Dear Annie: Why do some people feel it is appropriate to discuss their dining companion's personal health business in public?
Recently, I witnessed someone being grilled about his current cancer treatment and felt sorry for him. It is invasive to ask about cancer surgeries, treatments, etc., in a public place. Some things are not appropriate to discuss at meals, and other diners do not need to know someone's private health issues.
If you must ask questions, be considerate and do it privately. -- D.
Dear D.: Thanks for reminding our readers that personal issues, particularly details about one's surgeries or treatments, should not be aired in public places, especially restaurants, where others are forced to listen in. Please, folks, be considerate of your dining companions and the people around you.
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been married for 35 years. We have had our ups and downs, but when it comes to our sex life, it's been mostly downs. Even though it was never exciting, it was not a deal breaker. But many times, sex has been nonexistent for months at a time.
I have tried everything to make things better, and for our "cuddle time" to be something to look forward to. I have suggested different positions, different locations and introduced "toys" into our lovemaking. This always helps for a brief time, and then things go back to the way they were. I recently read a book about sexual needs and encouraged my wife to read it in the hope that it would start a conversation. She didn't bother. When I tried to start that conversation, she shut down and told me she was brought up not to discuss sex, even with her partner.
To be honest, I have thought about a divorce. At 58, I am not too old to find someone else and have an enjoyable sex life. What holds me back is that my wife cannot support herself, and we also have an adult daughter with special needs.
I can't afford to see a counselor. She won't discuss it, and I find myself closing down when I'm around her. Do you have any advice? -- Lonely Husband
Dear Lonely: Your wife is in her 50s. She is likely undergoing hormonal changes that affect her libido. She is probably not as interested in sex as you are, and your attempts to spice things up only add pressure and resentment. You are too focused on sex. Do you help care for your adult daughter? Do you cook, clean and do laundry? Have you offered to rub her feet after a long day, without expecting sex in return? Have you given her a hug just because you love her? Do you do other things that create intimacy and affection -- loving conversations, dinner out, making her feel appreciated? It doesn't sound like it.
We agree that sex is an important part of marriage, and your wife should not shut you out. It also is not healthy that she refuses to discuss it, and you can suggest that she talk to her doctor. There are low-cost counseling options available for you, whether she goes or not. Try your clergyperson, United Way, online resources and any medical school psychology department.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.