Annie's Mailbox for March 17, 2011: Husband is unaffectionate, refuses to seek counseling

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Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for more than 20 years. He is a very good-looking man. His co-workers are mostly women. Yes, I am jealous, and I have good reason to be.

When we married, he was loving, caring and gave me lots of attention. My whole life changed due to health problems. Now, I barely get a kiss as he leaves for work. Even though my health has improved, he stopped sleeping in our bedroom several years ago and hasn't returned.

He thinks coming home, eating what I cook and retiring to the recliner is sufficient attention. Also, he told me the company arranged for him and a female employee to have a meeting once a week in his office. This bothered me because she called his cell phone in the evening. This went on for several months until I confronted him. He accused me of being jealous.

What should I do? Stay here and be a dishrag? Or move on with my life? He refuses to go for counseling or see a pastor.

— Going Mad

Dear Going Mad: Even if your husband refuses counseling, you should go anyway. You are obviously unhappy, and it sounds as if your marriage has been in trouble for a while. Please talk to someone who can help you find better ways to deal with your situation.

Dear Annie: I am 18 years old, get good grades in college, stay out of trouble and am a good daughter. I recently got a small tattoo.

I live at home and have not yet told my father about it. He has double standards when it comes to my brother and me. My brother is three years older and has a large tattoo. But I know Dad will be angry about mine, even though he was perfectly fine with my brother getting one, and he has one himself.

How do I tell him? I know it is bad to hide it, but I figure the longer he doesn't see it the easier it will be to tell him in the future. He won't see it if I don't show it to him. Maybe he'll read this letter and not be so upset.

— Tatted

Dear Tatted: Did you pay for the tattoo yourself? If so, Dad does not have to know about it. You are, after all, a legal adult. However, it is usually best to bite the bullet and get it over with. Dad may respond more positively than you think, and if not, his anger won't last forever.

Dear Annie: The letter from "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," who judged her daughter-in-law's housekeeping skills, struck a nerve. I disagree with your advice that she ask her son about helping to pay for a housekeeper.

I own a business that puts me in hundreds of family homes. The immaculate house is far more rare than one would think. That mother-in-law's complaints about the housekeeping could be said about many homes.

Perhaps the mother-in-law needs to be told not to judge her daughter-in-law. Her son and grandson are not victims. They can clean, too. Perhaps the daughter-in-law likes a more lived-in look. Perhaps she has better things to do with her time than clean. Perhaps the mother-in-law should stay home. Her son is an adult and has his own life, whether his mother likes it or not.

— Annoyed in Virginia

Dear Virginia: We agree that a home does not have to be a showplace, but this daughter-in-law is a hoarder with several cats and a new baby on the way. It wouldn't take much to push that situation over the edge, and we thought she could use a helping hand — but not directly from her mother-in-law.

Annie's Snippet for St. Patrick's Day (author unknown): For each petal on the shamrock, this brings a wish your way, good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day.

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