DEAR ABBY: The wedding night I had dreamed about forever was supposed to be the most romantic and amazing of my life with the one person I can't live without. Instead, it was the most humiliating experience I have ever had. I dressed in a beautiful negligee, and my husband didn't even take a second look at me. I was so embarrassed, I rolled over and pretended to fall asleep. That was my big night, the one night I'll never get again.
This same man brags about the sexual encounters he had with his ex-wife, cyber sex and his 13-hour sexathon. When I try to touch him, he seems repulsed and pulls away. My heart can't take the never-ending rejection and the nights of crying because I don't know what I have done wrong.
The sad thing is, I'm pretty sure he has never even noticed. Even an intimate kiss would be enough for me now. I dream of a man who loves me so much he stares at me from across the room, who can't wait to get his hands on me even if it's just for a second. Unfortunately, that's not my marriage. Don't I deserve happiness? And will this ever change? -- UNTOUCHED IN TEXAS
DEAR UNTOUCHED: Of course you deserve happiness. But nothing will change until you start asking questions and demand answers. The only thing you have done "wrong" is to have tolerated the status quo.
Has it occurred to you that your husband has been lying to you about his sexual exploits? He may be impotent, gay, or so hooked on cyber porn that there is nothing left for you. Make it your business to find out. Ask him. And if he isn't forthcoming, talk with his ex-wife. If your marriage was never consummated, you may be entitled to an annulment.
DEAR ABBY: Five years ago I was told by a fertility doctor that I can't have children. Having a husband, children and a home in which we can build memories and traditions were the only things I ever wanted in life.
Since then I have tried to find meaning in life and things to fill the huge void that would have been filled by my dreams. I have not been successful. I have been on antidepressants, gone to counseling, volunteered, held a job, traveled, and confided in loved ones who, frankly, don't want to hear about it any longer (and I don't blame them). But I still feel completely empty.
There isn't anything I look forward to in life. (I'm 45, divorced, most of my family has passed on, and I am an atheist.) I don't know what else to do or where else to turn. Can you help me? -- BROKEN RECORD
DEAR BROKEN: What immediately comes to mind is that feeling as you do about children, you might make a terrific foster parent or adoptive parent to an older child. There are many in the system who need loving, supportive homes.
However, if that doesn't work for you, consider looking into volunteering to become a court-appointed advocate for abused and neglected children through a program called CASA. CASA volunteers make sure these vulnerable children don't get lost in the legal system, and you might find that to be rewarding. You'll find more information about this at casaforchildren.org.
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.)