Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married more than 40 years. We are retired, have no debts and are financially comfortable. We have a great family.
Due to age and medical conditions, my husband is almost completely impotent. But he won’t stop trying. I have done everything I can think of to discourage him. I dress modestly day and night. I rarely, if ever, let him see me undressed. I turn off any TV program that makes any reference to love or sex as soon as he comes into the room. I never participate in any pastime that he enjoys.
I always make sure I am reading or applying hand lotion when I come to bed. I push him away anytime he approaches me. I never respond to his inquiries as to why he is so repulsive to me or what he could do to make his approaches less objectionable. I don’t want it to be “better.” I want him to stop.
I suggested separate bedrooms, but he said, “Then move out.” In spite of all this, every six or eight weeks, he wants to grope me for half the night. He expects me to respond — even participate. When I don’t, he gets all upset, moody and sometimes terribly angry. I have normal, sexually oriented dreams, but I want him to leave me alone. What more can I do?
— Sick of It
Dear Sick: Do you object because your husband wears you out trying to have sex when he is not able? Or is it that you simply don’t want sex anymore? If the former, we think you should talk to his doctor about available treatments and consider that once “every six or eight weeks” could be something you lovingly tolerate.
If the latter, you won’t get much sympathy here. We know many women past menopause aren’t interested, but we believe intimacy is an important part of marriage, and when one partner makes unilateral decisions about sex, it leads to trouble. You are being unfair to your husband by dismissing his needs. And don’t kid yourself. Even after 40 years, being constantly rebuffed and denied can damage your marriage. Please remember how much you love your husband, and reconsider your attitude.
Dear Annie: My wife and I divorced after 25 years of marriage, and she moved to the East Coast. Her former best friend, “Karen,” with whom she no longer has contact, is also divorced and still lives in this area. I would like to ask Karen out, and I’m pretty sure she would accept. However, I am concerned about propriety, as our families were quite close when we were all married. We even vacationed together, although there was never anything inappropriate between Karen and me. What should I do?
— Sleepless in L.A.
Dear L.A.: If either of you has been divorced less than a year, any romantic involvement with Karen will set tongues wagging about what was going on during your respective marriages. If that kind of gossip doesn’t bother you, it certainly doesn’t bother us.
Dear Annie: You recently printed a letter from “Lonesome,” a 65-year-old single woman who was having difficulty making friends. Among other suggestions, you mentioned Elderhostel.
I just want to let you know that this organization now has a new name: Road Scholar. Aside from foreign travel, it also offers many interesting trips in the United States.
— Hanover, N.H.
Dear Hanover: Thank you for the correction. In 2009, Elderhostel changed its name to Road Scholar (roadscholar.org) and continues to offer educational travel opportunities for those over 55.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.