DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Recently, you've published "cold stepmother" situations. Although I completely agree with you about the detrimental effects of extreme cases, I feel like you're missing an important element. Women in these situations have unresolved abandonment issues. Unless these women are suffering from mental illness, they find these situations very challenging and are upset with themselves for having the feelings they do. It's easy to say, "Don't get involved with a man that has kids, if it bothers you so much" but the men love these women, and the women love their men. In an unhealthy way they view the kids as competition, which mature people wouldn't do. I know because I am one of those challenged women, working hard to overcome this issue. My partner and I love each other immensely. I love his kids, too. It's just something is hurting inside me. I'm not extreme, but I'm not as warm as I am to my own kids, and that's wrong. I try to really control it, but it hurts sometimes. These men should encourage their partners to get help. For your consideration -- Struggling But Improving, Winnipeg
Dear Struggling: Sometimes stepmothers feel their husband loves his bio children more than he loves them. When they see those children together, especially if they no longer live under the same roof, the dads focus love and attention on those kids. Some stepmoms feel pushed to the side. They need to realize it's a different kind of love and love for them, which is not in competition. They also need to understand the man will love them more if they are kind and warm to his children. Conversely, he will love them less if they are cold to the kids. Another factor? Sometimes the stepchildren are chilly to the stepmother from Day 1 and some are coached by their bio-moms to be that way. Everybody needs to be in counselling in a blended family at least for a time, in my not-so-humble opinion after reading about so many hurtful non-blends.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is in response to the man who goes dog-walking past the house of the woman who's always walking around her living room naked at night with the curtains open. The only problem for the man is that he can be arrested as he is breaking the law, and the naked woman will be found innocent. Good luck until the cops arrive. -- MK, Winnipeg
Dear MK: If she is putting on a show for him to see, she's not going to call the police unless that's part of her modus operandi -- tease and then play shocked, and turn in the guy. Dangerous game for him! Although it's dumb to keep walking by that picture window, you can bet he probably will, but let's warn him not to wear this out. Once she gets annoyed with him and his dog, she might play the shocked role and dial 911 for added drama.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: How do I meet accomplished men five to 10 years older? I tried the whole online dating thing, but it's hard. I mean I had many people interested, but it becomes overwhelming. There comes a point when it's difficult to remember who knows what, going over and over again talking about myself. I had to stop after a couple of weeks. I met a few people though. My family had enough. It was like, "Oh, who is she dating now?" Frankly it bothered me too. I am not that kind of girl, juggling men. Isn't dating supposed to be fun? Why is it so complicated? Where do I start? -- Deep in Thought, Winnipeg
Dear Thought: I remember you. You're the young woman who wrote recently who likes men almost as old as her father. Frankly, it seems you're looking for ways to be negative about looking for someone appropriate. You actually admit you can find people like this online, but then complain it's too much work. Yes, it is work wading through hundreds of profiles. But so what, if you find a winner? The idea is not to do a juggling act but for you to do the looking -- reading tons of profiles and zeroing in on someone who is really interesting and attractive. If you meet quickly and start dating, you stop writing the rest.
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