Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am 59 and my wife is 55. We have only been married one year. I have been married two times and my wife five times, and she was with at least six other men. (Her son told me this, and I thought “Oh boy!”) The problem is that my wife is very sexual at functions. She ignores me and she will sit with and touch other men. This really bothers me, Amy! I have told her this bothers me and she doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong. She brings up her exes a lot, maybe two to three times a week. She seems to live in the past a lot. The sex was great at first but now it’s maybe once a week, and I have to always initiate it. I love her dearly but did I make a mistake?
DEAR WORRIED: Did you make a mistake?
My question to you is, did you make only one mistake?
If you are hearing about your wife’s sexual and romantic past for the first time from her son, your second thought — after “Oh boy!” — should be “Honey, we need to talk.”
You don’t mention how you met your wife or how long you were together before you got married, but if you knew her as well as you should before declaring a lifetime commitment, her behavior at parties probably wouldn’t be surprising.
I suspect that your wife is behaving the way she’s always behaved with the men in her life (it’s a lot of work to cycle through five marriages). The fact that she dismisses your concerns means that she isn’t interested in behaving differently.
You two might learn how to communicate better in the office of a marriage counselor, but if you object to your wife’s behavior and she doesn’t think she’s doing anything wrong, you’ve got a basic disconnect.
Your wife’s decreased interest in you sexually after only one year of marriage indicates that she might be on her way to her next lifetime commitment.
DEAR AMY: My husband is the man of my dreams. We have been happily married for 17 years. He has two children by a first marriage; they are both adults now. His son moved in with us just before his 16th birthday seven years ago. He is now 23 and still lives in my house. He contributes nothing to the household. He lives like a pig! His bedroom is covered with dirty clothes, on the floor, on top of furniture, crammed under the bed and in the closet. Dirty dishes with mold on them, and glasses with curdled milk. Towels in his bathroom are soured and mildewed. Hair all over his sink where he shaves and doesn’t clean up the mess, and to beat it all, he doesn’t raise the seat when he uses the toilet. I am at my wits’ end. I want him out! Unfortunately on his salary he doesn’t make enough money to afford a place of his own. My husband is very content with him here and doesn’t ever say anything about the way he lives in my house. What can I do to get him out?
DEAR END: From your description, it sounds as if you have been largely silent and passive regarding the porcine presence of your stepson. Why haven’t you and his father taught this young man some life skills?
I understand that stepparents often walk a tightrope when it comes to communicating and correcting the behavior of their stepchildren, but this young man is an adult. He has been in your household for many years. Speak up! If his father won’t partner with you in some very common-sense corrections, then you should tell both men that it is time for this young adult to leave the nest.
If he is working, he can find and afford a room to rent in a group house. And if he can’t afford to rent a room, then he needs to get a different — or second — job. You and his father are doing him no favors by allowing him to live this way without consequence.
DEAR AMY: I notice that lately you’ve run a few letters from people who are concerned about the weight problems of family members. What gives?
DEAR WONDERING: My theory is that these letters represent a post-holiday bulge (as it were). Many people spent time with those they don’t see all that often, surrounded by the temptations of holiday food.