Dear Abby: Can you be sexually harassed/abused by your spouse? My husband talks dirty to me and grabs at my breasts. I have repeatedly asked him to stop, but he doesnít listen and continues to do it. We have two small kids at home, and by the time they go to bed, I could care less about being intimate.
His behavior disgusts me, and to be honest, I donít want to have sex with him. I have female problems and have told him it hurts, but it makes no difference to him. He touches me in front of the kids, and I have to slap his hand away.
I canít leave him because I donít have a car or income for myself, nor do I have family or friends close by. I canít go to his family because they see him in a different light. What would you suggest, and is it harassment ó and could I press charges?
Leave My Aura Alone
Dear Aura: You have mentioned so many problems in your short letter that itís hard to know where to begin. While your husbandís attempts at foreplay are beyond clumsy and ineffective, I canít help but feel some sympathy for him because it appears you have him on a starvation diet.
How long this can continue for either of you is uncertain. Rather than try to charge harassment, why not schedule an appointment with your gynecologist and find out WHY having sex is painful for you. It is not supposed to be, and your doctor may be able to help you resolve the problem. Marriage counseling might also help, because itís clear you and your husband arenít communicating on any meaningful level.
If these problems are not resolvable, you canít continue living like this and neither can he. Because your family isnít nearby and you have no transportation, call or write them and let them know you may need their help to return. If they are unable to help you, contact a domestic abuse hotline. Unwanted sexual advances could be considered harassment, and sex without consent is rape.
Dear Abby: It absolutely frosts me when parents head for the toy department so their children will have something to play with while they shop. Then, after the kids have spent time drooling, teething, sneezing, etc., they leave the dirty toys at the end of the aisle for someone else to buy.
Yesterday I saw a child sucking on the paw of a stuffed animal. When I commented on how that must be the childís favorite toy, the mother said it wasnít theirs ó she was just keeping the little boy quiet while she shopped.
Last week I stood behind someone in the checkout line. In her childís mouth was the ribbon from a Mylar balloon. When the mother finished loading her groceries onto the conveyor belt, she said, ďTime to put this back now!Ē
Itís my pet peeve: First the germs they get from sucking on this stuff, then the ones everyone else is exposed to from the child. And on top of that thereís the stealing, because I have seen children break toys.
Why canít these parents throw something in the diaper bag before they leave home?
Put It Down! in Virginia
Dear Put It Down: Because the parents arenít doing their job ó they are forgetful or lazy, and have no consideration for the store owners or other shoppers. Sadly, parents like the ones you have described raise children who are just like themselves.
Dear Abby: Iím getting married, and in my excitement, I asked four of my good friends to be my bridesmaids. As the date grows closer, I am realizing just how much a wedding really costs. Would it be wrong for me to change my mind about having bridesmaids? The girls havenít paid for anything yet or wasted any time during the planning process.
Please help me. I donít want to hurt anyoneís feelings, but I canít afford to have a wedding party.
Dear Southern Belle: Contact your good friends individually and explain the situation just as you have explained it to me. Once they understand that financial constraints prevent you from having the wedding you fantasized about, none of them should feel slighted that you need to scale back. Frankly, I commend you on your good judgment in recognizing this now.
Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.