Dear Annie: I am a 40-ish mom to three children ranging in age from 2 to 8. My husband and I have been together 14 years. When we first started dating, sex was awesome. Over the years, our responsibilities, priorities and workloads have changed.
My husband works full time and also does projects around the house. I work full time, and my nonworking time is spent picking up the kids from day care, fixing meals, cleaning the house, doing laundry, paying bills, grocery shopping, arranging doctor's appointments, helping with homework, etc. You get the gist.
My husband's only housework responsibility is to empty the dishwasher. When he feels like it, he might make dinner, and he will give the baby a bath every once in a while. I agree that his projects are important, but they tend to be weather-related, like mowing the lawn. In the winter, all he does is empty the dishwasher, but if he can't find a clean shirt, I get harassed and told I'm lazy.
Since the children have come into the picture, sex has been the last thing on my mind. At the moment, I don't care if I ever get any again. I'm exhausted. I have spoken to my OB/GYN, who explained that sometimes a woman's body will shut off the libido, because it knows energy needs to be used for other things.
I have tried explaining this dynamic to my husband, but he acts as if I'm punishing him by withholding sex. I've suggested we do the chores together, which will help put me in the mood. I've offered to go with him for counseling. I've even threatened divorce. All he says is, he has his list of chores, and I have mine. Argh!!! I need some advice. Overworked and Overtired
Dear Overworked: Who made these lists? You need some new ones. No one should get the winter off, while his partner becomes an indentured servant. Some men simply don't grasp that resentful wives do not make loving partners. Also, don't disregard the possibility that you are indeed punishing him because you feel taken advantage of. Healthy intimacy requires that each of you wishes to please the other.
If your husband cannot see the value in a more equitable distribution of duties, tell him you are going for counseling -- with or without him.
Dear Annie: I live in a complex that houses 24 apartments, some with balconies. On about half of these balconies, there are wind chimes. On a warm, breezy night when I have my windows open, all I hear is clang, clang, clang.
I realize some people like this sound, but I am unable to sleep with the continued noise. I have talked to the manager, but since he also has wind chimes, he refuses to do anything about it. I really like living here and do not want to move, but the lack of sleep is getting to me. Any ideas? All Clanged Out
Dear Clanged: Unless there is a provision in your lease that promises you peace and quiet from wind chimes, there's not much you can do. Create some white noise of your own (fans or ocean waves), get earplugs or close your windows. Sorry.
Dear Annie: This is for the "LA Fiancee" of the biggest packrat and slob on earth. I am married to his twin, and believe me, it will only get worse, as he also will begin hoarding your things as well as his.
The only way to convince my husband that our 30-year-old couch needed to be replaced was to find a relative who was willing to take it, and who promised to give it back later. Once, I threw my husband's ripped shirts in the garbage, and the next day, he was wearing one of them. If he dies first, I will call for a trash bin before I call the morgue. Thorn in My Side
Dear Thorn: We admire your forbearance. If off-site storage facilities don't alleviate the problem, try the Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation (ocfoundation.org).
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