Dear John: I found out recently that my husband of 12 months isn't all that turned on by kissing. This isn't about bad breath because we've discussed that. I felt his kisses were a bit reserved while we were dating, but I thought over time they would become more passionate as we got closer and closer in our relationship. When that didn't happen, I started telling him what I wanted and asking him why he wouldn't kiss me passionately. I get little pecks from him, nothing more. As a result, we don't ever just make out, something that I really miss from past relationships.
I have even tried to gently suggest ways we could improve our kissing. He tries for a little while, but then he goes back to his old ways of short little pecks that leave me, well, rather uninspired. Lately I've been fantasizing about kissing other men because I miss it so much. I don't fantasize about people I know, but celebrities instead or I make up a phantom guy in my mind because it feels safe. But now I'm getting worried that I might act on my fantasies. I love my husband. I'm not sure how to deal with this anymore. And I don't want to do something stupid that will jeopardize our marriage. How do I talk to my husband about this when he seems so unwilling? And if everything else in our relationship is really good, am I making too much of this one thing that's missing? —Kissless, in Boulder, Colo.
Dear Kissless: As long as you don't act on your fantasies, you won't jeopardize your marriage. Consider this: Many men emulate their role models. It is possible that in the home your husband was raised, his parents were not demonstrative in their affections for each other or their children. From what you described, I'd say you're on the right track.
To show him that your passion play can be innovative, fun and exciting for him, play a "mirror game," in which he mirrors what you do to him. Try to engage all of his senses: touch, taste, smell, hearing and seeing. Be playful with your tongue and respond when he is playful with his. By introducing him to new ways of kissing, you'll see that it's never too late to be a better lover.
Dear John: My fiance's proposal came with one of the gaudiest engagement rings I've ever seen. He had designed it himself, with the help of a jeweler who must have laughed all the way to the bank. When people ask to see the ring, their reaction is a gulp. I feel as if I'm lugging around a bowling ball. Since it was custom-made, there's no way I can return it. And, of course, I don't want to hurt my fiance's feelings. —Gold Cross to Bear, in San Antonio, Tex.
Dear Gold: A strong marriage is based upon the freedom to speak your mind and follow your heart. If you are not free to share your feelings with your partner, you will eventually grow to resent him.
When breaking the news to him, remember that it's not what you say, but how you say it. Here's one way to broach the subject: "Honey, you know that I love and cherish you, and I know you have the biggest heart in the whole world. But I have something to say that I'm afraid may hurt your feelings." A diamond might be forever, but the setting into which it is put doesn't have to be. While he may be initially upset, once he hears what you have to say, he will no doubt understand that it's very important that both of you are happy with the ring, and he will allow you to make it your own.
2012 John Gray's Mars Venus Advice. Distributed by Creators Syndicate. John Gray is the author of "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus." If you have a question, write John in care of this newspaper, or by email at: www.marsvenus.com. All questions are kept anonymous, and will be paraphrased.