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Annie's Mailbox

Lack of sex is killing their marriage

August 1, 2011

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Q. My wife and I are both 30 and have been married for five years. We have a toddler.

The problem is, over the past few years, my wife has cut down sex to roughly once every couple of months. I do what I can to keep her happy and have even bargained with her to get sex by offering to take her out to eat at her favorite restaurant or giving back massages, but she won’t discuss it. As soon as I bring it up, she gets angry, and it puts her in a bad mood.

My wife doesn’t seem to care about my needs at all, and I can’t help but resent her for doing this to me. The rest of our marriage is solid, but this one issue has me considering divorce. I don’t want to cheat on her, but I want to be with someone who cares about me. I can deal with sex as infrequently as once a month, but there are stretches where it’s been half a year.

I could understand if she had a medical problem, but she doesn’t. I’m being pushed to the brink. My wife has no interest in talking to a counselor. Should I consider counseling on my own? Is there a different way of having this conversation?

SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED

A. There could be any number of reasons for your wife’s lack of interest in sex, including a drop in libido since the birth of her child, exhaustion, hormonal imbalance, resentment toward you if she does the majority of childcare and household chores, even an affair. But by refusing to discuss it, she is trying to sweep the problem under the rug, which won’t work. Stop pressuring her for sex, either by asking or by bargaining, and get some counseling for yourself. There may be ways to improve your approach. Tell your wife you are doing it to save your marriage.

Q. I live in a 32-unit townhouse association. Recently, one family’s dog accidentally bit a neighbor. The manager was not there when it happened, but he encouraged the victim to sue the dog’s owner. Am I wrong to think that the manager should remain neutral and not “pit’’ one neighbor against another?

J.

A. While the manager should not escalate hostilities, the conversation may not have been “encouragement.’’ The victim may have asked the manager what to do, and one option was to sue the owner of the dog. If the association offers mediation, we hope both parties will make use of it.

Q. You printed a letter from “Fed Up,’’ who has lived across the street from her nosy, competitive sister-in-law for 20 years. I live across the street from my husband’s sister and her husband. I had often said, “I don’t want to be so near them.’’ Please tell “Fed Up’’ that you never know when you’re going to need your family.

I don’t know what I would have done without those two last year. One day, I woke up and dressed for an outing. When I went in to wake my husband, he wasn’t breathing. He had had a heart attack in his sleep. My brother-in-law was here in seconds, and though we were able to revive my husband with CPR, he died a few days later.

“Fed Up’’ should think before complaining, because I can tell you, you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.

C

E-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 West Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.