Dear Annie: My 20-year-old son joined the Army when he was 18. At his first duty station, he caught his barracks roommate, whom he thought was his best friend, stealing from him. My son felt betrayed and began isolating himself from his peers.
He recently had a permanent change of duty station, and I am concerned that even with this fresh start he is not making friends. He was always a fun-loving, sociable and adventurous teen with lots of friends. Now he locks himself in his barracks room at the end of each workday.
I know he is lonely, but he is hiding it from his peers, most of whom are much older than he is and married with families. They only see him at work, and I’m sure they have no idea that he is struggling personally. He gets angry when I encourage him to reach out to people and would be very upset if I tried to intervene. He lives on the opposite side of the country. I want to help him, but I don’t know how.
— Proud and Loving Mom of a Soldier
Dear Mom: When someone betrays you as this roommate did, it can be devastating, not only because you lose a friend, but because it makes you question your own judgment. Your son undoubtedly feels he cannot trust himself to find a friend worthy of the title, so he isolates himself as a form of self-protection. In the military, it is crucial to know that others have your back. And even in civilian life, isolation is a dismal solution. Every relationship includes the risk of being hurt. Please urge your son to talk to one of the counselors on base. He needs to open himself up to friendship again.
Dear Annie: I love my husband, and he loves me. We have been married for 30 years. Our sex life has diminished. He would not believe me if I told him I think about sex all the time. He also listens impatiently. I wait for a time when he is not watching TV or doing a chore to talk with him, but it seems there is never a good time.
What he and most men should remember is that for women conversation is foreplay. If I don’t think you like me, why would I dress sexy for you? It seems pointless.
My husband doesn’t realize how much it appears that he does not enjoy having me around. When I mentioned it, he looked at me like I was crazy. I think he doesn’t like seeing the “old” me. But I am still me. My hair may be gray, and I have some wrinkles and bumps, but I exercise every day and watch what I eat. My shape has changed over the years, but I am still fairly attractive.
Guys, understand that we all get older. Your wife changes, but so do you. Please see her for the vibrant, sexy woman she is within. And if you love her, you must like her, too. That means being interested and enjoying her company.
Dear Sad: You are absolutely right. But it’s also possible that your husband is having issues of his own. Maybe he’s chronically tired or worried that you won’t be interested in him in bed. Suggest he see his doctor for a checkup. Then tell him what you need to make you both happy, instead of asking whether he’s tired of you.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Staying Classy,” the woman who doesn’t know how to respond when people comment on her large breasts.
I am a tall, skinny man and was always teased about my large feet until I started using this comeback: “Yes, they are almost as big as your mouth.” Perhaps that would help “Staying Classy.”
— Hereford, Ariz.
Dear Hereford: Maybe, but then she’d have to change her signature.
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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