Dear Annie: Two years ago, I married "Tim," who is in his mid-30s. I moved more than 1,200 miles away and left my family, friends and a great job to be with him. I had no debt and used all the proceeds from the sale of my home to have a nice wedding celebration. Tim didn't have to pay a dime.
The problem is, he works all the time, his days off are usually when I am working, and our bills exceed our income. He doesn't mind that a bit. He also can't have a normal conversation. Everything is a joke. From the time we wake up until we go to bed, it's like a bad comedy show. And it's his way or no way. If we do something I prefer, he sits and pouts. He never gives me a compliment and is not affectionate at all. I am now sleeping on the couch because he hates to be touched, even in his sleep. We never have passionate kisses. Sex is rare. Cuddling is out of the question. There is nothing physically wrong with him, but he always has some excuse for not being intimate.
Tim is a nice, kind man, and I know he is not cheating on me, but I simply cannot live like this any longer. I feel as if I am living with a buddy instead of a husband. I am now in the process of moving back to my hometown. What do you think of all this? — Confused
Dear Confused: If Tim showed these traits while you were dating, we don't understand what you expected when you married him. But if not, it's possible he was looking for money, stability or someone to fill the role of "wife" so people would stop asking why he was single. Since you are packing, Tim should care enough to go for counseling with you. Otherwise, it seems you're better off without him.
Dear Annie: I have integrity, and I work hard, pay my bills and value my family and few friends. The problem is, in many ways, I am not smart. I try to make good decisions, but the ability to do so just isn't there.
When I make mistakes or do something stupid, I am embarrassed. I keep to myself due to previous rejections. People simply aren't interested in me. Counseling isn't the answer because I have a phobia about talking to professionals.
Do you have any advice on getting through life without beating yourself up every day for not being more intelligent? — Not So Smart
Dear Not: Plenty of brilliant people make poor decisions, and no one becomes your friend solely because you are smart. You sound like a perfectly normal, intelligent person who feels inadequate whenever you screw up. We all do. The difference is, you are so afraid of making a mistake that you undermine yourself and don't feel comfortable in your own skin. This fear and discomfort are what people respond to. Relax. No one gets it right all the time. The ability to make good choices is not magic. It's experience and the willingness to learn from your mistakes.
Dear Annie: I am an active, attractive 55-year-old widow and can tell you why "Alone in Casper" can't find a life partner just from the tone of his letter and the fact that he's been divorced twice. He sounds critical and controlling and expects his partner to be a cross between Pamela Anderson and Miss America. I've seen a bunch of guys like this, and they whine that there are "no decent women around." — Rockford, Ill.
Dear Rockford: It is not unusual for both men and women to have unrealistic expectations of the type of person they should attract. Unfortunately, it makes for a lot of unhappy people.
Dear Readers: Today is Mother-in-Law Day. Call yours and tell her how much you appreciate her. (We hope you do.)
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.