DEAR ABBY: "Burt" and I have been married 14 years. We have two beautiful children -- a boy and a girl -- ages 8 and 11. Burt works in sales. I am a designer and run my business out of our home, so that I can be here when the children come home from school.
For the last couple of years, Burt has complained that the "spice" has gone out of our marriage. He did some Internet research and found a swingers group in our community. At first, he only did some chatting online, but now he wants us to go to one of their parties. I told him I'm against it, but he insists. The idea of exposing myself to strangers is mortifying. But the more I tell him no, the more insistent he becomes.
Should I agree to it to save our marriage? -- WAVERING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR WAVERING: No. If you do, the dynamics of your marriage will change forever -- and not for the better.
Great sex is all about great communication. If a dish isn't spicy enough, I see nothing to be gained by diluting it. To do something that makes you uncomfortable or is morally repugnant will not only not save your marriage, it could also be the straw that breaks the camel's back. A healthier solution for what ails your marriage would be to consult a sex therapist or a marriage counselor.
DEAR ABBY: My husband has Parkinson's disease with dementia. I have good friends who ask me to coffee or lunch to get me out of the house, but what I'd really like is if they'd ask my HUSBAND out to coffee or lunch.
Every hour I'm away, I worry about him. Plus, I have not been by myself in this house for eight years.
Please pass on a message to your readers. If you really want to help, offer to take out the ill person, and give the caregiver some quiet time. -- NEEDING A BREAK
DEAR NEEDING: To expect someone not trained in caring for a patient with dementia to take the person out into unfamiliar surroundings is asking a lot. It may be too much responsibility for your friends to assume.
A better solution would be to arrange for respite care for your husband. You could have your quiet time, or time alone in the house, by asking your husband's doctor which senior centers in your vicinity are equipped to provide safe activities for him on a regular basis. Either that, or contact Faith in Action at www.FaithinAction.org or (877) 324-8411. It's a national program that helps establish community programs providing volunteer care to neighbors with long-term health needs.
DEAR ABBY: I just returned from visiting my 26-year-old daughter, her 27-year-old live-in fiance and their 4-month-old twins. They live in Kansas, where they own their home, and both have good jobs.
During dinner Saturday night, my daughter asked me if I plan to pay for their wedding next June. Am I obligated to help them financially? -- THEY LIVE IN KANSAS
DEAR KANSAS: No, you are not. A wedding is a gift from the parent or parents. It is not, and should not be considered an obligation. Your daughter and her fiance are self-supporting and can pay for their own wedding. If you wish to contribute money toward their wedding, it would be a generous gift. But under no circumstances should you feel put on the spot to do so.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600