseling as a pretense to justify divorce, a good counselor will not deliberately steer you in that direction. We've printed many letters from people saying that counseling saved their relationships by helping each person express themselves clearly so that positive changes could be made.
Your wife has to trust you enough to believe that you want to salvage your marriage. Please show her this letter and tell her you wrote it. Say how much you want to be closer, and ask her to come with you for counseling so both of you can find a way back to each other. We hope she will cooperate.
Dear Annie: I want to respond to "Wondering Mom" about women who nurse their children without covering up. My 8-year-old son recently was exposed to a woman openly breastfeeding in my gym's daycare. He came home and asked me if he could get a drink from my breasts. I wish these women would respect my right as a parent to be present when my child is exposed to such things so I can explain what's happening. — Not in Front of My Kid Please
Dear Not: Your son is old enough to know that babies nurse, especially in a daycare center at the gym, which is not the same as whipping off your top at the local coffee shop. A mother is not going to wait to nurse her child until other parents are present to explain things. Here are a couple more letters on that subject:
Dear Annie: What about a child who becomes so overwhelming hot, no matter how light the cover-up, that she pushes it aside? My daughter constantly exposes me in public and there's nothing I can do about it. — Poughkeepsie
Dear Annie: I nursed both of my children. I either covered the baby with my shirttail or used a light blanket to shield myself. I nursed in church, in front of the pastor during his sermon, and he had no clue. I agree that the "naked from the waist up" trend is pushing the right to nurse in our faces, and is not really a benefit for the child. Breastfeeding is wonderful, but not everyone has to watch. — Illinois
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie
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Photo credit: Dean Hochman