DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband goes commando to work. He's an accountant and I think this is inappropriate and disrespectful. I tell him every morning to put on underwear and he refuses. On the weekend, he'll wear underwear but he gets some kind of rebellious satisfaction from going naked under a fancy suit. I don't know what to do with him anymore! He won't listen to reason. Please advise me on how I can get him to stop this foolish behaviour. -- Sensible Wife, St. Boniface
Dear Sensible: What he does or doesn't wear under his suit is not yours to decide, just as your underwear decisions are your business. His personal style and clothing may have concerned his old momma when he was young but now he's the decision-maker. Now let's talk about what's really bothering you. Could it be you fear he's being too sexual at work, that some woman might notice him in less than a business-like way? Or is it all about power and control? Perhaps he feels you're controlling too much of his life already and he's showing you that you've hit a boundary.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: OK, there's a big problem with my second wife (common law) and my eight-year-old boy. I'll just spit it out -- she doesn't like him at all. She talks to him in a civil manner but there is no warmth at our house when he visits every week, except from me. He notices how cold she is to him and has asked me why she doesn't even like him. It broke my heart to hear that. I have spoken to her about it, and she says, "The kid is spoiled. And when he's here you don't even know I'm alive." I told her I have enough love for everyone and she just snorted. Suddenly she is starting to look a lot less attractive and I am looking at her with critical eyes. Every time she rebuffs my son's attempts to talk to her, or punishes him for no reason, I love her a little less. At Halloween she took his candy away because he "gave her a dirty look." Last night she sent him to bed at 7 p.m. "so we can have a little peace without the kid." I should probably tell you she's 27 and I'm 38, not that it's an excuse. I'm wondering if there's anything I can do, or if I should break it off with her. -- Tempted to Pull the Plug, Selkirk
Dear Pull: Say goodbye to this wicked stepmother. You are your young son's guardian and protector and frankly, you're not doing a very good job. Your little boy is your first priority and yet you are letting this cold, immature woman, who has no love for your son and sees him as competition to her, discipline him in an unreasonable manner. How can he feel safe, even when you are in the room, if you don't step in? He has already lost the mom-and-dad intact family. Why would you subject him to a life of rejection from a cold stepmother? You may have once had a big sexual thing with this woman, but your lip is beginning to curl. Let it happen, and usher her out. You can find a kinder, nicer woman than this to love you and your son.