Widower Wonders If Age Creates Boundary For Intimacy
DEAR ABBY: My wife of 41 years passed away four years ago. I'm in my mid-60s. I have sought grief counseling to fully process her loss. The counselor has encouraged me to maintain and expand my peer relationships. The counselor has also encouraged dating, which I have tried, but no romances have resulted.
My wife was diagnosed with bipolar type 2 mental disorder, which progressed the longer she lived. When she died, I was glad she no longer had to suffer with her mental illness. With the onset of menopause and the bipolar, her libido had dropped dramatically. The counselor has assured me that if romance develops, sexual relations can happen with women my age.
Because of my religious convictions, I will not have sexual relations before marriage. My question concerns a woman's desire for sexual relations at this stage of life. Are sexual relations something that can be mutually enjoyed, or just a requirement of marriage? -- WONDERING IN IOWA
DEAR WONDERING: Allow me to put your concerns to rest. Seniors are not clones of each other. Some enjoy sex into their 80s; others do not. If both partners are comfortable with their bodies and willing to accommodate the inevitable changes that come as their bodies age, they can enjoy sex as much as couples who are younger.
While your religious beliefs may not allow you to have sex before marriage, there is no reason why the subject can't be honestly discussed, and this is what I urge you to do if you become involved with someone.
DEAR ABBY: Recently, my daughter asked if her girlfriend could stay with us until the two of them move out in a month. To help them out, my husband and I agreed. The problem is, the girlfriend is very insecure about her weight. She's on the heavier side, and my daughter's weight is average. Sometimes when we're talking about fitness or nutrition, it feels like a sore subject for her. I don't want her to feel uncomfortable around us because I watch what I eat. Advice? -- WEIGHTY ISSUE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR WEIGHTY ISSUE: Ask your daughter if mentioning these topics makes her girlfriend uncomfortable. Keep in mind that your houseguest will be staying with you only a few more weeks. Until she leaves, refrain from discussing topics that make her uncomfortable in her presence.
DEAR ABBY: I am 60 and disabled. I desperately would like a dog. I'm not a cat person. I can't get a bird because I have lupus. Working at a shelter isn't an option. I added up all the pluses and minuses, and the minuses were more plentiful. HOWEVER, the pluses are SO tempting.
Logically, I know it would not be fair to either of us. The wiser part of myself says no, but I want someone who is happy when I come home, kisses me, sits on my lap and shares my bed. And someone to care for. Any advice? -- NURTURER IN NEW YORK
DEAR NURTURER: Rescue a dog who needs nurturing as much as you do. Adopt an older one from an animal rescue, and you may save two lives at once. That said, it's important you discuss those pluses and minuses with a veterinarian and take out pet insurance -- just in case the need arises.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)
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