DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for years. We married young, and I'm the only man she has been with. Although we seem to have a good sex life, she's now saying she wants more. She wants to experiment and is suggesting we try a "swinging" lifestyle -- a threesome or foursome -- swapping partners.
I think she wants to experience a stronger, more physically attractive man. I'm not against it. I fantasize about watching her with another man, and it could be exciting to make love with other women. However, my question to you and your readers is, does this lifestyle enhance a marriage or does it usually lead to severe marriage issues? -- CONSIDERING IT IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR CONSIDERING IT: Depending upon the people involved, the swinging lifestyle can either enhance or destroy a marriage. If the couple is honest with each other from the beginning, establishes firm ground rules and adheres to them, it won't hurt the marriage. However, if one partner feels coerced into participating, it can be destructive, which is why I do not recommend it.
DEAR ABBY: One of my very close friends self-harms. She constantly slits her wrists and forearms. I desperately want her to stop, but I don't know how to convince her not to hurt herself.
I would talk to her parents about it, but she doesn't feel comfortable around her dad, and her mom is part of the reason she self-harms. She had a therapist she could talk to, but not anymore.
I want her to feel loved, but so far, all I've been doing to help is listen when she talks. She needs to be able to see herself as others do. What can I do to help her? I don't want to sit idle while she struggles. -- GOOD FRIEND IN KANSAS
DEAR GOOD FRIEND: You are a caring person, but your friend has serious emotional problems you don't have the training or experience to handle. She will need professional help to get to the root of her emotional pain before she can stop cutting.
Because she no longer has a therapist and her parents are part of the problem, tell a counselor at school that your friend is self-harming. Perhaps there can be an intervention if her problem is approached that way.
DEAR ABBY: I have been married forever to a very demanding and controlling man. We are older now, so, without consulting me, he bought cemetery plots for us. The problem is, I'm scared to death of cemeteries and always have been. I prefer to be cremated and have my ashes scattered over places I love.
One of my kids is OK with it; the other isn't. How can I make sure my wishes will be respected? -- GOING OUT MY WAY
DEAR G.O.M.W.: It appears that one of your kids takes after their father. If your husband dies first, your problem will be solved because your wishes will prevail.
Talk with an attorney who specializes in estate planning about putting language in your will that specifies that if you aren't cremated and scattered as you wish to be, the person responsible will receive no more than $1. Then choose an executor you can trust, and when the time comes, rest in peace.
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