Clyde not hav­ing a Bonny time in the bed­room

Cape Breton Post - - HEALTH/ADVICE - An­nie’s Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­, or write to: An­nie’s Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 737 3rd Street, Her­mosa Beach, CA

Dear An­nie: I am 62 years old and have been mar­ried to "Clyde" for 12 years. We do not have a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship. He prefers to sleep on the sofa and al­ways has, say­ing it’s more com­fort­able.

Clyde had a hor­ri­ble child­hood. He told me that his mother had sex with var­i­ous men in his pres­ence. On the week­ends, he would stay with his pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents, where he wit­nessed his un­cle abus­ing his aunt. His grand­mother is the only one who showed him any love, and while there, he slept on the sofa.

Prior to meet­ing my hus­band, I con­tracted her­pes. I am al­ler­gic to la­tex so sex is al­ways a risk. He knew this prior to our mar­riage and things were OK then. But af­ter we mar­ried, sex be­came in­fre­quent, partly due comes so an­gry that I once put my feel­ings in a let­ter. He tore it up with­out read­ing it. Any ad­vice? — Miss­ing My Hus­band

Dear Miss­ing: Clyde’s back­ground in­di­cates a lot of un­re­solved is­sues about sex and in­ti­macy, but if he re­fuses to ad­dress them, there is lit­tle you can do to change how he re­sponds. How­ever, you can get coun­sel­ing for your­self. A good coun­selor will help you fo­cus on what’s im­por­tant to you and de­cide what is best for you, in­clud­ing ways to cope with the sit­u­a­tion you have with less frus­tra­tion.

Dear An­nie: "Good Daugh­ter" said her mother end­lessly stole the lime­light. I’ve ob­served the ex­act same be­hav­ior in both my hus­band’s mother and mine, and it seems to have started in their 70s. I won­dered if it had to do with them fight­ing the feel­ing of be­ing in­vis­i­ble or ir­rel­e­vant in their fam­i­lies’ lives.

As I tran­si­tion into the empty-nest phase of life, I’m be­gin­ning to get a glimpse of what it feels like to go from be­ing the cen­ter (and co­or­di­na­tor) of all fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties into a much less ac­tive role in my kids’ lives, and I’m sure it will be even more pro­nounced over time.

We all need to feel needed. In our younger years, we race through our busy lives. Once we reach our se­nior years, all of these con­nec­tions and obli­ga­tions fade. We need oth­ers to val­i­date that we still mat­ter. While this doesn’t make it any more pleas­ant to ob­serve the re­di­rect­ion of ev­ery con­ver­sa­tion, a lit­tle per­spec­tive might en­cour­age more tol­er­ance. — Pa­tient Daugh­ter

Dear Pa­tient: While we aren’t sure that ap­plies to all cases (many peo­ple are self-ab­sorbed from child­hood on), we agree that the sense that one is in­vis­i­ble and unim­por­tant can push peo­ple to as­sert them­selves this way. Thank you for pro­vid­ing a plea for un­der­stand­ing.

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