Ask Amy: Life is tough at the center of the 'sandwich'

Tribune Media ServicesSeptember 23, 2013 

DEAR AMY: I am a married woman with a family. I am also caring for my elderly father, who is staying with us during his recovery from various ailments. My husband and I have not been intimate in a while.

During the week we both work, in addition to our other responsibilities. This past Sunday my dad's friend offered to take my dad out for a few hours, giving us the opportunity to go somewhere with the kids, to have fun and relax.

I waited around all day. It was not until we were ready to sit down at the table for dinner that my husband finally said, "Where was it that you wanted to go?" By then it was too late and I was exhausted.

Whenever I ask my husband to do something with me, he says, "After the game." Then it's tennis, golf or some movie that he has to see. It seems as though there is never time for just us — we hardly leave the house on the weekends. When I try to talk to him about it, he tells me I'm nagging. I've tried to be patient, but I have needs too — and he doesn't seem to care.

Do you have any suggestions? I'm ready to leave. — Frustrated Mom

DEAR FRUSTRATED: There is nothing more enervating and exhausting than being a caretaker in the sandwich generation. Your husband is treating you like a piece of baloney at the center of that sandwich — he is not being a good or thoughtful partner.

My first suggestion is that you should leave. By leave, I mean that you should at least leave the house (not necessarily the marriage). You should not wait around for an entire day in hopes that your husband might finally decide that he is ready to go somewhere with you.

Ideally, you should each have some time alone each week to recharge and refresh. (Your local office on aging can help arrange for occasional interim care for your father.) And — as unromantic as this may sound — you two should schedule at least one night a week when you concentrate on connecting intimately as a couple.

The best time to communicate is not when the clock is ticking, but when you're relatively relaxed. Ultimately, you are responsible for doing your best to get what you need — your husband seems to have mastered this, and I suggest you do the same.

DEAR AMY: I'm a college student. Over the summer, I met a guy at a recurring social event. He is a nice guy, and at the time we had a mutual attraction. I admitted via one of our text discussions that I thought I liked him. We "went out" a couple of times but we are not dating.

As the summer stretched on, I realized that there are some things about him I find off-putting, and then he said something that's a deal-breaker for me, and I have pretty much lost any attraction I had toward him. However, he still acts as if he likes me, though he's never explicitly said so.

I've just started school again, and I have met one or two guys who I may be interested in dating. If so, what is my obligation to the guy back home? How would I ever begin to bring it up? — No Man's Land

DEAR NO MAN: You are under no obligation to the guy back home. You do not need to wait until you are interested in someone else — if he asks you out and you are not interested in dating him, you should tell him so. Ideally this would have been conveyed back in the summer, just after the deal-breaker. Your only obligation is to be brave enough to be truthful.

DEAR AMY: I'd like to offer a suggestion to "Lazy," the woman who reported that she didn't have the energy to complete any task.

My daughter had the exact same issue. I knew something was off. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and with meds she feels like a new person. — Relieved

DEAR RELIEVED: I hope "Lazy" sees a doctor too.

(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: askamytribune.com. You can also follow her on Twitter askingamy or "like" her on Facebook. Amy Dickinson's memoir, "The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter and the Town that Raised Them" (Hyperion), is available in bookstores.) 

 

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