Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: I used to have cable TV, but my husband and I canceled it last year. We were spending a fortune on all these channels and not paying our other bills. Plus, it was making us couch potatoes. We feel good about our choice, but just the other day we were talking to some friends who thought we were crazy to be disconnected. I felt like they were judging us about it. They have deep pockets, and I guess it's no big deal to them that they have cable and everything else. How can we get our friends to understand our position? -- Disconnected, Racine, Wis.

DEAR DISCONNECTED: Honestly, it doesn't matter what your friends think. Believe it or not, many people do not have cable TV or satellite TV or other kinds of technology -- for a host of reasons. Whether the choice is based on economics or lifestyle, not everyone is as engaged with technology as others. You do not need to feel ashamed. Instead, embrace your choices. Be confident in them. You have to make choices that are smart for you. The same is true for your friends. By the way, even people with deep pockets make choices similar to yours. Additionally, if you want to watch cable channels on occasion, chances are you can find your show of choice online. If you don't have a computer, you can watch at the library.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am interested in having an open relationship with my husband. We have been married for 10 years, and it's boring now. Some of our other friends have told me that they have an open marriage -- basically that they are swingers -- and they seem so happy. It's almost like they are newlyweds again. I haven't suggested it to my husband yet, but I think he might consider it. The only reason why he might not is that he is pretty religious. I understand that, but I need something to change.

If we both participated in an open marriage, it might help us to like each other more. I was invited to a party where people who do this get together, and I really want to go. How can I bring up the subject to him? -- On the Brink, Syracuse, N.Y.

DEAR ON THE BRINK: This is no small consideration. One of the covenants of marriage is fidelity as it relates to intimacy. For you to want to open your marriage to multiple intimate partners is a huge thing to ask. To request it of a religious man raises the stakes even higher.

If your reason for considering this is truly boredom, why not try something else first? Plan a vacation. Go somewhere with your husband that you both will enjoy. Tell your husband that you want to rekindle the romance in your marriage. Talk to him about your concerns and tell him about your idea. Suggest that you go to counseling to help you figure out how to strengthen your marriage. But my vote regarding welcoming others into your marriage bed is no. Bad idea.