DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I have bruised legs from my new girlfriend who is a kicker, thrasher and cover-stealer in the night. I have never met such an aggressive sleeper. She says it's from growing up in a poor family, sleeping three or four kids to a bed, and trying to defend your space and hold onto your corner of the blanket.
I'm sorry about that, but I can't take this. I don't know how to make her feel she's safe and secure with me and that she doesn't have to be a warrior under the sheets. I really love this girl. She may be "the one," but not if I get kicked to death. -- Black and Blue, St. Boniface
Dear B&B: Start with too many blankets and tuck her in just before you're ready to drift off. Being securely swaddled like that might help her feel, deep in her subconscious child's memory, that she's going to have enough blankets and stay warm all night. As for space, don't hem her in when you're sleeping with demands for cuddling. Let her get used to sharing the bed with you while giving her enough space.
If none of this works and you can't sleep comfortably in the same bed, you could get two beds and slam them up against each other for play time. Then pull them apart a little and hold hands across the space between beds as you go to sleep. Also, telling her respectfully and lovingly (no teasing) that she'll always have more than enough blankets and more than enough space with you will gradually quiet that panicky spot in her brain when she has to share a bed with someone again.
Talking with a psychologist alone, and later with you included, would also help a lot. This problem has really stuck with her. There may be private things she hasn't told you yet about the old sleeping situation, not necessarily sexual stuff, although it's a possibility.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mother sends me the mushiest letters from the old country which leads my Canadian fiancée to say there is something wrong. It's just the way people talk back home. It's not that I'm a momma's boy. All of the guys in my family get the same treatment -- a ton of "dears" and "my darlings." I don't know how to get my girlfriend to understand. She makes faces and says "ewwww" when she reads the letters. -- New Canadian, Downtown
Dear New Canadian: If any of your brothers are also living here, see if they will let you show their letters from mom to your girlfriend, then she will see what you say is true and it is a cultural thing that momma is so verbally affectionate. Tell her she is likely to get mushy letters from your mom as well, and so will the grandchildren. There are worse things in the world.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm a full-time student, a mother to a child and work part-time. I live with my child's father, who I'm really starting to resent: he's lazy, unappreciative and has been out of work three months now. I had to work two jobs while going to school to support my family since he won't. I quit my other job to focus more on school and he won't get off his butt to look for a job. While I'm in school, he's at home sleeping.
I come home and the house is a mess. I have homework to do and the last thing I want to do is clean on my days off. I have been covering all the bills and I feel like my head is going to explode. Some days, I just tell him not to talk to me as I feel like I will yell at him. He does not appreciate the things I do for him and for my child. If we did not have a child together, I probably would not have put up with him for this long. What should I do now? -- Fed Up, and Overworked
Dear Fed Up: Unhappy living situations are easier to take if there is a great end in sight -- a great career and freedom to bid this fellow adieu if he hasn't changed by grad time. In the meantime, is he looking after the child you share responsibly and with love? Don't take that away from your child if it exists. You need to finish school and you need your child to be with someone you can trust to love your child, especially when you are away so much. Those are your two priorities. At least wait until you are finished school before you make any major relationship moves.
For now, accept that he's a lazy immature guy, like a teenager, and make lists so you don't have to nag verbally. Start talking to him again, as it's easier on both of you. You can throw in the crock pot dinners before you leave in the morning for a hot dinner waiting at night. After dinner, say: "Now you and I are going to clean the house together for 20 minutes with some music on."
Accept your reality and make the most of it. Enjoy your mate for the babysitting, adult company, fun, relaxation and sex you can have, and look at it as a temporary relationship. It will probably end when you're finished your schooling and have a good job -- unless pigs fly and he changes.
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