DEAR ABBY: My wife and I have been married 17 years. For the most part, our marriage has been great, and I love her very much. Lately, though, I have felt that our sexual and emotional intimacy has been lacking. I spoke to her about it recently and tried to explain how I feel. She has responded, and things are improving.
Still, she spends most of her time on her cellphone checking email, Facebook, Pinterest and watching Netflix. At bedtime, she stays on her phone or laptop until after I have gone to bed. When she comes to bed, she ignores me and goes straight to sleep, even if I have been lying there awake in the dark waiting for her.
Has she fallen in love with her cellphone? Even if we don't have sex all the time, I would just like to be able to talk to her or hold her for a minute before we go to sleep. Any suggestions other than throwing her phone out the window? -- ABANDONED HUSBAND IN UTAH
DEAR ABANDONED: You say your wife has responded and things are hopeful. That means she is at least receptive to working on your marital relationship.
The problems that cellphones cause in relationships is something I am hearing about with increasing frequency. People have become so dependent upon their digital companions that in some cases it's impossible to turn them off because people have become literally addicted.
In cases like this, a licensed therapist should be consulted. Of course, like any addiction the sufferer must be willing to admit there is a problem and want to do something about it. I wish there was a 12-step program to which I could refer you, but I was unable to locate one. In the future I'm willing to bet that they'll sprout up like mushrooms.
DEAR ABBY: Six months ago, I realized I had a drinking problem and decided to go through a chemical dependence program as an outpatient. I'm sober now and attend meetings a few times a week. My problem is someone I was barely acquainted with was also in the same program. I didn't regard it as a problem at first, but now I'm concerned.
At a meeting a few months ago, I mentioned to the group that I also attend a meeting in another town closer to my home. Next thing I know, this man is attending the same meeting. He always makes a point of telling me about what's going on with the people we went through treatment with.
I am active in service work and plan to attend a regional meeting at a resort over a weekend. Guess who has suddenly decided to do the same?
I'm nervous about being around this man. I don't want to compromise his sobriety, but I can't stand seeing him at every meeting and event I attend. My husband is also bothered by it, and I'm considering not attending any meetings at all because he's creeping me out. How should I handle this? -- SOBER AND CREEPED OUT
DEAR CREEPED OUT: If there is a group moderator or contact, discuss this with that person. Because you want less contact with your "admirer," look around for another group. Even if you will have to travel a bit farther, it will be worth the effort.
If you do happen to run into him in the future and he tries to engage you in conversation about other patients from your program, cut the conversation short by telling him you are not interested in hearing about them. One of the hallmarks of 12-step programs is anonymity -- and it should be respected.
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.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)