DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My mother recently retired and moved in with me, my husband and two young children. We made an agreement that she lives completely rent-free and we don't have to pay for daycare during the day, and she picks up my little boy from school. Part of the agreement is that it is only for about four years. It's going on three now.
Everything is going great so far, and the arrangements seems to be benefiting all of us. I buy all the groceries so she does not have to spend any money. She collects a full pension from her previous career. Since Christmas I have noticed she's broke a lot; she can't even buy gas for her car, or coffee.
I'm worried. I understand it's not my business where her money goes, but my concern is more about how will she afford to be on her own, when the time comes? Would I be out of line asking her, "How she could possibly be broke?" -- Worried Daughter.
Dear Daughter: Find out, because this is strange. Is she gambling? Sending money to a bogus online sweetheart? Perhaps she sees the end of this four-year deal in sight and is saving hard for the day she has to move out of your place. Ask her gently if funds are short, and if anything has changed since Christmas. And yes it, would be rude to phrase it, "How could you possibly be broke?" That kind of questioning has blame and shame all over it.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is in response to Hurt from Tuxedo who is upset his girlfriend requires him to use condoms even though she is on oral contraceptives. There is a group of medications called retinoids, used for conditions like acne and psoriasis, which carry a high risk of causing birth defects. Because of this, patients are required to use two birth control methods.
Many doctors make their patients sign contracts indicating their intent to do so before a prescription will even be written. Perhaps this is why your partner insists on condom use and it really isn't about you at all! -- Your Friendly Neighbourhood Pharmacist
Dear Pharmacist: Thanks for taking the time to contribute a new and important factor to this discussion. There are so many reasons a young woman may want to prevent pregnancy and it if she needs two methods to get the job done, so be it. The guy who wrote has a hurt ego because his girlfriend wouldn't take a small chance on ever getting pregnant with him. He wanted a small game of roulette, as proof she loved him. Pull-ease!
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: It took your response to Frustrated Wife for my partner and I to pen our first letter to you. First, if a man wrote in asking how to give his wife the message that the bikini doesn't quite fit like it used to in "the day," would you give him advice to take several pictures of her from all angles, as a means to give her the message that she doesn't have the body she had previously? We think not. Second, coming from two people in the "helping" industry, please realize that shaming and humiliation neither produce constructive change nor happy relationships. -- Trainer/Therapist Duo
Dear Trainer: You've made a point, but where's your substitute advice? Taking into account he's rejected previous pleas to part with his revealing bikini, let's hear your solution.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6.