Dear Amy: I'm a 52-year-old, happily married woman.
My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We enjoy a very close, passionate and loving relationship. I've been in menopause for the last year. This can be a challenge, because my libido is waning. My husband's libido has not waned.
Here's the thing: I've developed a crazy, physical crush on my daughter's coach. Amy, he's a good 22 years younger than me and I would absolutely NEVER cheat on my husband with him, BUT his effect on my libido is extraordinary.
My withering ovaries are doing somersaults and my libido seems to have been kicked into overdrive. Needless to say, my husband is thrilled by my sexual revival, but I can't help but feel guilty. Like I said, I adore my husband. He's a spectacular lover and a great person.
My dilemma is that while I feel anguish about my guilty secret, my husband is definitely benefiting.
As long as I don't act on my fantasies, am I OK having them?
I know if the roles were reversed and it was my husband crushing on some nubile beauty, I would feel crazy jealous.
I'd appreciate your insights.
-- What's a Girl to Do?
Dear What's a Girl: You are not cheating. You are not guilty of anything nefarious. You are a perfectly normal woman who is lucky enough to be experiencing a libido-surge during a period that can be very tough.
What you are experiencing now is partly what has made the "50 Shades" books and movies such a phenomenon among women, which is using a fantasy to spark a renewed and refreshed real-life and sexy connection with the person you love. I don't see any difference between fantasizing about Christian Grey (or any ripple-chested attraction from a romance novel) and the soccer coach across a field.
I'm taking your terminology ("crushing") at face value. A great crush will give you a wonderful boost, while relieving you of the complication and guilt of an actual involvement. A not-so-great crush can crush your other relationships.
Crush on this young coach from a distance, and keep it that way.
Furthermore, I hope you will relax your standards concerning your husband's possible fantasies. Sex and love spring from different motivations. Show your love and passion abundantly and without reservation, and feel free to keep your fantasies to yourself.
Dear Amy: Way back in 1983, I was completely devastated after a breakup with a man I deeply loved. I had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized for several days.
On the day I thought he would propose he broke up with me, saying he realized he had been using me on the rebound from a previous relationship.
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Three weeks ago, this same man approached me in the airport and asked me if I was so-and-so.
He was smiling and acted happy to have run into me again after all these years.
Amy, I could feel my insides falling apart all over again. I thought I was going to start crying right there in the airport.
I told him he was mistaken and he moved on, but I'm sure he knew I was lying to him.
How could he think I would be happy to see him? I'm completely broken up all over again, and it seems that all these years later I never really moved on. How can I get beyond this?
Dear Sad: First of all, good burn! He approached you and you denied him. Granted, you did so out of paralysis, but he doesn't know that.
This encounter triggered a long-buried traumatic memory for you. It seems to have erased all the years, and all of the recovery you've made, but it hasn't. You've only hit a skid.
I suggest you get out a pen and paper and make notes of all of your best moments in the past 34 years. Think about all you've done which this experience did not rob you of. Own this, proudly.
A professional counselor could help you make sense of your reaction, and put it into a healthy and forward-looking context.
Dear Amy: Responding to the reader who was considering DNA testing for her adopted son: Please note that most of the DNA testing companies permit you the option of having your matching relatives notified, or not. There is no danger of relatives finding him as long as she selects the "do not notify" option.
-- Sacramento Reader
Dear Reader: Yes, various privacy options should prevent connections. Thank you.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)