DEAR ABBY: Please settle a yearly disagreement.
If I offer to take the birthday girl out for lunch, I will be paying the bill. So which of us chooses the restaurant? I say I should get to choose where to host the celebration for which I’m paying. Birthday girl insists she gets to choose where I’m going to take her, since it’s her birthday. — UNSURE IN FLORIDA
DEAR UNSURE: The choice of where to take your guest should be yours, not hers. Between you and me, I think she is nervy to suggest otherwise.
DEAR ABBY: A decade ago, before my wife and I had children, we were deeply in love with each other. Everything was great in the bedroom and outside. After we had children, my wife did a 180. She’s no longer affectionate with me at all.
We barely hold hands, we never hug, and kissing is prohibited except maybe a kiss before bed. We kiss like it’s an obligation. There’s no touching in our relationship. In the bedroom we used to be more physical and less restrained. I wanted her to be satisfied, without getting more specific. Now, if we are intimate, it’s once a month during the summer and maybe twice a month otherwise. She won’t allow me to touch parts of her body, and she’s physically and emotionally remote.
When I addressed this with her, she informed me that other couples are intimate less frequently than we are. She has let her body go, and doesn’t diet or even try to watch her weight, and I’m concerned for her health because she has become obese. If I try to bring these matters up, she flies into a rage. Abby, AM I being selfish? — MISSING THE CLOSENESS
DEAR MISSING: The answer to that question is no. Something has gone radically wrong with your marriage and you have been iced out. Sometimes when children come into the picture, couples “forget” how to be friends and lovers because they are so distracted, tired, etc.
You and your wife need to discuss this in the office of a licensed therapist. If she’s unwilling to do that, have some sessions alone so you can find a way to get through to her or figure out whether you want to continue living in “Siberia” until your children become adults.
DEAR ABBY: Our 10-year-old granddaughter has a speech impediment, which is becoming more and more significant. It is clear this is not something she’s going to outgrow. She is homeschooled and doesn’t attend any sort of speech therapy. Her mom knows it exists and has mentioned the speech issue in passing.
I don’t want to offend our daughter, but I also don’t want to see this sweet little girl have a problem that is going to be more difficult to fix as she gets older. Is there a diplomatic way to address this? The last thing I want to do is upset our daughter, but I’m really worried about our granddaughter. Your thoughts? — PLAINLY SPOKEN IN OREGON
DEAR PLAINLY SPOKEN: Getting your granddaughter the help she needs to overcome her speech impediment is more important than worrying about upsetting your daughter by pointing out the obvious. By all means, speak up.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.