Dear Abby: “Barney” and I are in our 40s and have been married two years. Barney is a neatnik. His nighttime ritual of cleaning up before bed takes an hour or more. Before we can be intimate, this ritual must be performed, which rules out anything in the afternoon or that’s spontaneous. Barney is also a night owl. Sometimes he goes straight from the shower to the Internet or reading, ignoring sex altogether, even if we planned and talked about it. I have fallen asleep many nights waiting for him, only to awaken hours later and see he’s still not beside me. When we discuss it later, he says it’s a selfish habit he “got away with” in his last marriage. He enjoys sex but becomes easily distracted. Should we seek counseling for this or try something else? Barney displays all the signs of ADD and has since his childhood days.
– Frustrated in Clinton, Iowa
Dear Frustrated: By all means seek counseling. The ritual you described could be a symptom of a disorder, or your husband may have a very weak sex drive. However, one thing is clear: If Barney isn’t in bed with you, it’s because he’d rather be elsewhere. For your sake, the sooner you get some straight answers the better you’ll be. His comment about “getting away with it” tells me he knows what he’s doing wasn’t fair to his last wife, and it isn’t fair to you.
Plans not yet finalized
Dear Abby: I am getting divorced and my oldest son is getting married. My soon-to-be-ex-wife does not want my girlfriend to attend. This has put a great deal of pressure on my son and his fiancee. I left my wife for this woman. I love her and would like her to attend with me. What is proper?
– Danny in Delaware
Dear Danny: Because your divorce is not yet final, leave your girlfriend at home. Her absence would be the most thoughtful and considerate gift you could give your son, his bride and your almost-former wife.