DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm embroiled in such a terrible family situation. My husband and I got married young and now we have a baby. Recently, he decided to go back to school for two years in a very competitive program, which is the right track for him. Previously, he'd been working two minimum wage jobs and barely putting food on the table. Since my husband would be in school full-time, my parents suggested we move in and pay no rent. We were so happy and appreciative, but unfortunately, that has turned into daily insults about being parasites. My parents constantly comment about their hatred for my husband, how useless and lazy he is and how I married beneath me. Plus they air minor grievances, like how he tracks in mud, and expect me to talk to him about it. Living with my parents has almost caused a divorce. I tried talking to them and my mom started hysterically crying and shouting about how spoiled I was after they let us stay here for free. We offered to pay them, but they refuse. My husband is thinking of dropping out of school as he can't stand it. He only has a year left, but my parents are getting nastier and nastier. Why would they make such an offer if they just wanted to make us feel bad about it everyday? -- Stressed Out Daughter & Wife, Winnipeg
Dear Stressed Out: Move out to a tiny inexpensive place. It's not worth losing your marriage, and the last year of your husband's new education, by staying with mom and dad. You need student loans and at least one part-time job between the two of you to make do. Some people work out of their homes selling products like Avon. Lots of women have to work at least part-time when they have a baby, and it's well worth it, especially with your husband's new career only a year away. If the baby is sleeping after dinner, your guy can study and you can work in the evening without too much disruption. If your parents will go crazy during a move, quietly leave when they are out of the house. Leave a flowery note saying, "Thanks for the help and generosity, but we need to be on our own." They will secretly heave a sigh of relief, and so will you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is in response to In Her Personal Jail Cell, the guy whose girlfriend threatens suicide if he tries to break up with her. My ex threatened to commit suicide when I left him. I called his mother from outside his apartment (he was 25 at the time). I told her he was threatening suicide and she had to come and deal with it as I was fairly sure he was just manipulating me. What a horrible experience. -- One Solution, Winnipeg
Dear Solution: If the break-up scene is in progress and the other person is threatening suicide, it's sensible to pick up the phone and call 911 right then and there -- and stay until help arrives. Call significant others too -- best friends, siblings, the parents-- and put them on notice. You DO have the right to leave a relationship, and a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse does not have the right to force you to stay with suicidal threats, whether they are sincerely felt or conscious manipulations.
Please send questions or comments c/o email@example.com or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6