Annie's Mailbox: Stuck in the Middle
Dear Annie: My husband, "Ricardo," is a naturally curious man. He usually asks questions in a charming manner, showing genuine interest in family and friends.
We have a teenage son. Ricardo often asks him probing questions about his girlfriend, which upsets our son. I totally get that Ricardo is interested and concerned for our son, so often I try to smooth the waves and attempt to let Ricardo know that he is being too pushy. I try to say this in a lighthearted way during the conversation in order to defuse the tension.
This infuriates Ricardo. He says I am undermining his parental authority. Annie, our son is a fine, outstanding young man. He does well in school, has great friends and participates in meaningful activities. It's not as if he is up to something just because he doesn't want to talk about his girlfriend. He just wants some privacy.
I only intervene in these conversations when I see the tension rising and my son getting frustrated or angry. Ricardo has told me that I should mind my own business and tell him in private what I think and not do it in front of our son. Is he right? It makes me feel that I'm not being supportive of our son. Should I just walk away from their conversation and keep my feelings to myself? Right now, I have an upset son and a furious husband. -- Stuck in the Middle
Dear Stuck: You both need a new approach. Grilling a teenager about his social life will backfire every time, and Ricardo should know better. And when you intervene, even with good reason, Ricardo thinks it makes him the bad guy in front of your son. Have a private conversation with your husband and tell him that peppering the boy with questions will simply make him clam up and become resentful. It's easier to get information when you aren't trying so hard. (Perhaps he remembers his own teenage years.) The two of you should instead agree upon a silent signal when his questions get out of hand. In return, promise to share what you learn.
Dear Annie: Do you know why I'm not interested in sex with my husband? It gives me no satisfaction. My husband's idea of sex is 30 seconds of satisfying himself. He is boring, boring, boring.
My husband is a controlling person, so if I initiate sex, he isn't interested. It always has to be his idea. I've read everything I could about having a good sex life and tried for years to please him. But he thinks sexual pleasure is only for him and the rest is a tool to punish me. I've told him how I feel, but he is never wrong and can't handle criticism. He refuses counseling. Sometimes, I wonder whether he is gay.
I had an affair, and the sex was wonderful, but I broke it off. Now I'm considering divorce in the hope that I can find a man who believes that sex ought to be fun and enjoyable for both partners. Boring sex might be a reason some women lose interest. That's my two cents. -- Tired of It All
Dear Tired: Dissatisfaction can be a reason to avoid sex, but your real problem is a husband who doesn't care that you are unhappy. His disinterest in your concerns goes beyond the bedroom. Whether or not you divorce, please get counseling on your own so you can better navigate the rocks ahead.
Dear Annie: Dumfounded Niece was upset that she hadn't received any acknowledgment of the flowers she sent to her aunt's funeral.
My mother sent flowers to the funeral of her brother in another state. When Mom asked my aunt whether the flowers looked nice, she was told they never arrived. Our local florist discovered that the flowers had never been sent from the florist in the other state. -- Arlene in North Dakota
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2014. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.