Wanting the Clothes-Free Life
Dear Annie: I'm a man in my 30s who is a nudist at heart. Though I enjoy doing things clothes-free, my wife, "Jamie," does not. Jamie has gone with me to a nude beach -- and "participated" -- only once, and that was as a gift for my quitting smoking.
Jamie reluctantly allows me to attend one nudist event a year, but I have found myself wanting to do more -- doing online research about different nudist sites in my area.
I know that Jamie would not want to go to any nudist events herself -- though I would love it if she changed her mind -- so I'm trying to figure out how best to broach the topic of my wanting to go alone.
The problem is that she, like so many others, mistakenly believes that naturism is a sexual thing. For me and the vast majority of nudists, it's not. I simply enjoy the freedom of being able to be outside naked. Also, most nudists are quite a bit older than I am.
How should I let my wife know about my desire to go to more nudist events? -- Free Bird
Dear Free Bird: If being a naturist is that important to you, I would say to continue this dialogue with your wife about why you enjoy it and what the benefits are for you as an individual. Marriage is about compromise and seeing things from the other perspective, so it does put a small damper on just how free of a bird you can be. Continue to talk to her about the importance of it to you, and be grateful that she does not object to your annual nudist event, especially because she has no interest in participating. You can never force someone to do something she does not want to do, but you can continue to communicate to her about why it is so important to you.
Dear Annie: My wife of 30 years moved out of the home a year and a half ago and into our adjoining apartment. We had not been getting along for a while. I am not a bad person; I have never gone out on my wife. But she is always angry with me, and it seems I can't do anything right.
Originally, our plans were to eventually sell our house, retire and travel. My thinking has changed over time. I love my wife. But it seems very unrealistic to consider selling everything to retire with someone who doesn't like me and can't even live with me under the same roof.
I feel our relationship needs to be fixed before there is any discussion of retirement and selling the house, especially because I love where we live. She is angry with me for changing our plans. She sends me emails accusing me of being a liar. I am confused and frustrated. We're seeing individual counselors and a couples therapist together. The couples therapist says my wife is full of wrath. My counselor says that it sounds as if she has deeper issues than the relationship and that I need to take care of myself. I would appreciate your perspective. -- Blamed and Alone
Dear Blamed and Alone: My perspective is the same as your counselor's. Your wife's profound unhappiness wasn't caused by your marriage and certainly won't be fixed by it. She needs to decide for herself that she's tired of being miserable and really commit to treatment. I think you're wise to hold off on selling the house. If you were to travel the world together with all this resentment in tow, it would weigh you down so much that it would be the only thing you remember about the trip. Continue with counseling, and take your own self-care seriously.
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