Dear Annie: I've been living with "Marcus" for two years, and we've known each other for twice that long. We are both in our late 40s. Soon after we moved in together, Marcus became seriously ill. We've been through five invasive surgeries, and there may be more.
The most serious illness seems to be under control, but now other debilitating health issues are popping up on the horizon, and I just don't know what to do. Part of me wants desperately to leave, yet I feel incredibly guilty for even thinking of it.
We don't fight, and we have our good moments. I still am attracted to him, but there is absolutely no sex unless I initiate it — which I've stopped doing because he always has discomfort or pain. We sometimes talk about it, and he says, "You didn't sign up for this. Why are you still here?"
Marcus spoke to his doctor about the lack of desire, some of which may be attributed to painkillers, but they have no resolution. I've lost weight, take good care of myself and dress nicely — still nothing. He says, "It's not you, it's me."
I feel shallow for missing sex so much, but I honestly can't imagine living the rest of my life without it. I suggested counseling, with or without me, but Marcus refused. When he dismisses suggestions to work on us, I end up feeling more like a nurse than a lover. And the guilt is eating me up. What can I do? — Faith
Dear Faith: Marcus has serious health issues, and that, plus medication, is undoubtedly what is causing his lack of desire. It isn't anything you are doing. And he, too, feels guilt, because his illness prevents you from having the relationship you envisioned. He may have decided against counseling so that you will have a reason to leave him. Please know that your feelings are not unusual. Only you can decide whether or not you love him enough to see him through this, with or without sex. Counseling will help you, even if Marcus chooses not to go.
Dear Annie: I was diagnosed with epilepsy three years ago, but had milder forms of seizures that went undiagnosed for 23 years. I am on medications that interfere with relationships at home and work.
Of all the major chronic medical conditions, epilepsy is surely one of the least understood. Seizures are unpredictable electrical disturbances in the brain that affect awareness, movement and sensation. Epilepsy is not contagious, it is not a mental illness, and it is not mental retardation.
There are more than 40 types of epilepsy that affect more than three million people in the U.S. and 65 million worldwide. The Epilepsy Foundation has information to help raise awareness. Please get the word out. — Can't Drive but Can Text
Dear Can't Drive: Thank you for giving us the opportunity. National Epilepsy Awareness Month was in November, but awareness is needed all year round. We hope our readers will check out the Epilepsy Foundation at epilepsy.com and find out how they can help.
Dear Annie: I have been following all of the opinions about blowing one's nose at the dinner table.
Those who are offended by the act, please be careful visiting New Mexico. If you want to enjoy your stay, you must, of course, try our well-known and traditional green chili (or at Christmastime, green and red chili). This food is likely to cause anyone's nose to drip, and you can see an abundance of tissues flying about at any good restaurant, without any complaints. — Tolerant in the Land of Enchantment
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.