DEAR ANNIE: Why is it that I know six women who are divorcing their husbands? Why are there so many middle-aged men newly divorced? Why does it take a divorce to wake guys up?
I’m 47 and have been married to my husband for almost 25 years. He is a good dad. He can fix almost anything. But the older he gets the more he is happy to sit on the couch and let life go by while I take care of everything. I’m tired of it. Romance is zero. Women like some romance before sex. When I exaggerate my feelings about this, he will question me, but won’t reciprocate.
It’s so hard to carry the burden of this relationship alone. What does this teach our children about the role of a husband? — Feeling Unappreciated and Unloved
DEAR FEELING: We’re not sure what you mean by “exaggerate your feelings.” Do you actually point-blank tell him what you want? If not, he doesn’t seem likely to catch on, no matter how blatant the hint. Here’s a different question: Why do so many women wait until they are fed up, exhausted and ready to divorce rather than attempt counseling so they can communicate more clearly with their husbands? We absolutely agree that some men are obtuse, not to mention lazy about maintaining their relationships. But too many women hint around and expect guys to understand what they need, and then grow more and more frustrated and angry.
Of course, you shouldn’t have to do all the heavy lifting in your marriage. But until you say those words to your husband and tell him exactly what you need to keep the marriage strong, he won’t know, and he certainly won’t do anything about it. And you’ll need to repeat it more than once. But it seems a shame to throw away 25 years of what we assume is otherwise a decent marriage before seeing what can be fixed.
DEAR ANNIE: I disagree with your answer to “Feeling Stalked in the Midwest,” the 75-year-old man who’s the victim of unwanted gestures from a lady in her late 80s who lives in his retirement residence.
The main issue here is respect of boundaries, and on this issue, the woman is a violator. The fact that she is old and lonely does not give her license to touch whoever she wants, especially when he has told her not to. She doesn’t deserve to be let off the hook. What she is doing is sexual battery, and if she doesn’t stop, he should call the police. — Been There, Know the Type
DEAR BEEN THERE: We were surprised at the number of readers who want this 80-something woman arrested, when it is clear to us that she doesn’t have the full use of her faculties. She believes she is flirting. She is inappropriate, but not harmful. He is embarrassed by her, not afraid of her. Her family and, if necessary, the staff of the residence should be informed, and he should do what he can to avoid her. But we don’t believe hauling her off to jail would teach her anything. She would only be confused. Seriously, folks, get a grip.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column.