Annie's Mailbox: Upset in N.Y.C.
Dear Annie: I am a 54-year-old widow living in a large and active retirement community. I am engaged to "Pete," a 64-year-old man whom I've been seeing for a year. We get along very well and have many common interests.
Pete has a 20-year-old mentally challenged son living with him, and we also get along fine. (My grown children live in another state.) Pete's son would live with us after we marry, and I am OK with that. We've set a date and even had an engagement party. Now everything is turning into a nightmare.
Pete and I have had some heavy make-out sessions, but we have never had sex. He now tells me he cannot "perform." It doesn't really matter to me, but he's turning it into a huge problem. He says that in order to really be married, according to his religion, it has to be consummated, and that because he isn't capable of doing so, his son should be his stand-in. Pete would be there to make sure everything was completed. I was shocked to say the least. He has told a number of our friends about this, and they think he's crazy. They also think I'm crazy to still be with him. He says if I love him it won't matter and that it is only a one-time thing.
Pete says this is "nonnegotiable." I don't want anything to do with it, but if I marry Pete, all of our friends will think I slept with his son, even if I haven't. If I'd known this before we got engaged, I never would have agreed to marry him. I am in good health and do not need him financially. What do I do? -- Upset in N.Y.C.
Dear Upset: Leave. Now. The reason various religions expect marriages to be consummated is to produce children. You are not going to do that, so Pete's request is completely unreasonable. If he wants his son to have a sexual experience, he can hire a professional. But you ought to get away from this nuttiness while you still can. We guarantee it won't be the last crazy demand he makes.
Dear Annie: I know there are free and low-cost options for people who need counseling for depression. Do you know of any such resources for couples who could use a marriage tune-up but don't have much money? -- Daisy
Dear Daisy: First check with your local YMCA or YWCA, as well as university counseling centers and your place of worship. Your county, state or city is likely to offer free or low-cost family counseling, which usually includes marriage counseling, and you may be eligible for those services. You also can look online to see whether there are community counseling centers in your area. Worldwide Marriage Encounter (wwme.org) for Catholic couples is free, and there are other Marriage Encounter programs that are not faith-based and often operate on a small donation. Every marriage could use a "tune-up" now and then. Good luck.
Dear Annie: As the wife of a prostate cancer survivor, I want to expand on your answer to "Missing It." Prostate cancer is a couple's disease because it affects the sexual relationship. Here are my ideas to improve the situation:
Buy pads instead of diapers. (They are available for men, but women's pads will work, too.) A guy feels more like a guy in his own underwear. He should do Kegel exercises. Join a gym and work out together. Exercise is a mood elevator, and strong core muscles help with incontinence.
Find a prostate cancer support group and attend as a couple. Shower together since it won't matter if he leaks in the shower, and soapy rubdowns can lead to other things. Research penile pumps, injections, implants and medications to relieve ED. Be creative in the bedroom. And finally, if your doctor is not supportive, find another. -- Love My Husband
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. 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.