KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox Alienated affection hurts a marriage

Dear Annie: My husband, "Harry," and I have been married for 11 years -- it's a second marriage for both of us. Things were fine at first but have gone downhill so quickly that I just don't know what to do anymore.
Harry has not come close to me for at least six years -- I mean no touching, kissing, hugging, sex, nothing. We live in an area for seniors where we have everything in the world to do -- play golf, swim, dance, do ceramics -- yet Harry does not participate. Many of us are not athletic, but we ride in the golf carts, play in the pool, try our hand at shuffleboard, etc. Harry will not do any of these things. I go with the other couples, but I feel strange because I am the only one whose husband refuses to join in.
Any time I've tried to talk to him about it, he starts yelling and blaming everything on me. I am never right. I love Harry, and I want to stay with him. We go to church together, and the preacher speaks about the importance of married couples doing things together, but Harry never seems to hear the sermon. I tried to get him to see our minister, but he says the minister and his wife fight all the time. I have no idea where he got this information.
My husband reads your column every morning and always has a comment, usually positive. Your help on this matter would be really appreciated. Need Advice
Dear Need Advice: It's possible Harry is concerned about a physical ailment, or he may be depressed (or both). He believes if everyone will just leave him alone, he'll be fine. But when your marriage is affected, it's not fine, and it is likely to get worse. Ask your husband if he will get a complete physical and then go with you to a counselor outside your community. Ask him to do it as a favor to you, for the health of your marriage. And, Harry, if you are reading this -- go.
Dear Annie: I am a stepmom to a very active young lady. Her mother and father (my husband) both work full time, and I am a stay-at-home mom to our four children.
Every time my stepdaughter needs a ride, gets out of school early or has a doctor's appointment, I have to pack up our four children and have them sit in the car for an hour or more while I take her someplace. My stepdaughter and her mother assume since I don't punch a clock, I am available at their beck and call.
The other day, I had made plans with my children. My stepdaughter needed a ride somewhere, and when my husband explained that I was busy, his ex's reply was, "It's not like she works!"
I love my stepdaughter, but I am tired of being her personal taxi service. Am I being selfish? Step-Taxi
Dear Step-Taxi: How often does this happen? You should be willing to take your stepdaughter places, as you would your own child, if necessity demands it. If this happens frequently, however, her parents are taking advantage of you. Tell your husband you will make yourself available in case of emergency, but otherwise, he and his ex should make other arrangements -- even if that means your husband has to take her to doctor's appointments. This is what parents do.
Dear Annie: You recently said one of the first uses of the word "callipygian" was by Thomas Pynchon in his book "Gravity's Rainbow." I remembered seeing the word as a kid, so I did some research in my Oxford English Dictionary and found that the word was used at least as early as the 1640s by Thomas Browne. Since Pynchon's book came out in the 1970s, you were just three centuries off. D.W.M.
Dear D.W.M.: Thanks for the correction. My, how time flies.
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