My girlfriend and I have been together almost four years. Everyone says we are perfect for each other, and we are. She is the best friend I’ve ever had. But over the last few months she appears to have lost all interest in sex. Our sexual relationship has never been spectacular, not even in the beginning, but it has always been pretty good. Neither one of us are particularly adventurous in bed. I have been faithful to her since the beginning, and as far as I know she has been faithful, too.
Nothing else has changed in our relationship – just the sex. She seems to have some excuse every time I try to get intimate, while she hasn’t tried to initiate sex since I don’t know when. I’ve tried to talk to her about it, but she doesn’t want to talk. She says nothing is wrong, but clearly something is. Meanwhile, my boiler has been steadily building pressure. It’s getting more and more difficult not to blow my top. I’ve spent a few nights on the couch, sitting up most of the night watching television and trying not to think about it. But it’s getting to the point where it’s all I think about, and eventually that will change the other parts of our relationship.
I want to stay faithful, but how can I under these conditions?
I could make some jokes about experiencing the joys of marriage without the expense of a wedding and a divorce, but I won’t. I commend you for your desire to stay faithful and your success so far. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you’re in a situation that is only going to get more difficult.
I’m not a doctor, though I was once pre-med, so my medical judgment is about as trustworthy as my judgment of race horses. But I’m going to guess your girlfriend has issues that can only be worked out with her doctor. A drastic decrease in libido could indicate a medical problem, or it might be a symptom of depression, or who knows what. Something may have happened that she can’t talk to you about, for whatever reason.
If she won’t talk to you, you need to do your best to get her to talk to someone. If she doesn’t already have a therapist, suggest she talk to her gynecologist. I suspect you’re going to have a difficult time getting her to do even that, if she is so insistent that nothing is wrong. You need to convince her, somehow, that it is. My first wife used to complain about my snoring, but I always denied that I snored, until she made a video tape of my snoring and showed it to me. (Then she sent it to America's Funniest Videos.)
Maybe if you mark on a calendar each time the two of you had sex over the last six months, and show her the days and/or weeks that passed between moments of intimacy, that will convince her. If not, you’re going to have to make the even more difficult decision of whether to talk to a female close to her, like a friend or sister. Hearing it from them might shock her into realizing how concerned you are. Then again, it might strike her as an unforgivable betrayal on your part, so you need to tread carefully.
Whatever happens, you will need to be as patient and understanding as you can. No matter how angry you may feel, she isn’t doing this on purpose. She isn’t trying to hurt you. She needs help, and you need to help her find it. And last of all, trust in the healing power of time. Things won’t always be this way. Don’t do anything you know you’ll regret. Even the fierce urgency of Sex Now Dammit! will pass.
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: email@example.com
I married somewhat late in life and now am the father of two beautiful young children. My problem is that everywhere I go, people think my kids are my grandchildren. How do I answer people who ask me, “Are these your grandkids?” I don’t think I look that old.
— Not That Old
Dear AARP Member,
I had a beautiful old aunt whose eye doctor recommended she have cataract surgery. Although she thought she could see perfectly well, she finally acquiesced. After the surgery, she came home and looked at herself in the mirror. “Oh my God!” she cried in horror. “And here I thought I’d been aging gracefully.”
Your answer to those people should be, “They’re my kids.” Believe me, they will feel horrible for asking, and revenge is sweet. You can’t be young forever. Don’t mourn the passing of years, and for God’s sake don’t get some horrible dye job or, worse, plastic surgery. Embrace life and move on.
You might also want to have your eyes checked. A touch of color wouldn’t hurt, either.
There is a person from high school that I haven’t seen in about five years. I thought I had gotten rid of him. In tenth grade, we were the best of friends, then he started dating this girl and I hardly saw him for about eight months. At first I was mad, but then I started hanging out with other people and realized that he was actually kind of an emotional parasite.
Then I met a girl and we started dating. My old "friend" broke up with his girlfriend and wanted to hang out with me again, but I had a whole new set of friends who didn’t like him, and I didn’t really like him very much either. When he was dating that girl, he had no time for me, but when I was seeing someone, he expected me to make time for him, or worse, let him come with us on our dates.
After graduation we grew even further apart. It’s been five years now, and I thought I was rid of him. Then he sent me a Facebook request. What should I do?
Dear MO, Ignore it. Or reject it. You don’t want him in your life now? Don’t open the door. Maybe you will hurt his feelings, but at this point, who cares?
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although I am not old, I have two grown children. One is married, one is in (for her) a long term relationship of a little over seven months.
My problem is that anytime my spouse and I try to do anything, like go on vacation or even just go out for dinner and a show, my children get mad if I don't invite them along. I wouldn't mind inviting them, in fact I welcome their company, except that they expect me to pay for everything for them and their partners/spouses: everything from picking up the tab at dinner to airline and cruise tickets. I find myself sneaking around or making up stories to explain my absences. I am thankful that they call every day, as I have friends who rarely hear from their kids at all, but sometimes I am a little envious and would prefer not so much attention.
You have grown kids. Do yours do this to you? What can I do to make them stop?
Tired of Sneaking Around
I decided to use your letter not because I expect to be able to help you with your problem, but as a warning to all young parents out there.
Your kids do this to you for one rather simple reason: because you let them. I suspect they ruled your house from an early age, because it was just easier to give in and let them have their way, wasn't it? I would also bet good money that you are divorced from their other parent and spent their teenage years competing with your ex for the affections of your children, most likely by buying them whatever they wanted.
Spoiled brat kids grow up to be spoiled brat adults. But I might be able to help you, if you have the spine to follow my advice. What you have to do is this: Tell your kids to piss off. Let them get mad at you. Tell them they are welcome to come along, but only when you want them there, and if they come, they have to pay their own way. The gravy train has reached the end of the line. Time for everyone grow up.
But you already knew this, didn't you?
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: email@example.com
At work, I share an open cubicle space with three other people. We work together as a team on many projects, and for the most part we get along fine and work successfully without much conflict. They are all good people and we’ve been together for several years.
However, there’s one woman on our team who does something that drives me nuts. She eats like a horse. I don’t mean she eats a lot, or that she eats all the time. She doesn’t. She rarely snacks at her desk. But when she does, she sounds like a horse – slobbery, sucking, smacking, lip-popping, jaw-chopping disgusting. Oh, and throw in grunting, eyerolling, and commenting about the deliciousness of whatever she’s got in her mouth.
I live in dread of her snacking moments. I’ve taken lollipops off her desk when she wasn’t looking. Whenever someone offers her a stick of gum, I just want to slap them. I can’t imagine what it must be like for her family, having to sit at the table and listen to her devour a full meal. The sight of an apple in her hand makes me want to hang myself.
After putting up with this for all these years, I finally got up the nerve to ask my other team members if she bothers them. They said they hadn’t noticed. I don’t know how they couldn’t notice. I suspect they’re lying in order to keep the peace.
Is it just me? Am I overly sensitive? Should I say something to her, or should I just look for a new job?
About to Ralph
There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ But ‘team’ backwards is ‘meat.’ Which is to say, office clichés make me want to hang myself.
Your need to work together probable prohibits you from transferring to another desk, or preferably another building, much less telecommuting. No way you can say something to her without shattering the esprit de corporations and generally making everyone else miserable. So I’d say you’re up the office creek without a mouse-pad. Those Bose noise-eliminating headphones are expensive, but I suspect you’d pay almost any price to escape the guttural symphony of her feeding.
Rest assured, it is not just you. As a kid, I hated having to mind my manners at the table, but I have since learned that manners are an under-appreciated social skill necessary for the prevention of needless effusion of blood. Whenever I see the friends of my children moil over pizzas like a pride of lions, cracking the bones of the crusts with their teeth, their cheeks blood red with pizza sauce up to their ears, I thank my sainted mother for smacking my hand and telling me to sit up.
Perhaps I can offer an alternative to resignation and suicide. In the gag-inducing parlance of the office, this is not a problem, it’s an opportunity. Like most office workers, I suspect you don’t get enough exercise. Whenever the horsewoman commences to chomping on an apple, why not take a break, stretch your legs, do some stairs, go outside for a bit of real air and natural sunlight? You’ll feel better, and one day you might even find yourself bringing her suckers instead of stealing them.
Got a problem? Jack Waggon will set you straight: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About a month ago, I was laid off, and not long after that a tree wrecked my place during one of the storms. I had to move back in with my parents.
I moved out when I was 18, right after I graduated high school, because I couldn't wait to get away from my parents. It wasn't easy. I lived in a bunch of really crappy apartments and went though about a hundred lazy, slobby, worthless, crazy, thieving, and sometimes psychotic roommates. I worked two and sometimes three jobs just to make rent. My parents never tried to help me out, and I wouldn't have taken their help if they had offered it. We barely spoke for about three years.
Lately things have been getting almost okay. I had a stable group of two roommates in a decent rental house in a pretty good neighborhood. My relationship with my parents was getting better - you could almost call it normal. I thought I had won their respect. They never expected me to amount to anything. My mom recently told me that she thought every day I'd call begging to come back home.
That day finally came, but not through any fault or failure of my own. They welcomed me back and said I could stay as long as I needed. I moved into my old room and stored my stuff in their garage.
It wasn't three days before it was like nothing had changed. My dad has started treating me like I am 17 again, laying down rules that I have to follow as long as I'm living under his roof. He asks me three or four times a day if I've found a job and interrogates me on where I've applied. My mom is harassing me about cleaning my room and helping out around the house. I'm paying rent, by the way, but it doesn't matter. I paid rent when I was 17, too.
My roommates have found a place to live and have replaced me with a new roommate. I don't blame them, because they still have jobs. I'm looking, but there isn't anything out there like what I was doing before, certainly not making the kind of money I was making. I've had a few job offers, but the pay is barely more than I'm getting from unemployment. Today my dad asked me how much longer I plan to stay. He wants his garage back. I'd love to leave, today, but I've got nowhere else to go. Why can't they just leave me alone and give me a chance?
Parents sometimes see their adult children, not as adults, but as the same helpless little brats too stupid to pull their pants on the right way, because most of the time that's exactly what you are. Not all of us are strong enough to accept our obsolescence in the lives of our children, so the only way we can keep feeling needed is to keep treating you like a child.
You sound like you once had the backbone to stand up to them, walk out the door, and make your own way in the world, once upon a time. You did it once. Do it again. You're older and smarter now, so you won't make quite as many mistakes.
Plenty of people have to start over in life, often from scratch. I've done it six times that I can recall. It isn't fair, but life isn't fair. You may not be able to go back to where you were right away, no matter how much time your parents give you to get back on your feet. You might have to start all over, working low wage jobs and living in crappy apartments with psycho roommates. But isn't that better than having to kiss the ass of the man who wants his garage back more than his son?
Got a problem? Let Jack Waggon set you straight: email@example.com