Dear Ann:

I have been married to the same woman for 36 years. "Aretha" and I had a storybook marriage until six years ago, when she took a job in a town about 100 miles away. She maintains an apartment there, and comes home on the weekends. A few months after she took this job, she got a face-lift. I had no idea she was considering such a thing. After that, our sex life stopped dead.

Aretha says she loves me, but no longer feels any passion. We tried counseling, which I thought was helping, but she refused to stick with it. Not long ago, she told me she didn't want to be married anymore, but hasn't taken any steps to get a divorce. Three months ago, she changed jobs again, and is planning to move even farther away. She still plans to come home on weekends in order to give family members and friends the impression that all is well.

I don't think there is anyone else, but I can't get her to communicate. I truly love this woman, but she doesn't return my feelings. I am only 54, Ann, and don't want to live the rest of my life like this. Can you help me?

Ed in Ohio

Sounds as if Aretha doesn't want to be your wife any longer, and is keeping the marriage as is while she shops around. I suggest you return to the counselor by yourself and get some guidance on what to do about this strange turn of events. It sounds as if your love boat has hit an iceberg, and is in danger of sinking.

Dear Ann:

Now that winter is here, I hope you will print this for all people who drive when it snows. Please, folks, clean off your car completely. This means the roof, hood, trunk, taillights, headlights, all the windows and especially the turning signals.

I know it's inconvenient, and you're in a hurry, and you'd rather just clean off as much window space as is necessary to see out of, but that's not enough. As you drive, the snow off your roof blows onto the windshield of the car behind you, temporarily creating hazardous conditions. Other drivers cannot see your brake lights or turning signals, and have no idea where you are going, or if you are stopping. Pedestrians are at risk because you cannot see them out your snow-covered side windows; you could hit a young child without realizing it.

Even though it's cold outside, please take a few extra minutes and clean your car completely. You could save some lives.

A Mom in Canada

Dear Ann:

I am having a problem with my future mother-in-law. I was raised in the South, but my girlfriend is from the Midwest. Where I come from, it is considered extremely rude to walk into someone else's house without knocking on the door or ringing the bell. When my girlfriend's mother insisted on dropping in unexpectedly, we were forced to lock our doors at all times. Now, she peeks in the windows.

Do you have any suggestions other than wiring the doorknobs and windows with a healthy dose of electricity?

Mike in Nebraska

Although it sounds as if you wouldn't mind electrocuting your mother-in-law, it isn't necessary. Keep your doors and windows locked as a precaution against any and all intruders. This is simply common sense. Curtains or blinds will keep your mother-in-law from peeking in your windows whether you are home or not. There are also window coverings that allow you to see out but prevent others from seeing in. Check out your options.

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