Dear Annie: I am 47 years old and am living with so many regrets. I married my husband because I did not think anyone else would ask me. I have never been in love with him.
Fast-forward 25 years. Our children are off on their own. I have been in counseling, and my therapist suggested I bring my husband in with me. He has refused, saying there is nothing wrong with our relationship. We are intimate several times a week, and I do everything around the house. That is all he requires of a relationship.
But honestly, if he did come to counseling, how could I tell him that I am not attracted to him, that I never am aroused by him, that I love him like a brother? I am ready to ask for a divorce so I can try to find a passionate man to fall in love with. I want to feel needed and desirable.
Is this a lost cause at this late stage of my life? Is it better to strike out searching for love that I may never find? Or do I stay in this safe, amicable, boring marriage? — Jennifer
Dear Jennifer: It is possible to find someone more exciting, but that tends to be temporary. It's also possible to find passionate love, and that might free up your husband to find someone who truly loves him, as well. Or you could discover that this marriage is more worthwhile than you believe and be sorry you left. If you are looking for a man to fulfill your fantasies, the odds are against you. You need to ask yourself that Ann Landers question: "Are you better off with or without him?" And only you can supply the answer.
Dear Annie: My husband and I discussed giving his five grown children annual cash gifts now instead of having them wait for an inheritance. The problem is, one of my stepsons, "Clark," is 33 and has no interest in becoming employed. My husband has offered many times to pay for additional education, but he doesn't want it. Clark lives with his mother and stepfather. He is a kind and thoughtful man who does not drink or use drugs. But his life seems to revolve around the Internet and TV.
The cash gift we are considering is not that much, but it would enable Clark to continue living comfortably under his current circumstances. I worry it means he will never learn to provide for himself. I am concerned for his financial future. I looked into setting up an IRA for him, but he has to have earned some income to qualify.
My husband wants to treat all his children equally. How would you handle this situation? — Worried Stepmom
Dear Stepmom: Treating all the children equally means just that — if your husband chooses to give annual cash gifts to one, he must do it for all. And unless Clark's mother kicks him out, the extra income is unlikely to make a big difference. You can advise Clark to save the money for his upcoming "rainy days," but he is a grown man, and his financial future is not your responsibility.
Dear Annie: I enjoy your column over my morning coffee, but this is the first time I have felt compelled to write.
I loved the letter from "Smelling Better," who started taking zinc supplements for body odor and was helped tremendously. I, too, had the same great results for another condition.
After my divorce, I developed a horrendous case of scalp psoriasis. Visit after costly visit to the dermatologist only resulted in using the same cream over and over, and the psoriasis kept getting worse. I then heard about a zinc shampoo and conditioner and ordered it out of desperation. After three shampoos, the psoriasis was gone. Thanks for letting us help each other. — Itch Free
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to [email protected], 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.