Abby: Long marriage is left in limbo by wife’s attraction to women
Dear Abby: After 27 years of marriage, my wife told me she is attracted to other women. To my knowledge, she has acted on this only once.
Every day I wonder where our relationship stands. One day she can’t see herself without me; the next, she says we should divorce. I don’t know if I should end this or wait to see where it goes.
I will need counseling if we divorce, but currently I can’t afford it. Yes, I love her, but what matters most to me is that she is happy. I don’t have anyone else to talk to about this. Any suggestions?
Mr. D. in California
Dear Mr. D.: After 27 years of marriage I can only imagine how shocking your wife’s revelation must have been for you. That she is ambivalent about your marriage must be deeply painful because you are being treated like a yo-yo.
The book “The Other Side of the Closet,” by Amity Pierce Buxton, Ph.D., has been mentioned before in my column and has proven helpful to others in your situation. There is also a support group called the Straight Spouse Network (straightspouse.org), which offers emotional support after a wife or a husband comes out as yours did. Please don’t wait to read the book and visit the website. I think you will find them comforting.
Dear Dr. Roach: I am an 88-year-old man with diabetes on warfarin. I have had redness under the foreskin for years, and pulling it back is getting a little hard to do. No creams or ointments have helped, and my urologist says a circumcision is the only cure. From my reading, it’s not a great procedure to undergo at my age, and the urologist says it takes six weeks to heal. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Dear J.K.: Balanitis, inflammation of the foreskin, is a common problem in men who have not undergone circumcision, especially older men with diabetes. Many conditions may predispose a man to the development of balanitis, but infections — bacterial, viral and especially fungal — are most common. If not properly treated, it can lead to phimosis, the inability to retract the foreskin, which can in turn lead to sexual and urinary problems.
I have seen several patients who have needed circumcision, which is, indeed, the only option for men once the condition has significantly progressed.
Circumcision in adults has a low rate of complications, but the longer that you wait, the higher the risk, so I would advise you to carefully consider the advice of your urologist, who has far more information about you than I do.
Balanitis can be prevented in most men by careful control of diabetes, meticulous hygiene, avoidance of excessively forceful retraction and prompt identification and treatment of any symptoms when they occur.
Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.