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Dear Abby: My wife and I have been married for years. We married young, and I’m the only man she has been with. Although we seem to have a good sex life, she’s now saying she wants more. She wants to experiment and is suggesting we try a “swinging” lifestyle — a threesome or foursome — swapping partners.

I think she wants to experience a stronger, more physically attractive man. I’m not against it. I fantasize about watching her with another man, and it could be exciting to make love with other women. However, my question to you and your readers is, does this lifestyle enhance a marriage or does it usually lead to severe marriage issues?

Considering It in California

Dear Considering It: Depending upon the people involved, the swinging lifestyle can either enhance or destroy a marriage. If the couple is honest with each other from the beginning, establishes firm ground rules and adheres to them, it won’t hurt the marriage. However, if one partner feels coerced into participating, it can be destructive, which is why I do not recommend it.

Dear Abby: One of my very close friends self-harms. She constantly slits her wrists and forearms. I desperately want her to stop, but I don’t know how to convince her not to hurt herself.

I would talk to her parents about it, but she doesn’t feel comfortable around her dad, and her mom is part of the reason she self-harms. She had a therapist she could talk to, but not anymore.

I want her to feel loved, but so far, all I’ve been doing to help is listen when she talks. She needs to be able to see herself as others do. What can I do to help her? I don’t want to sit idle while she struggles.

Good Friend in Kansas

Dear Good Friend: You are a caring person, but your friend has serious emotional problems you don’t have the training or experience to handle. She will need professional help to get to the root of her emotional pain before she can stop cutting.

Because she no longer has a therapist and her parents are part of the problem, tell a counselor at school that your friend is self-harming. Perhaps there can be an intervention if her problem is approached that way.

Dear Abby: I’ve read your column for 40 years, and now that I’m retired, I find myself composing little “Dear Abby” conversations in my mind as I go through the day and meet small challenges or hear about them from acquaintances. You know what I mean — what should Tom do about his abusive daughter or how should I address the neighbors’ habit of feeding the deer? I literally ask you for guidance, then argue with the advice I think you would give — sometimes out loud. Is this a sign of creeping insanity or something worse?

Blabbering in Missoula

Dear Blabbering: It isn’t a sign of creeping insanity. It’s a sign that you may need another woman in your life besides Dear Abby.

Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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