Dear Abby: Can you be sexually harassed/abused by your spouse? My husband talks dirty to me and grabs at my breasts. I have repeatedly asked him to stop, but he doesn't listen and continues to do it. We have two small kids at home, and by the time they go to bed, I could care less about being intimate.
His behavior disgusts me, and to be honest, I don't want to have sex with him. I have female problems and have told him it hurts, but it makes no difference to him. He touches me in front of the kids, and I have to slap his hand away.
I can't leave him because I don't have a car or income for myself, nor do I have family or friends close by. I can't go to his family because they see him in a different light. What would you suggest, and is it harassment – and could I press charges? – Leave My Aura Alon
Dear Aura: You have mentioned so many problems in your short letter that it's hard to know where to begin. While your husband's attempts at foreplay are beyond clumsy and ineffective, I can't help but feel some sympathy for him because it appears you have him on a starvation diet.
How long this can continue for either of you is uncertain. Rather than try to charge harassment, why not schedule an appointment with your gynecologist and find out WHY having sex is painful for you. It is not supposed to be, and your doctor may be able to help you resolve the problem. Marriage counseling might also help, because it's clear you and your husband aren't communicating on any meaningful level.
If these problems are not resolvable, you can't continue living like this and neither can he. Because your family isn't nearby and you have no transportation, call or write them and let them know you may need their help to return. If they are unable to help you, contact a domestic abuse hotline. Unwanted sexual advances could be considered harassment, and sex without consent is rape.
Dear Abby: It absolutely frosts me when parents head for the toy department so their children will have something to play with while they shop. Then, after the kids have spent time drooling, teething, sneezing, etc., they leave the dirty toys at the end of the aisle for someone else to buy.
Yesterday I saw a child sucking on the paw of a stuffed animal. When I commented on how that must be the child's favorite toy, the mother said it wasn't theirs – she was just keeping the little boy quiet while she shopped.
Last week I stood behind someone in the checkout line. In her child's mouth was the ribbon from a Mylar balloon. When the mother finished loading her groceries onto the conveyor belt, she said, "Time to put this back now!"
It's my pet peeve: First the germs they get from sucking on this stuff, then the ones everyone else is exposed to from the child. And on top of that there's the stealing, because I have seen children break toys.
This is wrong, and we're all paying for it. Why can't these parents throw something in the diaper bag before they leave home? – Put It Down in Virginia
Dear Put It Down: Because the parents aren't doing their job – they are forgetful or lazy, and have no consideration for the store owners or other shoppers. Sadly, parents like the ones you have described raise children who are just like themselves.
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.