DEAR ABBY: I am a 24-year-old man with a good job, a good relationship, a level head on my shoulders and a great family. Life has had its ups and downs, but I have always been optimistic and appreciative of my blessings.
My issue is with me. After 10 months or so of dating a woman, I always lose my physical attraction to her. It has been my downfall in both of my previous relationships. My current relationship is with a woman I should marry. She's gorgeous, intelligent, and we have an incredible level of communication. I could not imagine a better partner. But my lack of desire to have a constant physical relationship is driving her away.
I occasionally initiate, but I'm usually not in the mood. I'd be happy with every week or every other week, but I'm only 24. Is this crazy? I know I'm making her feel unwanted, and it has become a sensitive subject for me.
Is this a sign that I'm not supposed to be in this relationship? Other women excite me, but I have no desire to be with someone else. What are your thoughts on this? -- CONFUSED IN THE SOUTH
DEAR CONFUSED: Talk about this with your doctor and have your hormone levels checked. If they are where they should be, it may be that you simply have a low sex drive. Either that, or you crave what no one woman can give any man, and that's variety.
DEAR ABBY: Last year I lost someone very dear to me, my 5-year-old brother. I never knew a child who died before, but when it's your little brother it makes it worse.
The thing is, I'm the oldest and I have always tried to hide my emotions. I try to act like everything is OK because I don't want people to know I'm falling apart. It's bad enough for my mom and my grandparents. I don't want to make it worse.
People say God only gives you what you can handle, but how are you supposed to handle an innocent child's death? -- GRIEVING IN VIRGINIA
DEAR GRIEVING: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. A healthy way to deal with the emotions you are experiencing is to talk about them. Ideally, it would be with your parents. However, because you're afraid it will be too painful for them, you need to find another adult with whom you can vent.
It is important to let the feelings you're bottling up come out because they are normal. Releasing them will help ease your pain. A counselor at school can help, or if you'd be more comfortable with someone else, talk to your clergyperson.
DEAR ABBY: You frequently recommend that readers seek therapy. I've been in therapy for eight years and see very little progress. Do you have any statistics that prove how helpful therapy actually is? -- SKEPTICAL IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR SKEPTICAL: I don't have any statistics -- but I do have some advice for you: Change therapists! After eight years and little progress, you're with the wrong person.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)