Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I left a 30-year marriage to be with a man I thought was sensitive and caring and who made me feel cherished as I had never been before. We have lived together for almost 10 years, and every day I ask myself if I did the right thing. Our latest argument occurred because he pointed out the fact that I snuck some ice cream and he asked me how it was. He knows I don't like it when he embarrasses me this way. I struggle with my weight and know I am an emotional eater. I have repeatedly asked him not to bring up my snacking, but he claims he's just making conversation. Now he says he can't deal with it anymore and will be putting something in his will about my "issues." What?
We don't argue in a sensible manner because he swears so much, talks in circles, and makes childish excuses. I try to stay calm and rational, but he makes me very upset. One minute he hugs and kisses me and tells me I'm a keeper, and then 10 minutes later we are arguing and I can't even make my point because he interrupts me and talks while I'm talking. He has few friends and is emotionally immature. He seldom speaks of others in a kind or positive way. He is bigoted and critical of how other people live their lives. I didn't see this side of him in the beginning and I find it very disturbing. I am trying to live a life with him because I have put myself in this situation and have to live with my sins and my decisions in life. On the positive side, he helps around the house, takes care of my car, and is conscientious about paying bills and maintaining the house. When I ask myself, "Am I better off with him or without him?" I don't know the answer. This Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde is hard to live with. Am I being overly sensitive? -- Not Feeling Cherished Anymore, Winnipeg
Dear Not Cherished: Re-read the list of negatives. Would you advise a daughter or girlfriend to stay with a guy like this? If you were just dating and you saw this side of him, you'd dump him. Here's the good news: you don't have to stay in a bad relationship to pay for your poor judgment. You could see a domestic lawyer, split up and collect what a common-law wife is owed. As for how it looks to other people, nobody cares much if you leave a second guy, especially one who makes you feel bad. You'd be a fool not to. Your friends and family will breathe a sigh of relief. What is unintelligent is sticking with someone you know who has turned out to be a bad egg, especially when your children are up and gone.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This in response to Going Crazy, who dreamed she had sex with a woman. My wife once dreamed I cheated on her. I thought it was hilarious that she woke up and was mad at me! Does that mean I actually cheated on her? Should I have to apologize to my wife? No! Dreams are just dreams. One may be curious about the dream subject, but in reality, it may not be as exciting and steamy as the dream itself -- just like the morning-after romp Going Crazy had with her husband to prove to herself she was still heterosexual. -- Amused, Winnipeg
Dear Amused: I once had a reader who dreamed her husband cheated on her. She woke up furious and whacked him hard with a pillow while he was sleeping. He was so shocked and upset at this unprovoked violent retaliation, he felt too nervous to sleep with her for three months. He locked the door to the guest room. They had to go for therapy because he didn't trust her not to have another dream and wake up and beat him senseless in his sleep.
The wife had to learn a new mindset in therapy -- that most random dreams are free-ranging and mean nothing; it's the mind playing with pieces of different puzzles and putting them together. Repeated dreams about certain people can have more meaning as they might represent a longing for something or someone.
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