Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Talk him into low-maintenance digs

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I had no idea when I moved in with my boyfriend five years ago he was the least handy man alive! Our home is falling apart around us. If I dare say anything about the state of the walls crumbling, the back step falling off, cracks in the ceiling, roof damage, front screen door hanging by one hinge, he gets mad and will not talk to me. I've had enough; I don't want to live like this. It's his house so I can't call contractors. I'm so upset I've been looking for a rental for myself, because it's clear to me he's never going to fix anything and the situation is going to get worse. It's so bad that I refuse to have anyone, including my family over, as I'm so embarrassed. What can I do? I'm stupid, stubborn, but I love him. However I don't want to live like this. -- Leaking Roof, Leaking Relationship, Fort Rouge

Dear Leaking: You love an unhandy man with a love that goes much deeper than the house problem. But he's mad because you've been shaming him. Is there an embarrassing money problem on his part that keeps him from doing critical repairs, or does he just not care? Could you help out financially? What you both need is a new look at your reality. Because you're both not builders, you need to sell the old place and buy a newer, smaller house or condo that's doesn't need fixing and is easy to maintain. Could you convince your guy to sell and rebuy with you? After six months you became a common-law marriage, so you might as well act like a husband and wife and build equity together. If he lacks money to fix his house, you could work out a contract with a lawyer where you pay for a portion of the repairs and get your money back in the sale, plus a percentage share of the profits you helped to create. Then the two of you buy a new place half and half. If he refuses to accept your help, and can't fix up the house, then you can be a two-house couple, living next door or down the block. More couples are doing this successfully.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I got married last year and I addressed the invitations the same way, to the couples only. I got responses back saying that some couples were planning to bring their children. I simply called them to say it was an adult affair and the seating was limited as well. All but one couple came to the dinner and dance. It's your day and I feel that people have to respect your wishes. The children are more than welcome to go to the church service, but I feel that they do not belong where alcohol is being served. Also they become a bit of a nuisance by running around and pulling at the table cloths and spilling drinks everywhere. I had a great wedding and all the guests were very happy and those who left their kids behind did not regret doing so! -- Extremely Happy Bride

Dear Happy: You need to go further to avoid these messes. The invitations themselves have to be clear about "adults-only" weddings to avoid awkward callback situations nobody wants to make or receive. Most guests would prefer to know what's-what on paper, so there's no need to be told later. Perhaps write something like, "Children invited to the wedding service but not to the dinner/reception where we will be serving liquor and the party will be going late."

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 April 26, 2010 D4

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