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Father doesn't get to walk daughter down aisle

Dear Annie: I have a 24-year-old daughter by an ex-girlfriend. When "Tiffany" was a child, her mother made it very difficult for me to see her. At one point, her attorney sent me a letter saying I would not have to pay child support if I gave up all parental rights. I refused. When Tiffany was 9 years old, my ex moved to another state without telling me. I found her through her former neighbors. Consequently, I was only able to see Tiffany for a couple of weeks in the summer.

Considering all of her mother's obstructions, I think Tiffany and I have a good relationship. I attended her high school and college graduations, and she comes to visit me once a year. I call her every month to see how she's doing.

Tiffany is getting married next year and just told me that although she doesn't want to hurt me, she wants her mother to walk her down the aisle. She said her Mom has always been there for her. Tiffany did suggest that I could wait at the front pew of the church and actually give her away to her fiance.

I am very hurt by this, and I think Tiffany is being unfair to me. Do you have any suggestions? - Heartbroken

Dear Heartbroken: We know your ex made it difficult for you to be a more involved parent, and you did what you could, but regardless, your relationship is not as close as the one she has with Mom, and it serves no purpose to point fingers now. Tiffany wants Mom to walk her down the aisle, and she has asked you to have the honor of "giving her away." This is actually a decent compromise and not the snub you seem to think. It is simply one moment of one day of the rest of your lives. If you want to continue your good relationship with Tiffany, please tell her you would be thrilled to wait at the front of the church and escort her to her fiance.

Dear Annie: Before my wife and I were married eight years ago, sex was a frequent occurrence. She seemed to enjoy it. But on our honeymoon night, she said, "Let's get this over with."

A couple of years later, when the frequency had significantly decreased, she told me that sex makes her feel "all yucky." A few years after that, she said, "It always hurts." When I suggested she talk to her physician, she sidestepped the issue and wouldn't go. Now she tells me she "needs time to heal." From what?

Sex is nonexistent. She has headaches, is too tired or pretends to be asleep so often that although she is quite attractive, I no longer see her as an intimate partner. We tried counseling, but all she would talk about was the lamp I had installed at the wrong location. The psychologist indicated that we are not ready for meaningful sessions. Any suggestions? - Bewildered Husband

Dear Husband: Your wife has never enjoyed sex. Most women who experience painful intercourse would seek medical attention. We think her most honest assessment was when she said sex felt "yucky." That would indicate a psychological hang-up that she has no intention of working on.

Please go back to your counselor - on your own - and discuss these issues. Decide how important sex is in relation to the other qualities your wife brings to the marriage, because she may never be more interested than she is right now.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

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