DEAR AMY: My fiance is wonderful, but I feel I said "yes" to marriage, when sometimes it feels like a "no." I don't feel a great sense of intimacy -- he communicates on one level and I'd like to experience it on another. Also, I don't have as much of a sexual appetite as I used to. I even dread having sex sometimes. I am scared of calling off what is -- in so many ways -- a really good thing, but I am also scared of settling for something that doesn't provide me a deeper feeling of being "home." Do you believe intimacy, sexual and experiential, can grow after more than two years of being together? Maybe I just need to work on myself and things between us will improve? With the concerns I have do you think I can make it work for a lifetime?
Realist or Romantic
DEAR REALIST: I do believe that intimacy -- in every form -- can grow (and should grow) after years together. But marriage does not automatically confer a state of grace whereby these qualities magically appear. You alone cannot make your marriage work for five minutes -- not to mention a lifetime.
If you are scared of "settling," then you must not settle. What is your body telling you? What lies behind your doubts? A counselor can help you to decode what is going on with you, and after you gain some insight you must choose to act on your own behalf. You will be doing your fiance a great disservice by trying to power through this, only to see your doubts grow, later.
DEAR AMY: My colleague is getting married in February. She's very excited about it and I hear about it every day at the office. Last January, she invited me to her bachelorette party -- a full two nights/three days out of town. I was flattered that she asked since we don't hang out very often, and said yes, but I was just put on the spot and didn't want to hurt her feelings. A few days later she asked me if I would pay a $40 deposit on the event. I did so, just to buy some time. This week, I got an email from her maid of honor with a payment plan of installments, $60 at the end of every month until Christmas. First of all, it's too much money for me, especially for something I have no interest in doing. I HATE bachelorette parties. I don't really drink, and I don't know anyone else in the group. I'm a homebody. The thought of spending the weekend away with a rowdy group of drunken women doesn't appeal to me. I'm more of a teapot and Netflix kind of woman. The event is so far in the future that I'm having trouble coming up with a plan to get out of it. Do I tell her the truth that I'm not interested? Do I find a clever excuse?
DEAR HELPLESS: First of all -- whoa. This isn't a party, it's a festival. I don't blame you for trying to escape it.
Don't overthink this, don't invent a story to get out of this, and get ahead of it right now.
Say to your colleague: "I'm very flattered to be invited to your bachelorette party but as the time gets closer I can tell that this is something I'm not going to be able to do. I wanted to tell you as soon as possible. Please keep the $40 deposit and put it toward the expenses for the group. I know you'll have a blast." If the bride presses you, tell her truthfully, "I'm a homebody. I don't drink or party. If this were a weekend of tea drinking and Downton Abbey, I would be so in, but as it is I'd probably just be a drag on the fun."
DEAR AMY: You received a letter from a professional woman who had become embroiled in some office drama by gossiping about a young slacker at work. She was now labeled a "Mean Girl." Mean Girl needs to be pleasant, professional, concentrate on her job, and mind her own business.
DEAR DEB: You're right.