Dear Annie: I am 63, and my husband, “Jake,” is 67. Jake has been watching a lot of pornography. He lies over and over about how he is no longer doing it, and I slowly forgive him. But years have gone by, and I keep catching him through the history on his computer. He’ll deny it until I show him the proof, and even then, he tries to squirm out of it.
I’m pretty sure Jake is ashamed of this, but why can’t he stop? He has tried counseling. I feel so much anger and disgust. Do I have to accept him as he is?
-- No One To Share This With
Dear No One: A lot of men like to look at pornography. The problem with Internet porn is that it is interactive and addictive. It’s not so easy to stop. And if Jake is retired and spending a lot of time at home, the lure of the computer is hard to resist.
We will assume that Jake has a satisfying sex life with you, making the pornography more habit than substitute. We also trust that Jake is not contacting any of the women (a more serious problem). So talk to him about voluntarily curtailing his activities by putting a lock on the computer or making porn sites inaccessible so he isn’t tempted. You can sweetly explain how disturbing his porn viewing is to you and how it makes you feel. But in the end, you must decide what you can tolerate. For a start, we suggest you stop snooping in his browser history. You’ll sleep better.
Dear Annie: Over the years, I’ve seen letters regarding women who are bullied by husbands or mothers-in-law for giving birth to a girl instead of a boy. In much of the world, women are still physically and mentally abused for having given birth to the “wrong” sex. They are ostracized, and some are even killed.
Please educate your readers that it is the sperm of the man and nothing else that determines the sex of a child. The woman has absolutely no control over the baby’s sex — either before, during or after conception.
It is surprising how many people are not aware of this basic biological fact.
-- B.B.G. in New Haven, Conn.
Dear New Haven: Some folks are still ignorant on the subject, but others are determined to blame the woman regardless of what anyone tells them. This misogynistic bullying has been around for eons and provides an excuse to abuse women — not that abusers need an excuse.
We hope your letter helps even one person understand that the gender of a baby is not a “flaw” and that it has nothing to do with the mother in any event.
Dear Annie: Like “Lost for an Answer,” I wear suspenders and often have them snapped by someone else. If the suspender snapper is not wearing suspenders, I feel demeaned. But if he is wearing suspenders, too, then it is a salute from a brother.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org