Ask Amy

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Amy Dickinson Con­tact Amy Dickinson via email,

Dear Amy: My life is lack­ing in love. I have felt empty in­side for many, many years. I have been mar­ried for a long time, but my wife is con­tent with our pla­tonic re­la­tion­ship.

Not only do we rarely touch, but she has lit­tle in­ter­est in me and my life. Be­fore we mar­ried, I had sev­eral failed re­la­tion­ships (they cheated on me). I also had a step­mother who was cold and un­car­ing; my real mother died when I was young.

As long as I can re­mem­ber, I’ve filled this void in my soul with pornog­ra­phy. Now, in ad­di­tion to porn, I meet women through on­line sites for body rubs, just so I can feel the touch of some­one and feel wanted for a few min­utes.

There are times I feel sui­ci­dal. Di­vorce is a last re­sort be­cause we have chil­dren (who are now adults). I see no so­lu­tion to my sit­u­a­tion and could use your ad­vice. — Lonely and Love­less

Dear Lonely: You paint a land­scape filled with sad­ness, and I am very sorry. I com­pletely un­der­stand the need for phys­i­cal touch and emo­tional nur­tur­ing, but I am urg­ing you to use some of the funds you spend on erotic mas­sage to see a ther­a­pist — prefer­ably a male coun­selor who spe­cial­izes in sex­ual dys­func­tion. You should also be screened for de­pres­sion. This could have a trans­for­ma­tive and last­ing im­pact on you.

I fail to see the rea­son­ing be­hind stay­ing in a love­less mar­riage when your off­spring are grown. I as­sume your chil­dren are some­what aware of your re­la­tion­ship with their mother; they might be relieved if you two de­cided to part.

I as­sume that your wife would also be relieved. It is im­pos­si­ble for her to con­nect sex­u­ally with some­one ad­dicted to pornog­ra­phy; this is an un­healthy sit­u­a­tion for both of you.

If you feel trapped in an es­ca­lat­ing cy­cle of porn use (and it sounds as if you do), many readers have rec­om­mended the sup­port group Sex­a­holics Anony­mous. The group has meet­ings in every state. Check for a meet­ing near you.

Dear Amy: I’m a hap­pily mar­ried woman, and I de­sign T-shirts as a hobby. It is not a full-time business, just a cre­ative thing I do for fun on the side. My friends, and some­times strangers, en­joy buy­ing my shirts.

Re­cently, I de­signed one that had a fem­i­nist mes­sage that sup­ported in­de­pen­dent women. I put this up on Face­book (like I al­ways do), and it got good feed­back. How­ever, my mother-in-law saw it and im­me­di­ately called my hus­band, ask­ing him what I meant by de­sign­ing the shirt and want­ing to know ex­actly what prob­lems we were hav­ing.

I didn’t mean the shirt as any sort of per­sonal mes­sage, but rather just my own sup­port of strong women. My hus­band and I are not hav­ing any prob­lems, so we laughed it off and as­sured my MIL that we were fine.

How­ever, I could not help but feel a bit irked that she would im­me­di­ately call and de­mand in­for­ma­tion in that man­ner. If we were ac­tu­ally hav­ing mar­i­tal prob­lems, I would want that to stay between the two of us, un­less we both de­cided to ask for out­side opin­ions/ad­vice. If this should ever hap­pen, what is the best way to tell my MIL to butt out un­til we ask for her in­put? — T-Shirted

Dear T-Shirted: There is a cer­tain ridicu­lous irony to your mother-in­law’s re­ac­tion to this. She ob­vi­ously feels that it is so ab­nor­mal to de­clare your­self to be a strong and in­de­pen­dent woman, that this very state­ment de­notes a prob­lem of some sort. And then, rather than ask the strong in­de­pen­dent woman about her in­tent, she asks the man!

You and your hus­band seem like a good team. If your mother-in-law over­steps in the fu­ture, your hus­band should re­as­sure her kindly, and then say, “Mom, I love you, but my mar­riage is my own business.”

Dear Amy: I smiled when I read the let­ter from “Tat­too Hater,” the mother who was of­fended by her mid­dle-aged daugh­ter’s tat­toos.

Just for that mother’s in­for­ma­tion, I am 75 and just got my first tat­too of a horse­head on my leg. My grand­son took me to the tat­too par­lor, and I love it! — No Re­grets Pat

Dear Pat: Rock on with your bad self !

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