Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Dear Annie: My husband and I are in our mid-60s, married 42 years. Our marriage hasn’t been great, but it’s also not horrible.
About 15 years ago, my husband developed erectile dysfunction and stopped wanting sex. I urged him to talk to his doctor, which he did. The doctor gave him some pills, but he refused to try them. I have tried other remedies on my own, but nothing has helped.
I admit I am not beautiful and I also am overweight. Still, I’ve always been this way. My husband never cuddles up to me in bed like he used to. He never puts his arms around me, kisses me or shows any affection whatsoever. And he refuses to discuss it.
I feel like I’m living with my brother. Our anniversaries come and go with no celebration of any kind. Every little thing he does seems to irritate me and I can barely speak to him. Of course, when I do, he doesn’t listen. Sometimes he actually walks away while I’m talking. I don’t know what to do anymore. Can you help?
— Tired of It All
Dear Tired: A low testosterone count could be responsible not only for a lack of interest in sex, but for depression, as well. This is fairly common and might be the source of your husband’s unwillingness to work on the problem. Ask him to go back to his doctor and get tested. It could make a world of difference to him, and it would help your marriage, as well.
Dear Annie: Ever since my husband and I moved to a resort area, we have enjoyed many family gatherings at our house. These were invited guests at times that suited our schedules. Lately, however, the family seems to expect our house to be a spontaneous crash pad because we have “the most accommodating space.”
The truth is, almost every visit has become a financial burden and a physically taxing occasion, especially when they linger for days, sometimes weeks. Our utility bills skyrocket, the food costs are insurmountable and this doesn’t include the unrelenting domestic chores with little or no help. During their stay, our house looks ransacked, with carpet stains, damaged furniture and tons of laundry.
These are all grown, financially secure, professional adults. My husband I have tried tactfully refusing them, suggesting other places, and designating meals and tasks, all of which were basically ineffective. Telling them we have other plans is not a deterrent. Our home has turned into a hotel and storage facility. We love them, but we are at our wits’ end. Any thoughts?
— Ocean City, Md.
Dear Ocean City: You are going to have to be more firm and consistent. Say, “Sorry, you cannot stay here.” Don’t let them in the door. Don’t give them keys. When they complain, tell them point blank that you love them, but people leave the house a mess, no one contributes a thing, it strains your finances and you’ve had enough. You will invite them when you are ready to have company. Period. They may be upset, but they will only stop taking advantage of you when you insist on it.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Thrown for a Loop,” the wife whose husband was meeting a former co-worker for lunch. She requested a separation since he refused to stop these meetings. Although he should not be keeping these meetings a secret, she should not assume her husband is having an affair.
I am a single woman with many married male friends. There are no affairs. I treasure these friendships and appreciate the wives who are not suspicious of us. However, if a wife is uncomfortable with her husband meeting me for lunch, she should join us. I would welcome her company and hopefully make an additional friend.
— Monrovia, Calif.
Dear Monrovia: We heard from a great many women, and most of them were furious. We agree that including the wife is a great idea.