DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I have a fiancée with a very beautiful younger mother. As we continue with the wedding plans, the mother is starting to act flirtatious. She's dressing up in low-cut tops when I come over and she does things with her eyes and makes lip-licking moves that look suspicious. My girl hasn't noticed, as she would never think that way about her mother. This week her mom has started giving me a chest-to-chest hug at the door -- brief -- but too tight and totally unnecessary. How do I get her to back off without destroying trust between she and her daughter? -- Loving My Fiancée
Dear Loving: Start calling the older woman "Mom." If she protests, say to her quite innocently: "But that's how I think of you." That should cool her off considerably. If she's dressed provocatively when you come over, say, "Why are you all dressed up? Surely not for us." Then put your arm around your sweetheart to show solidarity, and say to Momma, "Are you going out somewhere?" If she refuses to get it, and touches you in any way, say quietly." I don't feel comfortable with that," or "Please don't do that again" in a cool, level adult voice (not the squeaky protest of a victim.) She'll "get" what you mean.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I ran into a former friend of mine at a sports game on the weekend and he had the audacity to come up and act friendly. The guy still owes me a grand. He slapped me on the back at the social, after a few drinks and I just turned to him and said, "What about the grand you owe me?" He tried to look confused, but it didn't work. Then I walked away. A while later I noticed he disappeared, and came back with $500 from a machine. I said "Thanks, buddy" and he said, "Now, can we be friends again?" I didn't know what to say so I said "OK" like a dummy and walked away. But, the truth is I want the other $500 back before we're buddies again. Now what do I do? He didn't say anything about paying it back. -- Just Want What's Mine, Downtown
Dear Want: Knowing the rhythm of paycheques, you might wait two pay periods and just before that payday, phone your former friend and ask him directly for the rest. Preface it with, "Look I'd like to be friends again but I need the other $500 back so we can get on with it. How about you bring me the rest of the money Friday and we'll go out for a beer?" If he balks at $500, suggest $300. He's not dead broke if he could bring you $500 at a whack the other night.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm still smarting over a crack my live-in made in front of guy at a party last weekend. She mentioned to people at the table that I do 100 sit-ups by the bed every night and "his gut just gets fatter and fatter -- hahaha." I looked at her and said, "And you gargle with Listerine every morning, and your tongue is still lethal." Our guests looked distinctly uncomfortable, so I came out with rounds of drinks for people and everybody drank up all our best wine and went home laughing. We went to bed livid. In fact, I took a pillow and blanket and hit the couch. This will be the LAST of the nasty exchanges. Now we've gone public and I'm feeling our "love" is going. She is mad because I had a one night meaningless you-know-what and got caught. I'm angry because she won't let me forget it and has punished me ever since. -- Constant Gut Ache, Winnipeg
Dear Constant: Sticks and stones hurt less than words, as we adults know. This very week, before this blows over somewhat, you go see a relationship counsellor (together, or even alone) and keep going for therapy until the relationship gets better, or ends. You don't need a house of anger, bitter remarks, and public cuts to the esteem. Life is short enough and you could both end up with ill health. The body has a habit of listening to the head. Ask your partner to call a truce to the bitter cracks until such time as you get fixed up or freed up from one another.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org