Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm not close to my father, never have been. As a matter of fact, he was always a nasty person who would get drunk and loud and when I got older and had kids, he'd yell at my daughters about how terrible their mother was. Thankfully, I have a good relationship with my daughters so they never took him seriously. Now he's in his 80s and wants me to look after him, so he doesn't have to go into a home. Do I do it? I don't want to! -- A Bad Daughter, Winnipeg
Dear "Bad" Daughter: You don't have to look after him. Check out a book called Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart by psychiatrist Dr. Gordon Livingston M.D. where he's of the opinion that parents bring us into this world, so it is their duty to do their best with us and then age gracefully. It is our duty to succeed at life. Period. If a child chooses to look after an aging parent, as your father is suggesting, it should be done authentically or not at all. A burden that large with guilt as its foundation is rotten to the core and serves only to breed resentment -- which is no good for anyone. Visit your father when you like and make sure the nursing home is doing their job. Do not, under any circumstances, sacrifice another 10 years of your life to this hurtful man. Find a middle ground that eases your burden and go see a therapist to heal whatever psychological wounds he left you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm tired of dating, and it's not because there's a shortage of men around -- it's my married friends who are driving me nuts. Because I'm at "that age" (over 40), they think my options are limited and they keep telling me I have to make some concessions if I want to be with anyone. And now, because I'm not dating, they think I've given up. First of all, I don't think my options are limited, but it's true I'm fussy. I've seen too many people "settle" with a partner only to look like they've had the life sucked out of them after six months. I'm also getting tired of people saying, "At our age, we have to take the good with the bad." Is it wrong to want a great guy? Have I been reading too many magazines? Is it all about compromise? -- Disheartened with Dating, Fort Garry
Dear Disheartened with Dating: Heck no. We won't go. Not down that aisle with the wrong person again! That's old news and old thinking. Back in the day a divorced or widowed woman sometimes had to "settle" because she had no career and no money and still had children to raise. Times have changed and women are naturally good at establishing nurturing relationships with other women, creating social groups and participating in community activities. They find that their lives are no less fulfilling for lack of a relationship. Most women would rather be single and happy than in a relationship that's draining. And, the same goes for men to an extent, although they don't bond as closely with their buddies and loneliness is a bigger problem. Good news: Maturing people improve their standards, although they must be more forgiving about natural changes in looks, like baldness and a few extra pounds. People can still expect new mates to be fit, attractive, well-dressed and sexually active though. So let your friends say what they will. Go for what you want and you'll never be sorry.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6