DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Alana," and I have been married for 14 years. In many ways our marriage is good, but our sex life is horrible. In my opinion, it has never been good. As time passes, I feel more and more anger toward her. Alana is attractive and physically fit; I don't understand her lack of desire. When the subject of sex comes up, it makes us both clam up.
I have been thinking of leaving her. We have become more like best friends than husband and wife. Our two boys would be crushed if we split. I have not — and would never consider — an affair. What do you think about this?
— TROUBLED HUSBAND IN MISSOURI
DEAR TROUBLED: Good sex is all about open communication. If the subject makes you and your wife both clam up, it's no wonder your sex life has faltered.
Before you and Alana can get on the same wavelength, you need to understand how each of you defines a good sex life. The reason sex therapy has become a medical specialty is that so many couples have the same problems you're experiencing. Before deciding to call it quits, ask your doctor for a referral to a sex therapist.
DEAR ABBY: I am going to be a sophomore in college next year. I played basketball in high school and was offered a full scholarship to play at the college I attend now. I played ball during my freshman year, and I do not want to do it again next year. My heart is no longer in it.
My biggest fear is letting my parents down. I know having my education paid for has helped them out, but don't I have a right to do what makes me happy? Please help me come up with a way to convince them that I'm making the right decision.
— DROPPING THE BALL IN IOWA
DEAR DROPPING THE BALL: Before you make a final decision, you need to know what penalties there may be for dropping your athletic scholarship. You should also check to find out what academic scholarships or loan programs you might qualify for, and if there are any part-time jobs available in case your parents are unable to foot the entire bill for your education. You should also keep in mind that, in a sense, your athletic scholarship is a job that's getting you through college, and it doesn't have to be your heart's desire to be a means to an end.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing to thank the schoolteachers, librarians and counselors who were kind to me when I was an at-risk child.
My mother was mentally ill, my father was absent, and the school was my haven. I often wish I could tell some of those adults who helped me along the way that I did make it, that I turned out OK, and that I'm so grateful for the little and big ways they intervened in my life.
To all who serve children: Please know that even very small kindnesses give hope and strength to the child who doesn't receive them elsewhere.
— TURNED OUT OK THANKS TO YOU
DEAR TURNED OUT OK: You have written a beautiful letter, one that could have been written by many students to the educators and other adults who, by their acts of kindness, made a positive difference in their lives. If we think back, I suspect that most of us have had at least one. I know I have, and I, too, am grateful to them.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.