Annie's Mailbox: He should accept wife’s physical limitations
EDITOR’S NOTE: Starting July 3, “Dear Annie” will replace “Annie’s Mailbox.” Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar are retiring.
Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our 60s and recently celebrated our 15th anniversary. I know she loves me, but the physical side of our marriage has gone completely down the toilet.
It started about six years ago when my wife suffered a massive stroke, causing her to lose the ability to speak, as well as some coordination on one side. She also becomes easily confused. Less than a year later, we were in an auto accident where she suffered two compressed vertebrae in her neck, requiring surgery. She also developed severe osteoarthritis (it’s mostly genetic, but the accident triggered the onset), which affects nearly every joint in her body.
Now the problem: My wife has lost all interest in any form of physical contact, including sex, saying the pain is excruciating when I touch her. I barely get a half-hearted hug with no contact other than her head on my chest. We still kiss and hold hands, but no other body parts touch.
We have been to multiple doctors and so-called specialists, and all they want to do is throw prescription pain meds at her, only one of which her body could tolerate. Physical therapy has not helped.
I love my wife, but sorely miss being able to touch, cuddle or make love to her. I find myself drinking a lot at night just to kill the urge. I’m going absolutely nuts over this. I am not one to stray, but the drinking isn’t doing me much good and the antidepressant the doctor recommended isn’t helping much, either.
I know there has to be some treatment out there that would help. What can I do? – Tilting at Windmills
Dear Tilting: Let’s recap – your wife had a stroke which has left her somewhat incapacitated, she was injured in a car accident and had neck surgery and now has severe osteoarthritis and is in constant pain. And you are disappointed that she doesn’t want to be closely held? Please understand that every time you try, you are hurting her. A lot.
It seems your wife has made every effort to alleviate her pain through medication and therapy. Now it’s your turn. You need to find a way to deal with your current situation and accept your wife’s physical limitations. Counseling may help. Please ask your doctor for a referral.
Dear Annie: I am responding to “Need to Get Moving,” the dog owner who doesn’t want strangers to pet his dogs.
We have two large German shepherds. Our vet advised us to tell people, “For your protection and theirs, we would appreciate if you do not pet them.” For the past couple of years, we have also been using the yellow ribbon you mentioned.
We spend our summers at a boat marina and see many different people and dogs each day. When asked about the yellow ribbons, we are happy to explain. With the help of columns like yours, I believe it is only a matter of time for this practice to become very well-known. – My Kids Have Paws
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.