DEAR ABBY: I've been married to my best friend for nine years. We have our ups and downs, but we're generally happy. When "Fifty Shades of Grey" came out, I told him I was interested in exploring that scene. He was thrilled because he's always been in the lifestyle but was afraid to scare me away.
Fast forward four years: I no longer wish to be part of it. It's not for me. I agreed to have a live-in submissive with the understanding that she leaves if I say so. But he's now calling me selfish for suggesting it be only the two of us. He has no intention of ever changing it.
She helps him with his company, which is also lifestyle-related, and claims he can't do it without her. Their relationship is nonsexual. Am I selfish for wanting a normal marriage again? He gave me the master bedroom to myself and says that's the compromise and I need to let him be him. What's your opinion? — WRONG TURN IN HOUSTON
DEAR WRONG TURN: Wait a minute! If your husband can't run his company without this woman, then I have to wonder who is the submissive.
If sleeping in an empty master bedroom while he sleeps in another and has a "nonsexual" relationship with this person is what you want for your future, you wouldn't be writing to me. You asked for my opinion, and here it is: Let your husband be himself, permit yourself to be YOURSELF and while you're doing that, consult a divorce lawyer.
DEAR ABBY: I have a really bad fear of babies and toddlers. My brother's wife just had a second child, and I can't stand being around them. I get really bad anxiety, so I avoid them. His first child is 8, but she is disabled and is like a toddler. I get freaked out around her, too.
When they come over, I go outside or into my room and hide. On top of that, my sister is pregnant and living here with me and our parents. I'm only 17, so I can't move out. It's hard enough when my brother visits with his kids, but if one lives with me, I know I'm gonna lose it. I'm too afraid to talk to my parents about this. — LOSING IT IN THE WEST
DEAR LOSING IT: You are NOT going to lose it. You ARE going to talk with your parents about this because you cannot keep hiding in your room forever. The longer you do, the higher your level of anxiety will become.
Have you any idea why you feel the way you do about babies and toddlers? Is it their size, their fragility, the sound of their voices? You may need help from a licensed therapist to get past this. (Some individuals do.) It's important that you understand what is driving this panic because, if you don't, you will find yourself increasingly isolated as your friends and relatives start families.
DEAR ABBY: Our high school-age daughter has a great group of friends. They often spend the night at each other's houses for sleepovers. It's usually two to four girls sharing rooms and beds. My dilemma is that one of her friends is a gay boy. She asked if he could stay over. After some thought, our response was that he could, but in a separate bed. What would your answer have been? — NOT IN THE PARENTING HANDBOOK
DEAR NOT: Mine would have been the same as yours, if only for the sake of "propriety."