DEAR AMY: I am struggling with the decision of whether I should stay with my husband. We have two young children and have been together for 17 years, married for 14. He just got fired from his ninth job in 17 years (some he left, one he got laid off from, three he got fired from). It usually takes him a while to get another job. He works around the house during his unemployment times, however, most of the housework falls to me. I have been working steadily for 20 years. The bigger problem — which now has come to the forefront — is our sex life. He has never been very amorous and now is even less so. He blames me for his low sex drive. He says I don’t dress “slutty” enough, or there are dishes in the sink or the house doesn’t look good enough, which contributes to his downward drive. I am not sure that I would like to live the rest of my life with someone who clearly doesn’t want to be with me. However, there are two young children (ages 2 and 10) in the picture who adore their father. Your advice?
DEAR UNLOVED: From your description of your husband’s inconsistent work record and behavior at home, it sounds as if he may have a number of undetermined issues getting in his way. He could be depressed, have anxiety, a hormone imbalance, or ADHD. Is he willing to talk about this, see a physician for a thorough screening, and/or see a counselor with you? Is he feeling overwhelmed or perhaps fearful of having more children? Does he want to be married? These are all questions for him to try to answer.
I agree with you that a lifetime of this would be very hard to bear — but neither of you seems to have started the process of trying to save your marriage. You will need to balance the needs of you and your children, examine your own motivations and figure out if you can afford to support two households before deciding to part.
Children who adore their parents can continue to adore them through divorce — if both parents part peacefully, and are cooperative and loving.
DEAR AMY: I am getting married in two months. It is my first marriage. I am 44. My mom passed away 19 years ago. My dad has not always been in the picture, but we have a good relationship. When I called to let him know I was getting married he was happy for me, but when I told him I was getting married on the same date as he and my mom got married, he lost interest. When I went to see him he never once asked to see my ring or about any plans. He just does not say a word about it! I would have thought that since I am his only daughter and my mom is not here, he would be a little more maternal! I think he should offer some cash to help with cost, too, but I’m not sure how to bring it up.
Lost Little Girl
DEAR LOST: You are not a little girl. You are a grown woman. You say your father has not always been in the picture, and so I assume that perhaps your parents divorced before your mother’s death. If that is the case, then you choosing their wedding anniversary for your wedding date may be very confusing for your father.
You should assume that he also wonders what role (if any) you would like him to play. And so — you should be very open and honest with him.
I am of the firm opinion that grown people should pay for their own weddings. However, if you want cash from your father, you should share your plans with him and ask him to contribute. You should also make sure he meets your fiance; if you want to engage your father it sounds as if you are going to have to do most of the work.
DEAR AMY: “Recovering” wrote for advice about what to tell nosy co-workers about a skin cancer scar on her face. She is a very private person and didn’t want to discuss it. She should just lie to them and tell them she fell off her bike or something. There’s nothing wrong with telling that kind of lie.
DEAR HONEST: I think “Recovering” was hoping to avoid any explanation — lie or not — which is probably unrealistic.