Q: I am 23, married for four years and have three children. My wife and I have always had strong sex drives. I recently accepted a dream job that pays very well. On the downside, I work 12 to 14 hours a day, and by the time I get home I’m exhausted.
I love my wife very much and want to meet her needs, but she wants sex every night. I’m afraid if I tell her I have to save my energy for my job, it will cause problems. How can I get around this? — Overworked in Arkansas
A: The shortest path to a goal is a direct line. One thing more important in a marriage than sex is communication. Talk to your wife. If you don’t, she may think that after three children you find her less attractive.
Sex is most satisfying when both partners enjoy it. To some women, their standard of living is at least as important as frequent sex. It’s time to find out if the woman you married is one of them. (If she’s not, you may have to change jobs.)
Q: How do I tell my ex I no longer want to baby-sit her son? The boy is not mine. When we lived together she found a job, and I told her I would watch her son on weekends while she was working.
I moved out of the apartment we shared a year ago. Between working nights at my job and her son having special needs and requiring full-time attention, I’m exhausted and losing patience. Is there a graceful way to bow out? — Getting Stressed Out in Virginia
A: Probably not. However, because you feel the responsibility has become more than you are able to handle, you need to tell your ex she needs to make other arrangements for a sitter for her son. Because your relationship with her ended a year ago, I doubt she’ll be surprised. But do not expect her to welcome the news or like it.
Q: I can’t wait until election season is over. One side of my family is liberal; the other side is conservative. At my request, they don’t argue when we are all together. There are occasional disagreements, but fortunately, they never escalate.
The problem is, when I spend time with any of them separately I am lectured nonstop about the “evils” of the other side. They don’t quit. I just want to scream, “Shut up! Shut up! I don’t care!” I am at the point that I no longer want to vote. I don’t know what to do. There’s no way I can avoid my family completely. Please advise. — “shut Up!” in New Mexico
A: Please don’t allow your family drama to stop YOU from voting. Try this: The next time your relatives inject politics into the conversation, smile, look them in the eye and say, “Let’s talk about something pleasant, shall we?” and change the subject.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.