Dear Annie: I am a 37-year-old man, married for 13 years. I have the newspaper delivered just to read your column. I wanted to comment on the letter from “Having a Stroke in Pennsylvania.” She said her husband has an addiction to porn and has no interest in having sex with her.
I, too, found myself in that situation. My wife finally cornered me and insisted I tell her why. In my particular situation, it was my wife’s weight. When we first married, she was stunning. Within two years, and after our first child, she gained over 60 pounds and continued to eat poorly. I suddenly found myself not attracted to her anymore. I am not proud of it, but I couldn’t change how I felt.
I never said anything about her weight because I thought it would seem shallow, that it shouldn’t be important to me, and I truly loved her. I stayed in our marriage because of the children and eventually found myself where I thought I would never be — lost in pornography addiction.
I know my decision to find satisfaction through porn was wrong. We went to counseling, and both of us made big decisions — that I wouldn’t use porn and she would lose the weight. That was 18 months ago. My wife has returned to her pre-marriage weight, and I haven’t peeked at porn since. — Bliss in Arkansas
Dear Bliss: We know there are others who find it difficult to remain physically attracted to a spouse who has become severely overweight, and we appreciate your honesty. Counseling was the right decision. However, for most men, an addiction to porn has nothing to do with the wife’s appearance. Read on:
From Alaska: I am a sexaholic and in recovery. My addiction was porn sites on the Internet. I didn’t think I had a problem. My intimacy with my wife dropped to almost zero, and when we did make love, I couldn’t perform. I blamed her, saying she was in menopause and had no interest. But I was lying to myself, hiding it from her and saying nothing was wrong. My wife found out, and it almost destroyed my marriage. I joined Sexaholics Anonymous (www.sa.org). Being in recovery is not easy, but it has freed me from a weight I didn’t realize I was carrying. To her credit, my wife has stuck by me. Our relationship is stronger now than before.
Dear Annie: I was upset by your answer to “Wondering,” the widower who wanted to know when it was appropriate to remove his wedding ring. It is NOT always to let the world know you’re available. I lost my beloved husband of 31 years a year ago. His death was sudden and devastating. I know it will get better with time, but for now, the grief is still raw.
Seeing my ring, salespeople have asked if my husband liked the dress I bought. My new manicurist wanted to know if my husband liked the color of my nail polish. All I can think is, I’m a widow, I’m a widow, I’m a widow, and I break down in tears.
Without my ring, I don’t get those questions. But thanks to your column, I’ve had to put my rings back on, because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I’m ready to date again. — Sobbing in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Dear Sobbing: The fact that most widows or widowers do this does not mean you have to. Removing wedding bands is a personal decision, and it is perfectly understandable if you find that wearing one is too painful. Perhaps you might consider wearing the ring on your other hand or dangling from a necklace. Our condolences on your loss.
“Annie’s Mailbox” is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar. This column was originally published in 2016. 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.