DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Is my sister being disloyal? It sure feels this way! She's still in contact with my ex of two years ago, as Facebook friends. Once in a blue moon, he'll start chatting to her. There are others in my circle of family and friends who still have him on Facebook, and I've gotten over that. But my sister and I have lived together for years, and she was there for me when I kicked him out (he lived with us for a brief period). She consoled me and even cried with me when I was at my lowest point. How can she think that having any contact with him is right? I've been nothing but loyal to her. My sister and ex weren't even particularly close. I took care of him, he really hurt me, and it wasn't easy to get over. She knows that. Why do I feel silly for writing this? Because I'm in love again and starting a family with the most wonderful man. I even feel shady writing this. And no, I don't have feelings for the ex. I've told my sister not to post any pictures of my baby onto Facebook -- a total invasion of privacy if he sees them. I wouldn't want to know of any of his updates. -- Don't Get It, Wpg.
Dear Don't Get It: Feelings, rather than reasons, can be explained this way: "I know you may not think I should feel this way, but I do. I feel hurt when you keep contact open and inadvertently give my ex a view into my life via your Facebook chats. I have started a new life and I don't want him to have this convenient pipeline. Could you please take him off your Facebook?" If she argues -- and she may -- ask him why she would find it more important to stay friends with a guy who hurt you (she did see the depths of it) than to humour your request. If she feels she must have him on Facebook, especially with the baby coming and the inevitable photos you want to share, you will have to take her off your Facebook and you don't want to do that. Frankly, I'd dispute the fact that you don't have feelings for your ex anymore. You do have lingering feelings -- they are of anger and disgust.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband and I have moved in with my mom and 16-year-old brother to help with finances and help take care of my dad, who is disabled. My husband comes from a different background and he thinks every older person -- especially parents -- deserve respect. My brother is at the stage of talking back. We have a dog, and my husband never grew up with animals in the house, so the dog's barking is often the start of a fight. The problem is when my husband gets upset he gets really red, starts shaking and sometimes punches himself or some furniture. He's never hit anybody and I believe he never will. He does not want to get help from a specialist in handling his anger. He got angry maybe four times in a three years that we have been living with my mom. How do I make the relationship between my brother and him better? -- Lost, Winnipeg
Dear Lost: It's not natural for a married man to have to put up with a mouthy teenager disrespecting his parent, and not being able to do or say anything about it. Ditto for the dog problem. He probably shakes and turns red because he is forced to turn his anger inward. Is there some other way you can get supports for your mom and dad, other than living under their roof? After four long years, it is time you and your husband established your own nest -- even a small apartment would be better. Look for a way to change the living situation, and you start having big talks with your brother. Sixteen doesn't have to be a "stage" everyone has to go through with him. Teens do not automatically get to say nasty things to their moms and have everyone look the other way until they're older.