Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am 64; my wife is 62. We are empty nesters. My wife and I are intimate most often on Saturday and Sunday mornings, often Wednesday morning when I have a day off, and occasionally at other times as well. I have ED issues, which I deal with successfully. My wife retired last year. She has a habit of always setting up sexual expectations of me: "Oooh, the weekend is coming," or "Yay, Wednesday morning you're off work," or, "We get to stay in bed on Friday..." I usually tell her to just live in the moment, and to stop looking forward. She gets plenty of hugs, kisses, and grabs throughout the week. She believes she has the greatest life and is happy and fulfilled. I am happy and content as well, but I am more centered, seemingly without the extreme highs and lows that she experiences. She does this forward-looking excited thing not just with sex, but with nights out, vacations, parties, etc. Last night she did this morning-sex-expectation thing. I didn't react with similar glee, so she got mad and I launched into an honest conversation asking her to please stop setting up these expectations because if we don't follow through (rare) I don't want to disappoint her. Typically, she overreacted: "OK, I'll NEVER say those things again," which to me was a very unfair response. After several failed attempts to get her to understand my point, I told her she was nuts. Is my reaction normal?
Living In the Moment
DEAR LIVING: First of all -- how awesome are you two? Secondly, there's this: If you ask your wife not to speak to you in a certain way and she responds with, "OK, I'll NEVER say those things again," don't double down and question her tone. And do NOT tell her she's "nuts." You and your wife are temperamentally quite different. She is effusive and you are more reticent. Mainly I assume this difference inspires some wonderful chemistry between you. In this regard, however, you are taking her excitement and encouragement as pressure to perform. Given your ED issues, I can imagine this is stressful. Explain your situation to your wife this way: Her advance excitement creates "sexpectations" and stress, making it tougher to make the magic happen. If she can dial it down, it will be easier for you to dial it up.
DEAR AMY: We are in a group of couples who have been socializing and going on trips together two to three times a year for 20 years. When our two sons were married we invited everyone to both weddings, which is what all the other couples have done when their children were married. We recently received a call from one of the other wives that we weren't being invited to their daughter's wedding (two other couples are also not invited). Her reason was that it's her daughter's call and she doesn't want to talk her into it. To me that means we aren't good enough friends for her to go to the effort. What is your take on this and how should we react the next time we see them?
DEAR UPSET: My take is that it is the daughter's wedding and she (and her future husband) -- not her mother -- is making the decision about whom to invite.
The way you should react to your friend is to be respectful and understanding. If you have a beef about being excluded, it should be with the daughter, not her mother.
DEAR AMY: I'm responding to "Dejected," whose husband never complimented her. I've recently realized that both my husband and I respond in an unhealthy and inappropriate way to compliments. When he says something positive I should accept it without trying to convince him that his observation is incorrect, and when I compliment him, he should do the same. We've both decided this comes from our childhoods and we're working on just thanking each other.
DEAR BARBARA: Some men have responded that their wives are terrible at accepting a compliment. It's good that you and your husband are working on this.