Dear Abby: I am a first-time mommy of a beautiful 2½-month-old little boy. I should also mention that I’m 40 years old. My husband is constantly asking for sex. I mean, every day. I honestly do not feel like having it. I’m so worn out by the day-to-day chores of being a wife and motherhood that when the baby goes to sleep, I go to sleep immediately.
My husband refuses to understand how exhausted I am, and his constantly asking for sex makes me want it even less. I try to reassure him that it’s not him, because he thinks he has done something wrong or that I’m not attracted to him anymore. But he also doesn’t help me out much around here. So, basically, I’m asking what can I do? – Touchy Subject in West Virginia
Dear Touchy: You and your husband are overdue for a frank talk. Sit him down and explain exactly what you need from him. Tell him you need his help so the entire burden of taking care of his home and his baby isn’t entirely on your shoulders. After you have finished doing that, point out that if he contributes to the household tasks and baby duties, it will take the pressure off you and make it more likely that you can relax and get in the mood for something more pleasant.
Dear Abby: My son is in an abusive marriage. He is verbally, mentally and emotionally abused by his wife constantly. She does everything she can to force him to leave. She tells him it is her house and she wants him to go. They bought the house together, and they both work and pay the bills. He won’t leave because he doesn’t want to leave his kids. Is there any kind of support for abused men? – Concerned Dad in North Carolina
Dear Dad: There certainly is, and I hope you will tell your son to reach out for it. No one should be harassed the way your son is being because the effects can be not only devastating, but also long-lasting. The National Domestic Violence Hotline (thehotline.org; 800-799-7233) and Stop Abuse for Everyone (stopabuseforeveryone.org) serve male victims of abuse as well as female. Urge him to contact one or both of them.
Dear Abby: I have married into a family that celebrates birthdays of members who have died. They are not observing the passing, but doing full-fledged birthday events. This is a practice I have never before experienced, and most of these people I have never met. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but it seems really odd, especially because many of those people died years ago. It’s becoming difficult to do more than express my sympathy for their loss. Is this done by other families? – Bewildered in Florida
Dear Bewildered: If there is anything I have learned in the course of writing this column, as well as my own journey through life, it is that individuals, families and cultures do not have identical ways of grieving or honoring their deceased loved ones. While it may seem unusual to you, this is the way they remember their loved ones.
Because this is your spouse’s family, talk with him about how to navigate this issue without causing hurt feelings. If you are uncomfortable participating in these celebrations, continue to be respectful, but attend fewer of them.