DEAR ABBY: "Wilbur" and I have been together for 25 years, married for nine. During that time we have been through almost everything.
Abby, I am disappointed in the man Wilbur has turned out to be. He does nothing around the house. He does hold a job, but that's the beginning and the end of it. On top of that, Wilbur shows me no affection. He doesn't hug or kiss me, and he sleeps with a pillow between us. I realize he was never very lovey-dovey, but now there is no affection at all.
I dream about being close to a man, having a companion with whom to enjoy things in life -- simple things like going for coffee together after walking through a flea market holding hands.
Our lives have been intertwined for a quarter of a century. I feel there's nowhere for me to go. How does someone in my situation find happiness? -- DISILLUSIONED IN MILFORD, CONN.
DEAR DISILLUSIONED: You and Wilbur may have been together for 25 years, but it appears you parted ways a long time ago. In order for there to be sex and affection, there has to be some sort of intimacy -- and by that, I mean communication.
I suggest you begin by asking Wilbur what has happened to your relationship. If he's willing to talk, with the help of a marriage counselor you may be able to fix what has gone wrong. I can't promise you passion, but at least you won't be acting like cellmates.
If Wilbur is unwilling to cooperate, then the time has come to ask yourself if this is how you want to spend the rest of your life. Are you better off with him or without him? If you decide to stick it out because you "have nowhere to go," you may have to do a lot of sublimating. Spend as much time as you can with people (or animals) that will return the warmth you crave.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a single mom with four kids. My oldest son is dating a sweet girl I'll call "Renee." The problem is she's always at my house. She's here when I return from work in the evenings and every weekend.
While I don't mind Renee's presence, I am finding it difficult to constantly feed her. I can no longer take my children out to eat without offering to include her, and she always accepts. When I grocery shop, I am now shopping for five kids instead of just my four.
How do I handle this without hurt feelings? Renee's family has very little money, and sometimes there's not much food in their house. Frankly, I feel sorry for her, but I'm struggling to feed my own kids on my salary. I know the lack of food at Renee's house isn't my problem, and I feel horrible for thinking the way I do. Please help. -- STRETCHED TO THE LIMIT IN ILLINOIS
DEAR STRETCHED: Talk to your son, specifically about your budget. It will then be up to him to set some limits with his girlfriend. Frankly, the fact that the two of them are together every night and every weekend concerns me, because too much alone time could lead to yet another mouth to feed.
Because food is a problem at Renee's house, it would be a kindness to speak to Renee's mother about seeking aid for dependent children to be sure they have adequate nutrition. The place for her to start would be the county department of social services to see if they qualify.
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 $6 (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