The one that got away?
Dear Annie: My wife and I are in our late 50s and met in high school. “Barb” was the girl of my dreams, a cheerleader, popular and athletic. We began dating as seniors and married after I graduated from college. After we married, I noticed that Barb had little interest in sex. I was always the initiator, and this seemed to irritate her and made our intimacy rare. I decided to bury myself in my work and ignored the issue. Today we are happily married and have children and grandchildren, and she is still my best friend. Sex isn’t as much an issue, as I am older and have ignored my sexuality for years anyway.
While we were dating back when, there was another girl, “Helen,” who made it obvious that she was interested in me. Helen was easily the prettiest girl I had ever met, but I ignored those feelings and stayed true to Barb. I would see Helen at reunions — the five-year, 10-year and 15-year — and it took me a few months each time to get over the feelings that I had for her. We stopped going to these reunions, partly because we had moved to another state and it was inconvenient to travel.
The most recent reunion was arranged over social media, and I kept seeing pictures of Helen. She is still gorgeous, married with children and grandchildren. Three years later, I am still compelled to Google her to learn everything I can about her. This has turned into a compulsion that I cannot stop. I haven’t told my wife because this would only create havoc in our marriage. I am not interested in speaking to a psychologist.
— Love Lost
Dear Love Lost: I’m sure many people at some point indulge in a bit of “what if” daydreaming, whether it be about another person they might have married or a career path they might have taken. But we all know that the grass isn’t really greener on the other side; it just seems that way to those unsatisfied with their lot. Your crush on Helen has more to do with your relationship with Barb. The fact that you’ve ignored your sexuality for years doesn’t mean it’s not an issue anymore. Though every marriage is different, it’s important to share some form of intimacy. Redirect the energy spent Googling Helen into searching for ways to revitalize your marriage, whether through counseling or an open, noncritical conversation with Barb.
Dear Annie: I love your column; I never miss it. Thank you for your advice. You’ve printed some letters from people complaining about noise. I can relate. I’m an 89-year-young man. I hear very well, but with too much background noise, I get headaches.
Even just being in buildings with loud people, I cannot take it. So I have troubles and sound like an old grouch. This is life.
— Sam K.
Dear Sam: It might be worth talking to your doctor about solutions to protect your ears so you can keep partying to polka indefinitely.