While I'm away, readers give the advice.
She refused sex before marriage and regrets it
Still Sad: On premarital sex: This is a painful subject for me. Forty years ago I married the Love of My Life. I refused to have intercourse until our wedding night. The only way I can describe it is feeling like I had been raped seven times. We were married five years and never once did he care that I was not aroused; it was painful. I treated sex as a duty I had to endure. It only lasted a few minutes when I did consent, a few times a week. Even the marriage counselor had told me it was my duty whether I liked it or not.
Only after being with another man, 15 years later, did I forgive myself. This man took the time to make sure it was as enjoyable for me as it was for him. I honestly did not know it could be wonderful and wondered how girls got themselves "into trouble" when it was so dreadful!
So — yes, I would tell anyone who wanted to listen to have sex before. My husband and I were compatible in every other way: drinking (not much), finances (stable), religion, both liked the other's family, our education was basically the same, as were hobbies, interests and friends. To the outside world we were the Golden Couple.
I am not advocating casual sex, but before you make a lifetime commitment — check out this area, too!
Work together to end abusive language in arguments
K: On couples and arguments: My husband (of seven years) and I spent the first four years together both thinking that name-calling, threats and demeaning statements were normal in a relationship. It took his moving out and two months of hard work to change that perspective.
Therapy definitely helps, but it won't be until the first argument that you have, where no derogatory statements are made, that both people realize how nice and effective it is to argue "amicably." It's like a light switch turns on, and with work, will stay on indefinitely.
One thing to note: Neither person in the argument is innocent. Be it nonverbal, passive or purposely confrontational statements made to goad the other person's temper, both parties need to analyze their own behaviors. We've been happy in our "second marriage" for three years now, with that knowledge.
They learned a valuable life lesson from parents' early death
Anonymous: On being "too old" to have kids: My husband was 11 when his father died in an accident. I was a teenager when my mom got sick, and in college when she died. Part of what drew us together as a couple was our shared knowledge that life doesn't go on forever. Within reason, we have tried to live our lives and raise our children to make the most of every day. We have focused more on experiences that matter to us, like extensive travel, and less on social status, careers and material things. We have not assumed that we'll have 20 years after retirement to live our dreams. Our goal is to greet death, whenever it comes, with no regrets. While I would trade all this self-knowledge for having my mom back, in many ways it has been a blessing.