Dear Annie: My husband has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. He is doing everything to fight it, including taking various medicines and having treatments, which have been somewhat effective. However, one unwanted side effect is that it’s pretty much killed his sex drive.
I love this man very much and will stick with him to the end, but this is a progressive illness. Although I am grateful it won’t take him for many years, I miss the physical attention. I can count on one hand the times we’ve had sex in the last year.
We are both in our early 40s and have been married 12 years. There is no chance I would ever leave him, but I have been having more and more thoughts about a solution. I am well aware of my marriage vows, but on top of the other daily stresses, this situation has really started to bother me. If I could find someone who would take care of my physical needs without any additional involvement and am discreet, is it wrong for me to act on it? – Lonely in Connecticut
Dear Lonely: Well, yes, of course. You know it’s wrong, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing to get approval from us. We realize how hard this must be for you, but if all you need is physical relief, we recommend masturbation. It’s safer, both physically and emotionally, and you won’t add to your already-high stress levels. You also can discuss this with your husband’s physician and see if adjustments to his medication might help. Please treat your husband, and your marriage, with love and respect, and you won’t have any regrets.
Dear Annie: My 19-year-old brother moved out last month and is on his own. At first I thought this would be fine, but now “Kyle” is always busy with my friends, either playing games or dragging them around in his van. To add insult to injury, he’s been ignoring me a lot of the time. I don’t like him hanging around some of my rather strange friends because all they do is mooch off of him, but he doesn’t realize it. I’m about ready to give up. What do you think I should do? – A Confused Brother
Dear Brother: You have to let Kyle make his own choices, even if you don’t like them. Kyle will make mistakes. He’ll sometimes choose the wrong friends and behave recklessly, but hopefully, this is how he learns to live independently and become responsible.
Your friends flock to Kyle because he has a van and there’s no adult supervision. You instinctively understand that this is an error in judgment, and face it, you are probably a bit jealous that your friends hang around Kyle. But you have to back off. Use this time to develop your own separate interests.