Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kick that dog-abuser to the curb

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I met a guy, who became my world, but now I'm looking at a frightening stranger behind all the sweetness and great sex. Yesterday he was sleeping late at my house when I left for work, but he'd promised to get up at 8 a.m. to take my dog out, feed and water her. At 11 a.m. I felt sick at work and came home. He was in bed watching TV, and I heard my little dog, who means the world to me, crying in the tiny basement bathroom. She was locked in and had pooped and peed on the floor. When I opened the door she was terrified and shaking, and when I lifted her she winced from pain in her leg and back. I walked upstairs with her in my arms and said, with murder in my voice: "Get out of my house, and never come back!" All he said was, "She wouldn't stop yapping after you left and she got what she deserved. She's just a stupid dog and needs some discipline. You treat her like she's a $%*& baby!" At that point, I lost it and started screaming, "Get out, or I'm calling the police!" Today he's phoning and phoning, trying to get me to talk to him and he was crying on his message. Should I give in, and talk to him once? That's all he asks.

-- Miserable, Winnipeg

Dear Miserable: Beware! Those are crocodile tears, and if you talk to him he'll try to suck you back in. Instead, take your pup to the vet for verification of the beating, and call the Winnipeg Humane Society for their advice. Lay charges, if you can. If he'd treat your little dog like that when you're out of sight, how would he treat babies and children? And how would he treat YOU, once he thought he had you? Let's look at the "romance" style that fooled you -- charming surface personality and rotten character. That's like a fancy house sitting on a rickety foundation, ready to collapse at the first stressor. Some abusers act like Prince Charming, then marry the woman who becomes his possession. Then the cruel streak comes out. Over the years, I can't count the number of women who got the first beating from a fake prince when they were hugely pregnant, and no longer able to be fully devoted and sexual. Put new deadbolt locks on your doors today, since he may have secretly made a copy of your keys.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I've lived with my boyfriend at his family's place for about 1.5 years. Lately we've been having stupid, pointless fights every few days. I hate it. I really want us to get our own place as I think that the stress his family puts us through is what's causing problems. I think he's scared to move out, or just doesn't want to, as he always come up with excuses. What can I do to give him that extra push? I love him so much, and he's the man I want to marry, but I'm scared continued fights will end our relationship.

-- Stressed and In Love, Winnipeg

Dear Stressed: How about what he wants? It takes two. You want to move out and get married, and he doesn't want that with you right now, or maybe forever. Instead of telling you, he's fomenting fights to get you to pull the pin for him. Holing up in his parents basement probably felt cozy and fun at first. Now the pressure is on for a grown-up situation. Reclaim your power and dignity by quietly moving out with some girlfriends, not home to Mom. He may panic and chase you with a ring, but it's more likely he'll sigh with relief.

Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave. Wpg R2X 3B6 or email

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 26, 2009 D8

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