Dear Annie: My friend “Don” has spent a few days with me at the family beach house the past three summers in a row. The second year, he hinted about going again and was very pleased when I asked him back. But then he started referring to “his room” at the beach house and making regular comments about “next year” in a way that assumed it was his regular vacation spot.
I thought he was being a little presumptuous, but didn’t address it. Last week, I told Don that I wanted someone else to accompany me to the summerhouse this time. But he still acts as if he should be invited, too. I’m a little irritated and have avoided talking about it. Now, I’m not sure I want him to come with me ever again. It’s awkward. Any suggestions?
Dear Annoyed: You need to be more honest and direct with Don, although you don’t have to be impolite. Simply say, “It’s been great having you with me the past three summers, but it’s time for someone else to enjoy the place. I’m taking ‘Harold’ this year. Maybe I can have you join me again sometime in the future.” If he becomes angry or upset, you don’t need to reply in kind. Simply repeat that you are sorry you can’t have him join you. “Sometime in the future” could be very distant indeed.
Dear Annie: I have been married to “Molly” for 11 years. We have three wonderful children. Both of us have professional careers and make a good living. We are fortunate to have a nice lifestyle.
The problem: Our sex life is on life support. Molly says she is tired and has been to the doctor at least twice for her exhaustion. But she has the energy to go running five miles a day, just not enough energy for sex.
I question her faithfulness and am not sure how long I can stay in this relationship if things don’t improve. We are currently in counseling, but there has been no change. I have spoken with Molly numerous times about our lack of intimacy, to no avail. I need your help.
— Searching for Answers
Dear Searching: If you’re asking whether Molly is running five miles to another man, we cannot answer that. It’s certainly possible. But it is equally possible that, with three children under the age of 11, she is tired of being “mom” and “wife” and wants to have something she does solely for herself.
Women and their sex drives can be complicated. Has she asked her doctor about hormonal imbalances? Is her running interfering physiologically? Do you help her out with an equal effort in child care and housework? Do you make plans to take her out for a romantic evening now and then, without expectation of sex? Does she know that you appreciate her for more than what she adds to the bedroom or the bank account? If you do these things and it doesn’t help, please ask your counselor to specifically address the lack of intimacy. Molly needs to explain herself.
Dear Annie: “A Ring on It” asked who to invite to his commitment ceremony and was especially concerned about his father, who is unaware that he is gay.
I had a gay commitment ceremony with my partner in 1995. My partner was out to everyone, so it was easy for him. I had compartmentalized my life as to who knew and didn’t know. I decided to invite family members, work associates and friends to celebrate my coming out, as well my commitment to another person. I expected all sorts of negative responses, but received total support.
A girl in my office had that “no wonder I wouldn’t date her” moment. My boss got over his initial misgivings. Everyone sang, danced and toasted our event. My life has been made easier by admitting who I am.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. 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.
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