Annie’s Mailbox for April 25, 2011: Want my wife to feel appreciated
Dear Annie: My wife and I have been together for 12 years. For most of that time, it seems we have been following my preferences in terms of jobs, living arrangements, etc. I have an office job, and she stays home with our three kids. We also live in the small town she grew up in and run a farm with her father on the side.
Apparently, I have inadvertently made her feel very much in my shadow, even with her family and friends. I am more vocal and like to get involved in what’s going on. My wife thinks I try too hard to please people and accuses me of being a “yes man.”
I adore my wife and feel terrible that this situation has snowballed into her hating me for making her feel like my accessory. I appreciate her as my partner, but often feel like I’m in a position to “make the call.” Annie, I want her to feel as special as she is — charming, welcoming, the best mother I could want for my kids and a supportive wife. How can I boost her up and make her the limelight around other people? How can I get her to feel as important as she really is?
— Love My Wife
Dear Love: People like to know they are heard and their opinions valued. You are not responsible for the way your wife handles herself socially, but you can make a point to ask her opinion and have her weigh in on all decisions that affect her. You seem eager to improve the situation, which means you are likely to succeed. (And we’ll just assume the decision to live in her hometown and work for her father was entirely your choice.)
Dear Annie: After reading a lot about STDs, I decided to get tested. Fortunately, everything is fine. I asked my doctor if it was odd for a senior citizen like me to get tested. He said, “I wish everyone would do it.”
There are STDs that have no symptoms, and some are incurable. I read that HIV is showing up way too much in the senior community. I don’t plan on getting that or anything else. Just because someone says he or she doesn’t have any STDs doesn’t mean it’s true. They might not even know.
I am all for sex with a committed partner, but I think the casual sex shown on TV doesn’t send a responsible message, especially for younger people. I won’t have sex with anyone until I first see his STD report because I don’t plan on acquiring an incurable disease for the rest of my days. Be careful out there.
Dear Nancy: Thanks for the warning. Regardless of age, if you have had unprotected sex, sex with a new partner or sex with more than one partner, you should be tested for sexually transmitted infections. Some can remain dormant for years, and others can be infectious even when there are no symptoms. Those interested in more detailed information can contact the American Social Health Association at ashastd.org.
Dear Annie: “Why Is It Always About Him?” is married to a self-centered man who thinks it is her job to prepare his food just so. You said many wives would “simply humor him” and suggested online counseling.
The problem is his, not hers, and she is well within her rights to completely stop cooking for him and insist that HE see a counselor if he doesn’t like it. The obnoxious ones in a relationship are the ones who should seek help and change if they want to remain married.
Dear N.: It would be wonderful if those “obnoxious ones” recognized the need to change and were willing to do the work. They are not. That’s why they are obnoxious. It’s their spouses who must take the necessary steps to decide whether they can live with them.
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