DEAR ABBY: Six years ago, my husband of 20 years was in a serious accident. He was placed on disability because of it. Because of the accident, he can't perform sexually because his "goods" don't work.
I am many years younger than he is and still in my prime. I need and want the cuddling and intimacy I'm not getting and haven't gotten for years. I have thought about finding a friend with benefits, but that's risky. I can't talk to him because he flips out and says, "Then leave!"
I feel our marriage has become just a living arrangement. Talking to a counselor or a doctor is out because he will refuse. Please help. -- LOST AND LONELY
DEAR LOST AND LONELY: Your marriage doesn't have to be "just a living arrangement." Although sex may no longer be possible with your husband, there's no reason why there can't be cuddling, intimacy and affection. Talking to a licensed marriage and family therapist will be helpful for you, whether or not your husband agrees to go with you.
DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Cheryl," and I have been married for 47 years. We are both over 70 and retired. Cheryl is a wonderful mother, grandmother, cook and more. We love to travel, dance, go to movies and play with our grandchildren.
The issue is, she's very picky with the housekeeping and refuses to hire any help because she says nobody can do the job she does. I feel it's affecting our marriage because after she spends a full day once a week cleaning, she ends up exhausted and in a bad mood. I also feel guilty while she's doing all that work.
I don't think either one of us should have to do it. We are well-off and can easily pay someone to come for a full day of cleaning once a week. I keep telling her, to no avail, that she can't keep doing it forever. I welcome your suggestions. -- NEEDING HELP IN TEXAS
DEAR NEEDING HELP: Cheryl may think what she's doing is being a good old-fashioned housewife. Enlighten her to the fact that you feel her compulsiveness is detrimental to your marriage. Try this: Tell her again you want her to give a housekeeper a chance. Repeat that you can afford it. Explain that if she's not satisfied after the person has cleaned, you won't argue if she puts the "finishing touches" on what the cleaner may have missed. If you hire someone efficient, there won't be a lot left for her to do, and she won't be exhausted.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Troy," takes it as a personal offense that I won't share a hotel room with him and his younger son (age 15) when we go out of town to see his older son play college sports. Troy wants me to go to all of the games, but I have said I will only go when it's the 15-year-old's weekend to be at his mom's (Troy's two sons have different mothers).
I am extremely uncomfortable sharing the same hotel room, and Troy refuses to get separate rooms. Do you agree that I'm unreasonable? -- "BAD SPORT" IN OHIO
DEAR "BAD SPORT": No, I do not. You should not be talked into doing anything that makes you uncomfortable, so stick to your guns.
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.)