Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Don't try to fix mother-in-law, just pick your spots

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm responding to the father with a new baby whose mother-in-law who drinks. Not only did my mother-in-law drink, but when she came into the city, she couldn't be bothered to see her grandson, though I always extended the invitation. So, what I did was have my son involved a lot with his grandpa and his second wife. He went for sleepovers and did lots of stuff with them. They babysat for me on in-service days, and made cookies. We'd go over to play pool when he was older. He still goes golfing with his grandpa to this day. Tell the father not to worry about not having his mother-in-law as part of his son's life. Only let her be around him when she is sober and never leave the baby on her own with him. Don't try to fix your mother-in-law, as those are her choices and she won't be able to change. If it works out to see her and she is sober, then great. Otherwise don't push for her involvement. -- Best Solution, Winnipeg

Dear Happy: In grandparenting, the biological aspect is not so important as the roles people are willing to fill with warmth and sincerity. While it may make this new father and his wife feel sad and upset if bio Grandma can't stop drinking long enough to come over sober, at least the role of grandma is being filled if you have a loving step-grandma or a dear neighbour who wants the role. Then, when the bio-grandma comes over sober, those visits are gravy. By the way, if you want to see an alcoholic sober, it's best to become acquainted with their drinking schedule. Late morning is a good bet -- after they've slept off the drinking from the night and before and before they start drinking again. Brunch is a much better bet than happy hour, dinner or evening. Breakfast is way too early.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I feel like I'm in hell. I woke up this morning in the dark and my young wife was still asleep, but dreaming and murmuring in her sleep. She was saying a man's name over and over, like it was a sexual thing. I watched in horror as she thrashed around. I don't know this man by his name, but obviously she does. I woke her up and she looked startled to see me in the bed with her, until she regained total consciousness. Does this mean she has a lover or she's still longing for someone else? We just got married this past year. I'm deeply upset by this. Is my second marriage over already? -- Shaken, St. Boniface

Dear Shaken: It could mean something, or it could mean nothing at all. You speak of your "young" second wife, so it sounds like you have lots of previous experience. What if you had a fantasy in your sleep about some former sex partner? Does this mean you love your new young wife any less? Should she take that as a cue to pack her bags? What if either you or she had a dream and were longing for some hot film or singing star? It happens! You have to allow your spouse a measure of freedom and privacy in their dreams. Marriage partners give you their vows to stay and be true, but you can't rule their imaginations and dream lives too. You can ask pleasantly who the guy in her dreams was. It may be a combination of several people -- looked like one guy, but had the soul of another. Or, she may not even remember!

lovecoach@hotmail.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 23, 2012 C3

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