DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband is a Scrooge and I am a Christmas elf -- and this elf is ready to scream. Oh, he gets me a nice gift all right, but I have to tell him exactly what I want and where to buy it. Luckily our kids are so young they don't notice what a jerk he is compared to other dads during the holiday season. He says the Scrooge-like attitude came out of "a bad thing" in his childhood, but then he won't tell me what happened. I have tried and tried to find out several times, but he just slams the door shut on me. I am so sick of this that last night we had a big fight. Now I'm afraid things will be even worse. I do everything for Christmas on my own -- cooking, baking, all the gift-buying and the big dinner, to which we invite friends who don't have family in town. I give to the poor from my account and give him several thoughtful and fun gifts. I even have to wrap my own gift, which he lugs home after I point it out. Can you help us, please? I don't want him to kill my Christmas spirit. -- Married to Mr. Scrooge, Winnipeg
Dear Married to Scrooge: After this Christmas is over and before the new year, absolutely insist that your husband speak to a psychologist about issues from his childhood that are carrying over into his marriage experience with you and will soon affect his young children. Bitterness and anger and embarrassment may keep him from opening his mouth in front of you -- but a psychologist who doesn't know him personally will know how to get him to talk about it, without loss of pride in front of you. He will be able to express a whole mess of feelings, as psychologists are trained to bring out buried issues and help neutralize them. There's no point in fighting him over the symptoms -- he needs to work on the roots. If he keeps on refusing to speak about this issue, or to get help, go underground. Speak to his siblings and aunties, who often will blab. Unless he was sexually assaulted, and he's kept it quiet, they may know about his Christmas experiences from long ago.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm absolutely overwhelmed by the demands of my new wife for sex. We got married this year, and we had not gone all the way because that is part of our shared religion. Now we are married and she is a fiend for sex! She wants it every morning before I go to work, and when I get home from work while dinner's cooking, and then a longer session when we go to bed. At three times a day, it can be as much as 21 times a week. I understand this will lessen with child-bearing and have been considering getting her pregnant just to calm her down, but then somebody told me his wife got even more amorous when she got pregnant. I love this woman like crazy but I am not going to continue to be her sex slave! I am exhausted and I never get to do anything else I like to do anymore, like read, or play racquet sports. I live to serve her demands right now. I know there will be older married guys laughing at this and call me an idiot, but they don't live the life I do. -- Chained to Her Libido, Osborne Village
Dear Chained: Is it the sensation she craves or the absolute attention? When you come from work, distracted and tired, and she's ready to pounce on you, there's little you can do but accept or reject her advances. Since you're newlyweds and have no children, you could meet her after work for appetizers and dinner and give her your rapt attention. And you could start going out again. Ask her out to movies and to do activities, as you did before, when you weren't "allowed' to go all the way. That will satisfy some of her desire to be the apple of your eye. But she's still going to be amorous later on, and want a quickie in the morning -- and you'd be smart not to discourage that. Sex settles down on its own for newlyweds and it practically goes away at some points in a pregnancy -- like the first three months if she's sick, or the last couple if she's uncomfortable. And then there's the few months after that when both of you are sleep deprived and she's breast-feeding. Don't get her pregnant now! Have a baby when you're both ready, not to get her off your back (or front) sexually.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6 or email email@example.com