Dear Annie: "John" and I have been married for 15 years. He is a wonderful person and a great father to our two young girls.
Our relationship is fine on the surface, but it's emotionally empty. There is little intimacy, which has been an issue throughout our marriage. It manifests itself periodically in arguments that never seem to get resolved. John refuses to go to counseling. He wonders why I cannot "just be happy," because from his perspective, everything is fine. I have told him clearly that I need more attention and affection, but I have come to the realization that he is "just not that into me."
I have tried counseling on my own, but I was told to accept things as they are or end the marriage. Annie, I love my family. I am not asking for a magical romance. I don't think it's too much for a woman to need occasional loving physical gestures from her husband. I can't figure out why it's so hard for him to express his love if he cares for me as much as he says.
I don't want to leave, but things could be so much better if John would only put a little more effort into our marriage. Any suggestions on how to improve things? Or am I just destined to have an emotionless relationship? — Lonely in the Ville
Dear Lonely: There is a variety of reasons why a man may not show any interest in his wife: He could be gay, asexual, not attracted to you or having an affair. He could have low testosterone or other medical or emotional issues. The real problem is that he refuses to address it. Start with the approach most likely to get results. Ask John to see his doctor to have his testosterone levels checked. If he refuses or it doesn't help, move on to the other possibilities. Talk frankly with him. He needs to understand the level of your unhappiness.
Dear Annie: Last week, my sister surprised me by showing up unannounced with her two dogs. She said she planned to stay for a week.
I do not have dogs, and that is my choice. My sister's dogs are kept in a truck while she travels, and I feel sorry for them. But I don't want them in my house.
Please tell people not to bring their beloved animals to other people's homes. We don't find them nearly as cute as they do. I don't care how well mannered they are, they still shed, need attention and occasionally dig a hole in the yard. — Annoyed in Yuma
Dear Yuma: No one, relatives included, should drop by unannounced and expect to be put up for days on end. And bringing their animals with them is terribly inconsiderate unless they have been specifically invited. We know how much people love their dogs and cats (and birds and pet snakes), but asking others to be responsible for housing them is inappropriate and makes the entire crew unwelcome. Please, people, be the type of guest who is enthusiastically invited back.
Dear Annie: I agree wholeheartedly with your suggestion to "Desperate in Colorado" to bring in her younger brothers to live with her. However, I disagree that she should consider including her alcoholic mom. Her mother must show that she desires help by attending AA meetings, going to counseling or joining a rehab program. Otherwise, "Colorado" will only be inviting problems into her household.
My mother was a violent alcoholic who died when I was 23. I'm 53 now and still recovering. — Concerned About Her Brothers
Dear Concerned: We agree that living with Mom would be difficult, but it may be the only way "Colorado" can extricate her brothers and have any control over how they live.
Dear Readers: Remember to set your clocks ahead before you go to sleep tonight. And please change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
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. 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.