DEAR ABBY: "Barney" and I are in our 40s and have been married two years. Barney is a neatnik. His nighttime ritual of cleaning up before bed takes an hour or more. Before we can be intimate, this ritual must be performed, which rules out anything in the afternoon or that's spontaneous.
Barney is also a night owl. Sometimes he goes straight from the shower to the Internet or reading, ignoring sex altogether, even if we planned and talked about it while getting ready to clean up for the night.
I have fallen asleep many nights waiting for him, only to awaken hours later and see he's still not beside me. When we discuss it later, he says it's a selfish habit he "got away with" in his last marriage. He enjoys sex but becomes easily distracted.
Should we seek counseling for this or try something else? Barney displays all the signs of ADD and has since his childhood days. -- FRUSTRATED IN CLINTON, IOWA
DEAR FRUSTRATED: By all means seek counseling. The ritual you described could be a symptom of a disorder, or your husband may have a very weak sex drive. However, one thing is clear: If Barney isn't in bed with you, it's because he'd rather be elsewhere.
For your sake, the sooner you get some straight answers the better you'll be. His comment about "getting away with it" tells me he knows what he's doing wasn't fair to his last wife, and it isn't fair to you.
DEAR ABBY: For the last 10 years, my friends and I have gotten together on a fairly regular basis. We always bring potluck to share. While "Marcia" and I were assembling a meal, "Cindy" would contribute a bag of chips. We finally told her we thought the offerings were unequal, so she shaped up.
We recently celebrated my birthday at my house, and Cindy "surprised" me with a beautiful blueberry crumble cake (her specialty). I was delighted and told her I had been craving that particular treat.
As the afternoon wore on, I asked if we should bring out the dessert, but she said she wanted to "wait a while." A half-hour later, she announced she had to leave and wanted to take the cake with her. (We often take leftovers home, but her dessert hadn't even made it to the table.) When I said, "But we have no other dessert!" she said she had company coming and needed to take it with her. Then she put it in the container she had brought it in and left.
Cindy is a close friend, and Marcia and I have put up with some of her quirks. But I'm thinking about confronting her about this latest gaffe because I'm afraid if I don't, my resentment will continue to build and our friendship will "crumble." Am I being petty? -- DESERTED DESSERT LOVER
DEAR D.D.L.: Petty? I don't think so. What she did took the cake -- and I'm not talking about pastry.
I don't know what qualities you look for in a close friend, but Cindy appears to be unusually self-centered. What she said was not only rude, but showed a distinct lack of empathy for your feelings.
By all means, clear the air, but don't count on Cindy to change. In fact, don't count on her for anything.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)