Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: As a joke, I filled my new boyfriend's room with balloons on his birthday (his dad let me in the house to do it). When we got back to his house after dinner out, I gave my BF his gift and rigged things so he'd have to go up to his room to get something -- and see the balloons! He walked down the steps and yelled: "I HATE practical jokes!" Then he asked his mother for scissors and went upstairs and popped every balloon -- Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! -- I heard every one. I was in tears downstairs and his mother said to me: "Go home. He's likely to go into a rage now." I ran all the way home in shock. What didn't I know about this guy? Why did his father let me do that if his kid goes into rages? What should I do now? I haven't heard one word from him since. -- Too Shocked to Cry, Outside Winnipeg
Dear Shocked: In a strange way, you're lucky. You learned this boyfriend has serious emotional problems in a safe situation when his parents were around. The dad let you in to play the trick because he didn't know how to say his son was unstable and could fly into rages. Don't try to make any contact -- just be glad you learned. If this guy tries to contact you with an apology, just say you were hurt by his response and think it would be better to go your separate ways.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is in response to Much Better Cook (the guy whose new live-in makes pork chops every day and he's kicked her out of the kitchen). Many years ago, I remember my great-aunt telling my mom how she once made my great-uncle Denver sandwiches for lunch 17 days straight. When he finally asked for something different, she got upset and asked, "Don't you like my cooking?" to which he replied, "Yes, but not the same thing every day."
The reason she made him the same sandwich every day was because she knew he liked it and she wanted to make him happy. It could be the same for Much Better Cook's girlfriend. As for his pretending to learn to cook, I think they should try learning to cook together. It can be very sensual to cook (and feed) each other a meal. May I suggest The New InterCourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge? -- Cooking for One (Still Fun), Winnipeg
Dear Cooking: Kicking this new live-in out of the kitchen created a big hole in their relationship with an exit sign over it. Cooking sexy new recipes together could mend the fabric of their relationship in a beautiful way. Consider your smart suggestion passed on. This guy needs to apologize and back off his all-or-nothing approach now.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I had a recent similar experience to Abused and Used. After many abusive relationships I found a guy that knocked himself out making me happy. We had an incredibly intimate relationship and he was a self-professed "pleaser." We were talking about a future together. Our first disagreement was about his daily beer habit. So the first time I wasn't pleased with him, he coldly withdrew from me. He ended the relationship after the argument by showing up on my doorstep unannounced with my belongings. He refused to work things out. He coldly shut down emotionally. I felt plenty abused then.
Lesson learned? Someone who tries too hard to please can be insecure and trying to buy unconditional acceptance. Also they may be afraid of conflict. This is the mark of a narcissist as well. I hope this woman does not become emotionally drawn in by this man. How someone deals with conflict is a measure of their true character. She should be cautious, as this is another type of abuser and this is how they gain control. Good luck to her. I would like to believe men like hers are genuine. -- Been There, Done That, Winnipeg
Dear Been There: He may not have been a narcissist at all. That was the first time you mentioned his alcohol problem, but probably not the first time a woman has criticized him and perhaps left him for it. He may have said to himself, "Now she knows my ugly secret, I'll never hear the end of it. I'm getting out of here." If that was the case, neither you nor she need worry about loving another man who likes to please a woman. The wise course is to look for a middle ground: a guy who can speak his mind and his feelings normally and resolve conflict, but still enjoy pleasing his mate. Don't use your recent incident as a reason to go back to less-pleasant guys.