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Dear Abby 1/3

Young couple's sex life is none of parents' business

DEAR ABBY: My husband returned from Iraq a few days ago, and, of course, my parents wanted to talk to him. Well, when they called, Dad and Mom both made off-color comments to me about our sex life. They always want to joke about it, but I never do. It's none of their business.
    I don't discuss my sex life even with my closest female friend. I believe sex is something that is private between a husband and wife. My husband is the only man I have ever slept with.
    My parents, especially my father, always have some kind of dirty joke or question about our relationship when I go home to visit, and I am tired of it. They are easily insulted and angered, especially my father (who once thought it would be funny to accuse me of hopping into bed with my husband the first chance I got while we were dating), so I can't just say, "I don't like those jokes — stop it!" What can I do? It always makes for an embarrassing moment. — EMBARRASSED IN TENNESSEE
    DEAR EMBARRASSED: To paraphrase an old saying, "Those who can, do; those who can't, talk about it." Your parents may be trying to show you how "with it" they are by making these comments. Or your father may have always had an unhealthy preoccupation with your sex life.
    They have no business asking you personal questions about it. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with telling them it makes you "uncomfortable" and you want it stopped. And if they take offense — so be it. Let them sulk.

    DEAR ABBY: I have been in construction since I was 19. I'm 47 now. I want to know, what makes a man lose his courage?
    I started my own business two years ago, and since then I have been doing mostly interior work — remodeling kitchens, bathrooms, hanging doors, etc. My most recent job is a second-story add-on, and while I have been working on it I have found myself nervous about heights.
    I have never been afraid of heights before, but I was uneasy walking the walls and working off a ladder. I have never felt like this before. It's kind of embarrassing. My guys tease me, but I laugh it off.
    Am I just getting older (which I don't want to admit) or out of practice? I'm not losing sleep over this, just wondering why. — "VINCE" IN VALLEJO, CALIF.
    DEAR "VINCE": It could be that you are out of practice, or it could be something else. I am a firm believer in intuition, and if yours is telling you that you should avoid heights, it could be that your sense of balance is "off."
    My advice is to schedule a physical exam with your doctor and discuss this change in your normal pattern of behavior. There could be a physical reason for your sudden anxiety about heights, and you should not ignore it.

    DEAR ABBY: How do I get my husband to pick up his belongings? His shoes, jewelry, and all sorts of items of clothing are spread all over the house. I'm afraid if I keep "reminding" him, I'll come across as a mother figure. — TERRY IN HOUSTON
    DEAR TERRY: Leave everything where it is, and when your husband starts asking you where his shoes, jewelry and other items of clothing are, tell him they are right where he left them. Once you begin picking them up and putting them away, he will expect you to continue for the rest of your life.

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