I am 55, and my husband is 75. We’ve been married for 25 years. He is retired and keeps himself busy while I am at work. Lately, he waits for me every day — with bated breath — so we can have sex when I get home. He complains that I can’t keep up with him sexually. But I need some me time: He doesn’t consider that I work full time, have a lengthy commute and still have to make dinner. I can’t talk to my friends about this; they would think I was crazy. Should I have him checked by a doctor? Is he suffering from early dementia? I love him, but he is wearing me out. Would I be better off without him?
I am not a doctor or mental-health professional, so I can’t diagnose conditions like dementia or hypersexuality — even if I had a better understanding of your sexual history with your husband or when his requests for sex became overwhelming to you. I don’t need that information to empathize with you, though. It can be disheartening to fall out of step with an intimate partner.
Still, I can Google as well as the next guy, and, indeed, becoming overly interested in sex can be a symptom of dementia. Encourage your husband to see a doctor. I can also imagine that retirement is lonely for some people. You say he “keeps himself busy,” but if his daily life doesn’t include meaningful engagement with other people or activities, that might cause him to cling to you.
Please don’t neglect yourself. I’m sorry you don’t feel comfortable confiding in a friend. You need to talk to someone, though, or you may become isolated (or prematurely leave a husband you love). So, consult a doctor or therapist about your experience, too. You both need more information — and support — before deciding how to move forward.
No Magic in This Mushroom Trip
Four friends and I went on a road trip. We were stopped by the police for a broken headlight. The officers said they smelled cannabis in the car, which is illegal where we were. They searched the car and found cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms (also illegal). They wrote us a ticket for the cannabis, but they arrested our friend who had the mushrooms. We all felt terrible and agreed to cover her $400 bail. I charged it to my credit card. One friend dragged his feet paying his share. When I asked about it later, he told me he had changed his mind: He said he was broke, he never liked the girl and he hadn’t intended to do the mushrooms. (I have texts that suggest otherwise.) I am angry and haven’t spoken to him since, which may end our friendship. But I feel wronged. Advice?
I admire your esprit de corps, and I agree that keeping promises is important. But the friend who reneged may have felt unfairly pressured in the moment to agree to pay part of the bail. He certainly didn’t handle his change of heart well. And I have no idea whether his current silence arises from shame or disinterest.
Only you can judge whether his friendship is important enough to try to unpack your messy road trip. We all make mistakes, but unless we are willing to speak up about them, and our friends are willing to engage with us, there isn’t much point in a relationship.
Oh, to Be Mother’s Travel Daughter …
I have two teenage daughters at home: an 18-year-old who goes to a local college and a 14-year-old. I like mini-vacations, and I would like to take my younger daughter on one. She is pleasant to travel with. I don’t want to take my older daughter. She is moody, difficult and always complains. How should I tell her she is not invited?
I can imagine an 18-year-old — still an adolescent, really — who would feel extremely hurt to be excluded from your trip, especially if you weren’t planning another one with her. I can also picture an 18-year-old who would heave a sigh of relief. So, which type of daughter do you have?
It would be more productive, in my view, to discuss your daughter’s difficult behavior with her, and ask her to work on it, than to exclude her from your vacation. Find a way to take both daughters if you can. Still, if the older one prefers to stay home, give her some extra pizza money as a treat.
The Good Host-Good Housekeeper Divide
A dear friend lives a few hours away. I stay with her when I visit. I usually bring a small gift or pay for dinner. The problem: My friend is not a good housekeeper, and her guest bathroom is dirty. I would never complain, but is it unreasonable to wish she would clean up before my arrival? (I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and fear of contamination is a big problem for me.)
I appreciate the challenges of living with your condition. But be careful not to use your diagnosis as an unfair weapon against your friend. If the free lodging she provides is unsatisfactory to you, stay at a hotel — or offer to clean the guest bathroom as thanks for her hospitality. Don’t let a grimy tub turn a kindness into a grievance.