Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: After 30 years of marriage, my wife is now claiming that she has never been sexually attracted to me. Furthermore, she claims that no woman has ever been sexually attracted to a man in the manner that men are attracted to women. I have always been the romantic in our relationship. It now fills me with sadness to know that I am not with the woman of my dreams, as I thought I was. There hasn’t been any emotional connection for a long time in the bedroom. Now we don’t have a physical relationship at all because I find myself wanting more than just obligatory sex, which suits her just fine but kills my soul a tiny bit every day. Do you think she is right? Are all women acting a role in order to attract and retain a mate? Have I been brainwashed to believe in romance and sexual attraction? We are educated, professional, physically attractive, in our mid-50s, and the children are grown and out of the house. I don’t think it’s too late for us to find happiness, but it might be too late for us to find it together. Please don’t suggest counseling — my wife does not like to share her thoughts or feelings.
— Sexless in Seattle
DEAR SEXLESS: Your wife is gaslighting you. Her claims demean not only you but all women. The sexual life of a woman might seem more complex or confusing (to both men and women), but for many women their libido remains robust into old age. You need only to check the sales numbers of the blockbuster erotica trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey” (125 million) to understand that women of all ages are interested in exploring their sexuality.
Your wife does not know what other women want. But that’s not important. What is important is what you want — and you want (and deserve) romantic and sexual fulfillment with a person who will be a loving partner to you through all stages of life.
It is not too late for you two to find romantic and sexual fulfillment, together or apart. Your wife seems pretty comfortable sharing her thoughts when she is being mean to you — perhaps she would also care to test her theory with a professional counselor. Regardless — you should pursue counseling for yourself.
DEAR AMY: I’ve always considered my older brother to be the smartest of the family. I love the guy; he is a rock and a reliable person. It’s an election year, so a lot of my Facebook friends are posting things in support of one candidate. If I like or agree with something I’ll re-post/share it. When my brother disagrees with something, he’s the first one commenting on my posts, and often they seem more like arguments. My sister-in-law tends to take his side and join in. We tend to agree on pretty much everything outside of the political arena. And I’m kind of baffled by his positions, as they all sound like repeated talking points from one particular biased political opinion/news channel. He’s not doing any research to verify facts or data, which forces me to provide the facts, history and data to explain my position. I don’t want our interactions to consist solely of political arguments, and I’d rather not completely block him from social media. Any ideas?
— Stumped in S.C.
DEAR STUMPED: I’m willing to believe your assertion that your brother is the smart one, because it doesn’t seem to have occurred to you to simply not engage. If you don’t want to block or “hide” his comments, you should train yourself to skim them, but not get sucked in. Others in your circle may choose to fact-check his assertions and argue with him, but you don’t need to.
Sometimes, political gadflies can really liven up an otherwise static news feed where everybody simply agrees with one another. If you can’t see the value of knowing how people who disagree with your politics frame their views, then you should probably avoid posting about politics until after the election.
DEAR AMY: The question from “Loving Grandmom” made me crazy. She was worried about her young grandson’s long hair making him “look like a girl.” My own mother cut my 3-year-old son’s hair when she baby-sat him one day (for an hour). I was hurt and furious, and frankly I found it pretty unforgivable. It’s not her business!
— Loving Mom
DEAR MOM: Several people have written in that their parents cut their children’s hair. I agree that this is a huge breach.