Tired of living life for others

Dear Annie: I am 37 and divorced. I identify myself as bisexual and try to live my dating life very privately.

The problem is, my parents are quite judgmental and racist. I dare not say anything about my dating partners, who are of either gender and any color. But I am tired of living my life for others. If I choose to go my own way, however, my two children would lose their grandparents. Any suggestions? – Frustrated in Virginia

Dear Frustrated: You aren’t giving your parents any credit for being able to accept you as you are for the sake of their grandchildren. You don’t need to give them details of your dating life and parade various partners in front of them. No one does. But you should not be afraid to introduce them to someone who becomes a meaningful part of your life, and then give them the time to work through their feelings. You can find support through PFLAG (pflag.org).

Dear Annie: I can’t remember the last time my wife and I were intimate. She even refuses to snuggle in bed. It’s not about sex. She pushed me away so many times it put a knife through my heart. I finally gave up. If I try to talk about it, she becomes angry and refuses to discuss it. She refuses counseling, too. We get along fine in other areas, but I guess that’s only a front. I tried counseling on my own and was told to decide whether to stay or move on.

I have now found someone else. I talk to her online every day. We’ve hugged and kissed. I have fallen in love, and she says the same, but neither of us wants to destroy our families. Please tell all spouses, male or female, that sex doesn’t have to be the only part of intimacy. Show your spouse you love him or her. My heart is broken that I had to find someone else to fill that gap, but I have no intention of letting her go now. – No Name

Dear No Name: We appreciate your honesty, although cheating is not a satisfactory solution. Would it help if you told your wife exactly what she is risking? If she won’t listen, show her this column. Explain that you will not ask for sex if she will simply show affection. (We realize this is not ideal, but it’s an improvement.) Women often don’t realize how much men need a physical touch to feel loved.

Editor’s note: Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Email questions to anniesmailbox@ comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.