DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married for 42 years. For the most part, we have had a good marriage. We raised two children, are helping to raise three grandchildren and still enjoy each other's company.
I am retiring shortly and looking forward to enjoying it. For years I have anticipated being free to travel the country and see things I didn't have the time to see when I was employed. The problem is, I like the idea of seeing the country via road trip. My wife says she's a "homebody" and doesn't want to be "stuck in the car" for a week.
Several friends have suggested I should take my road trips without my wife. I don't really want to do that, and she says that if I did, she would feel deserted. How can I be a good husband and spend time with my wife, and not feel cheated out of something I have wanted to do for so long? — HEADED FOR THE OPEN ROAD
DEAR HEADED: I can't help thinking about how many widows would give anything to share an adventure like that with their husband. I also don't think leaving one's spouse for a week qualifies as desertion. Many husbands and wives do it regularly to conduct their business. Perhaps if you return from one of your excursions with tales of how beautiful and interesting the road trip was, it will pique her interest.
P.S. If the problem is that your vehicle is too small, have you considered renting something larger to give your wife more room to stretch out?
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been together for almost 20 years. With every year that passes, I fall more in love with him. He's a wonderful person who treats me very well.
I could go on and on about how caring and considerate he is. However, when it comes to being intimate, I'm just not interested. I have known him for so long and know him so well that, for me, the "spark" is extinguished. In some ways, he almost feels like a brother, which makes it difficult to have sexual feelings.
I tell him many times a day that I love him, because I do. I want him to know he's my best friend and I care deeply about him. We have tried role playing, games, sexy clothing, etc. — nothing helps me. I go through the motions when I must, because I know it is one of the ways he expresses his love for me.
I don't want to be with anyone else. I just want to know how I can feel excited about being intimate again. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. — EXTINGUISHED SPARKS
DEAR EXTINGUISHED: My suggestion would be to have a frank talk with your OB/GYN about this, and ask for a referral to an endocrinologist — a doctor who specializes in hormones. If, after a checkup, your hormone balances are what they should be, some sessions with a psychologist for you — and a sex therapist for both of you — might relight the spark that has fizzled. It's worth a try.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.