Dear Ann Landers: My letter is about favoritism in families. I hope you will print it, because there's a lot of it around.
I have two brothers, one older than me, the other younger. It drives me nuts the way Mom and Dad always favor our younger brother "Keith." Every time we are with them, we have to listen to how wonderful Keith is, even though they have been supporting him financially for the last eight years.
My older brother and I struggled through school, and took out loans to cover our living expenses. We received no help from anybody. We would have loved to continue our schooling and receive advanced degrees, but we couldn't afford it. There were no offers of help. Meanwhile, my parents put Keith through medical school, and now, they brag to everyone about their son, the doctor.
It has reached the point where I can no longer stand to be around my parents. It hurts me to hear them rave about Keith, knowing they never cared as much for me or my older brother. Please, Ann, tell parents how harmful it is to play favorites with their children. I cannot talk to my parents about this because they can't help how they feel. Also, I'm sure they see nothing wrong with their hurtful favoritism.
-- The Inferior One
Dear One: This advice is for you. Get over it. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission. The sibling rivalry pain you are experiencing goes way back to your childhood. It's an old story. Add to the mix the fact that parents have a tendency to brag about children who are professionals, especially when they themselves did not attain that status. Put on the "emotional raincoat" I have spoken of in the past, and let their comments slide right off.
That's no marriage
Dear Ann Landers: When my husband retired three years ago, he not only retired from work, he also retired from our marriage. For the first two years, he was "too busy" to have sex. Now, he doesn't even bother to make excuses. He simply is not interested. I spoke to my husband's doctor about this, and he gave him a prescription for Viagra. My husband took it exactly twice, and then, quit. It seems he has better things to do than make love to his wife.
I am terribly hurt by his unwillingness to be intimate with me. He is otherwise a good husband, and I have no intention of leaving him, but I am only 62 years old, and would hate to think that my sex life is over. I have decided, no matter what, I am going to stay in this marriage the way it is. My New Year's resolution was to give up trying, and I'm sticking to it. Please tell your readers that when a marriage is totally sexless, it is not always the wife's fault.
-- Living Without in Wyoming
Dear Wyoming: A married woman who is 62 should not have to settle for a sexless marriage. Don't give up on it. Please consider counseling to find out how to turn this man on.
Make changes, or get out
Dear Ann Landers: "Orville" and I became engaged a few months ago. Now, I am having second thoughts. He used to bring me flowers for no reason. Now, there are no flowers, and we don't even go out anymore. He expects me to cook dinner for him every night (he knows I hate to cook), and we watch a lot of TV.
Should I break it off now, Ann, or is this the way it's supposed to be?
-- Second Thoughts in Austin, Texas
Dear Second Thoughts: This is not the way it's supposed to be. Tell Orville you feel a distinct change in the temperature, and demand an explanation. If you don't get some satisfactory answers, get out now.
Problems? Dump on Ann. Write her at The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.