DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My neighbour across the alley is literally nuts. We moved into a rented house a few years ago, and at first she seemed nice, but then I started noticing weird behaviour. She loves squirrels, like pets. This would just be a quirk, except the woman has started throwing peanuts everywhere to feed them -- on her property, in everyone's back yards, on the next-door neighbour's shed. I even watched her carefully line peanuts all across the INSIDE of her neighbour's four-foot high fence. I finally asked her to stop, as squirrels are rodents, climbing all over my house constantly and I don't want them inside the attic. She flipped out and the next day there was a pile of peanuts in my backyard. Her husband shut the door in my face when I approached him over his wife's crazy behaviour. I called the city about it, but they said they couldn't do much. Most days when I come home, she watches me out the back window. Neighbours have tried talking to her -- one neighbour actually has a nephew with a peanut allergy. She doesn't care, and she's upped the retaliation on anyone who reports her. How do we get her to stop? -- Nutbar Problem, St. James
Dear Nutbar Problem: You can't expect reasonable behaviour from an unreasonable person. Your only have two options -- accept this as your reality and live with it, or move. You could keep going at this woman, but one day you could come home, and she might have done something really rash. In her brain, all she can see is her beloved squirrels starving in the winter because of the likes of you. (The husband can do nothing about it.) You shouldn't have to move, but it's not as difficult with a rental house, and it could be the difference between a happy life and a stressful life. A crazy neighbour can cause enough daily stress to raise your blood pressure. It's not worth it. Sometimes it's better to capitulate.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm in a life-changing time. After more than 25 years of marriage, I've recently confirmed my husband has been having extra-marital sex, in spite of a verbal agreement we made eons ago to "leave the marriage" if we had an urge to seek sex elsewhere. I stuck to my side of the agreement, but unfortunately he didn't. As I have progressed through the "horribleness" of the situation in last 1.5 years, my girlfriends and I are trying so hard to figure out how and why men, who have free will and opportunity to seek guidance, instead seek instant gratification of often unhealthy things, when the going gets tough. And then many learn the hard way that was not such a good thing to do.
I look at my husband and think "Who are you? I always trusted you." Now I can never trust him. I hear about this behaviour more and more. It is like they have only ego and their sexual organ, and no soul. -- Not So Joyful, Winnipeg
Dear Not So Joyful: Actually, you didn't have to make an effort to stick to your side of the agreement because you didn't want to have sex outside the marriage. What was your sex life like with your husband prior to the cheating? If it was almost non-existent, as is the case in too many 25-year marriages, who didn't want it? Clearly he still wanted a sex life. Look, if he was having a warm sexual relationship with you and another woman as a side dish, that's just greed. If he wasn't having much (or any) sex with you and didn't want to "bother you" or break up the family unit, then it's not as surprising when a woman comes along wanting to make love with him, and he succumbs to the temptation. Did your really expect him to say, "My dear wife of 25 years, I want to have sex with someone else, so as per our agreement, I will be off now." That's what a woman might say. A man is more likely to sample the outside sex and hope he doesn't get caught, before he destroys the marriage and family unit.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email email@example.com