Dear Annie: For the last several months, I have been going through a rough patch with “Collin,” my husband of six years. There have been so many things going on – illnesses, deaths in the family and a stressful life – that it has taken a toll and we no longer are intimate, emotionally or sexually. It seems like we’ve lost something, and I don’t know how to get it back.
Collin has no interest in me anymore. I recently discovered that he has been going to the Internet to get his satisfaction – downloading pornographic pictures and videos. If our sex life were healthy, this would not bother me so much. I actually offered to “share” this activity with him, but he said it’s private and he feels weird watching porn with me.
I don’t understand this, Annie. Am I doing something wrong? I feel terrible about myself, inadequate and more distant from Collin than ever. How do I fix this? – Wanting in Illinois
Dear Wanting: Fixing things in a marriage requires two participants. Collin has found comfort in porn, and he must be willing to put it aside in order to re-establish intimacy with you.
Tell Collin that your marriage is in trouble and ask him to go with you for counseling. If he refuses, go without him and see what efforts you can make from your end to rekindle your commitment to each other.
Dear Annie: I have a guy problem. I really like this one boy, “Danny.” He’s hot, kind and funny, and very flirty, too. This may seem weird, but I am enchanted by him. I look at him all the time in science class.
I finally got brave and asked him to a school dance. He said OK but then fell through. I could tell he was avoiding me. I was hurt that he led me on, but I wasn’t ready to give up. The funny thing is, Danny flirts with me all the time and sometimes tells me significant stuff. I’m puzzled.
Then along came “Jerry.” He is not someone I’d ever really like, but he’s practically drooling over me. He knows I don’t like him, but he won’t leave me alone. I am truly bugged by this and have asked him to stop, but he persists.
I know this is a mirror image of what happened with me and Danny. I feel guilty about Jerry, but I can’t stop thinking about Danny. I want to impress him. But I don’t want to turn him off the way Jerry did with me. I feel trapped. What can I do? – Desperate in Indiana
Dear Desperate: It’s good that you’ve been given an opportunity to see this from both sides. It should make you treat Jerry more kindly.
It’s possible that Danny enjoys your company but isn’t interested in having a steady girlfriend. Give him some space. Flirt all you like, but it is not appealing when you act like a panting puppy dog, so keep the slobbering under control.
Dear Annie: Recently, my wife and I went to a restaurant for lunch. We happened to have a “Buy one, get one free” coupon. With coupons like this, or ones with half-off an entree, what is the proper procedure for tipping? Should you tip on the final bill after the discounts are taken off, or should you tip on the total before any discount? My wife and I prefer to err on the side of caution. – Confused in North Carolina
Dear Confused: According to Peggy Post, a thoughtful diner will leave a tip commensurate with the total meal (less tax), so that you don’t stiff the waiter for the same service he or she would have provided had it cost the full amount.
Annie’s Snippet for Labor Day (credit Doug Larson, English Olympic gold medalist): “If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day Weekend.”
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