Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Did that slap not tell you something?

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My old mother slapped me across the face last night and I'm still in shock. She's 87 but she can still pack a wallop. I'd had too much to drink and had spoken disrespectfully to my wife -- called her a bitch. Mom says, "You're still my son and it appears you have one more lesson to learn. WHAP. Don't ever speak to your wife like that again." I quickly walked to the truck and drove home. My wife stayed with my mother. When she came home today, she told me to go to Alcoholics Anonymous or find another place to live (my mother's influence). I'm not ready to quit drinking with my friends, I work hard and it's the only fun I have. What should I do? -- Need My Beer and Friends, Wpg.

Dear Needing: Here's what you can do -- respect what the lady says and find another place to live. But, if you take a hard look at that new reality and start feeling deeply upset, you may want to reconsider. Ask yourself how you got on a path where you have nothing better to do for fun than get drunk. I'm guessing you don't go out to movies or events with her, see other couples, play sports, try out new restaurants or travel together. You're just a roommate now, and an absentee one most of the time. And think about your wife, who started out as the love of your life. It can't be fun to be married to you now you have no interests, drink hard and call her ugly names. There's way more to a fun life than drinking with buddies in a bar, and way more to a real marriage than a wedding licence. Should you change your mind about A.A., call 942-0126.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I wanted to comment on the letter from the young woman who's falling in love with a man 17 years her senior. Twenty years ago, I started falling for a man at work, also 17 years older than me. We initially developed a friendship based on similar values, and we started falling in love. He tried to dissuade me initially -- telling me I should be with someone my own age. I convinced him otherwise and we got married three years later. We're still together. My husband hadn't been married before and we had our first child a few years ago. There are some age-difference challenges your reader should know about. By the time I'm ready to retire, my husband may not have the health or energy for travelling. It's likely I'll outlive him by quite a few years. But life is unpredictable. I count myself lucky to have spent the past 20 years with my soulmate. One challenge I hadn't expected was finding friends. People my husband's age are empty-nesters; people my age don't always feel comfortable socializing with someone old enough to be their father. Luckily, both of our families accept us. -- 20 Years Later,Still the One!

Dear Still The One: People who've had to face obstacles to be together often have a stronger bond because they retain a part of new love -- "feeling lucky to be together." They don't take each other for granted. In some ways, it's good to know our days are numbered. We live more intensely, opt for making love rather than letting the night go by, treat each other better daily, air our grievances faster and make up more quickly. People who are aware of their mortality often say "Love you" when they say goodbye in case those are last words. It's too intense to live every day like it's our last, but we are fools if we put things off for months and years thinking we have all the time in the world together.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 23, 2012 D2

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