DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My dad was very young when he had me (16) and he's never tried to have a relationship with me. I always had to fight to have a relationship with him. I first met him when I was 13. We had an OK relationship. We talked, played video games, went places but once he met his new wife, he just didn't care and I feel so hurt. I just miss my dad. I haven't seen him in about a year. He doesn't even phone to see if I'm OK. He's always too "busy." But since my dad married, he cares more for my "step-monster" and her kids, rather than me. He even missed my birthday. I'm now debating if I should make an effort for Father's Day! I just miss my dad so much! -- Hurt Daughter, Winnipeg
Dear Hurt: Parents who leave an older child behind while bonding to a new wife and family of kids are conveniently rewriting history. He wants to please his new wife and kids telling himself you no longer need him. He is trying to ignore the fact he screwed up as a father to you. By all means, phone him on Father's Day. Tell him you miss him and you'd like to start seeing him for lunch every couple of weeks. Telling him how hurt you are will just make him feel guilty about being the kind of guy he is, and he might shy away from that kind of confrontation. Let him know what you need him for -- advice, companionship, gaming fun together like before, even casual face time, having a meal and getting caught up. Ask him which day would work for him in the next two weeks, and set up a time to take him out for Father's Day lunch. If he doesn't respond to this invitation, write him a letter telling him how hurt you feel about being ignored, and send it where his wife can't intercept it.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a wonderful, intelligent and funny man two months ago. He has every trait I value in a man I'd want to be with, from his amazing looks and character, to even being flawed enough so I feel I can show my true side and not feel that I am a letdown. He is also extremely honest, which sometimes hurts. But the problem is that he does see my flaws and always makes a big deal of them, to point them out, where I let his slide. If he acts childish, I sometimes comment, and then am done with it. He seems, every few days, to have this talk with me, no matter how well our time together went, that I might not be right for him because of something I (yet again) did wrong or felt differently. I have fallen in love with him, which means a lot, as I was single by choice for over two years beforehand. But it's really starting to hurt to hear how "flawed" I am all the time. What should I do? -- Flawed, But In Love
Dear Flawed: There is something drastically wrong here and you need professional help to work through it. This guy is a critical jerk to you, and you think he's great. You even think you're in love with him. In love with exactly what? His good looks? That's infatuation. It couldn't be his fault-finding. Look, 19 out of 20 women would tell him to take a hike. Why do you deserve lesser treatment? He tries to keep you at a distance by giving you different hurdles to jump in the form of behaviours to change. Run away before he totally destroys your self-confidence. He isn't "in love" with you, but he likes the convenience of having you around for companionship and sex, and the ego boost of your doting on him. Want to know where he's headed? One day down the road, if you're clever enough to leave this nasty dude, you'll meet him with a woman who totally dominates him (and he loves it) or a woman who he has turned into a shadow of who she once was.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6