KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox 68-year-old couple at an impasse over sex
Dear Annie: I am a 68-year-old widow, and I care very much for a 68-year-old divorced gentleman. We don't want to get married because it would upset our families, and there also are financial considerations against it.
"Dennis" and I both feel a strong sexual need for each other, but his religious beliefs say it is morally wrong to have sex outside of marriage. I'm a Christian, but I personally don't believe it is wrong, as long as our behavior is not hurting anyone.
I could do without the sex if I had his affection. However, he is incapable of showing affection without it leading to sex, so he wants us just to be good friends. I don't think I can be just friends. I need to be held and loved. I am very unhappy, yet I think I'd be even more unhappy if I were to give up contact with him.
Is there any answer? Lonely and Frustrated
Dear Lonely: If you push Dennis into a sexual relationship, he may feel regretful and resent you for it. Since he is unwilling to express affection without sex, you are at an impasse. If you truly do not wish to marry, you will have to consider Dennis a good friend and look for the affection you crave elsewhere. Sorry.
Dear Annie: I married a wonderful woman with two teenage children. Let me start off by saying they are both very smart, good students and have never had problems with drugs, alcohol or the law. I love them like they were my own. The problem is their ability to listen.
When asked to do something, neither of these children seems able to complete the task, or do it correctly. Dishes, chores, homework, you name it, it's a never-ending fight to get things done. I retired from the Army and am used to having people do what I tell them. My wife, however, believes that as long as something gets done, it doesn't matter when or how well.
We fight constantly over this. My wife is even talking about separating. My younger stepson tells her I don't love him, and that he hates being at home when I am here because I am always riding him about stuff. I admit it, I do, because at age 14 he can't be counted on to do his homework or even feed his dog. He can spend hours on the computer, and when asked to do anything, it takes four or five requests to get him to comply.
My daughter is coming to live with us this summer, and my wife is afraid it will create an even wider rift. We have been to counseling in the past. I am willing to go again. Tell me what to do. A Stepfather in Trouble
Dear Stepfather: Discipline issues in stepfamilies must be worked out carefully. Your military attitude was fine for the Army, but it isn't working here. You need to be more flexible, and you and Mom must be on the same page. Go back for counseling with someone who deals with blended families. Also, you can find useful information at the Stepfamily Association of America (saafamilies.org), (800) 735-0329.
Dear Annie: You made my day! Your reply to "John" about men wearing skirts was very much on target. It is almost certainly a passing fad. As a Scottish Rite Mason and a charter member of The Order of the Thistle of the Knights of Saint Andrew, I wear a kilt that is subdued McDonald in design.
By the way, we do not use the term "going commando." If you see a man wearing a kilt and have to know whether or not he is wearing his unmentionables, just ask him if he is "regimental." Being regimental means he is not wearing anything between what you can see and what you can't. Gerard in Guam
Dear Gerard: You made our day, too. We always wondered about those kilts.
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