DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 13 years to a good guy who is a great dad. We have two boys, ages 9 and 11. The problem is, we don't communicate. We hardly have sex and we don't get along at all.
I feel like I have sacrificed physical and emotional intimacy so my kids can have both parents in their lives full-time. When I think of writing down my husband's attributes, all I can think of is that he's a good dad, good worker and helps out around the house. But I have no problem coming up with a list of bad things.
Am I selfish? Should I just smother my emotions and go on like I have been all these years? -- UNFULFILLED IN GEORGIA
DEAR UNFULFILLED: It's not selfish to want emotional and physical intimacy with another person. It's normal, and your husband may miss it, too.
There's an alternative to ending your marriage, and that is fighting to save it. It would require effort from both of you and the services of a licensed marriage counselor. However, if it works, I know you'll thank me. And if it doesn't, at least you will know you tried. Why not suggest to your husband that you make it your first New Year's resolution?
DEAR ABBY: Right now I'm so tired I can hardly write this letter asking for the advice I need. I work the 11 p.m.-7 a.m. shift at a prison. Because I'm home during the day, everyone assumes I am available to socialize. How do I get through to them that I sleep during the day and work at night? A lot of people -- including my husband -- will say to me, "What? You're not up yet?" when I have been asleep for only three hours.
I have thought about calling these people from work at 2 a.m. asking, "Aren't you up yet?" Then they might get the picture. What do you think? -- WORKING A 40-HOUR WEEK AT AGE 73
DEAR WORKING: The insensitivity of the folks in your circle is surprising. And as for your husband, did you marry someone who is sadistic or selfish? Tell him that if he wants to enjoy the benefits of your paycheck, he will have to make sure you get enough sleep to earn one.
When people call or come by and disturb your rest, tell them plainly you do not want to be disturbed before a certain time. Then turn off your phone, let callers leave messages on your voicemail and return them when you're fully awake. As to those who still drop by -- by all means call them at 2 a.m.
DEAR ABBY: Christmas is fast approaching. Our family get-together consists of a crazy celebration where we draw numbers and choose a gift in numerical order. If we want, we can choose a gift that someone already has.
I'd like your opinion on re-gifting. Each year some family members just bring the gift they received last year, rewrapped. I think if someone doesn't care enough to shop for a $20 gift for a family exchange, it takes away from the idea of gift-giving. What do you think? -- JIM IN AMARILLO, TEXAS
DEAR JIM: I think you should find your sense of humor where you misplaced it, and stop looking a gift horse in the mouth. The kind of party you describe is done for laughs, and none of the gifts is selected with one specific person in mind if it can be claimed by another.
TO MY JEWISH READERS: Tonight at sundown the eight days of Hanukkah begin. Happy Hanukkah, everyone! May all of you enjoy a joyous festival of lights.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)