DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I come from a conservative religious background, and my wife certainly doesn't. At her urging, I've participated in some pretty unusual sexual activities recently, and I found it kind of fun. But now, my wife has gone and blabbed to her cousin who is a fun person, but has loose morals. I understand why my woman was excited and told someone in a moment of weakness, but now the cousin is looking at me when my wife is out of the room, with an evil eye she shouldn't be using -- and she's making sexual comments to me I find shocking. What should I do? -- Wanted by an Unwanted Cousin
Dear Wanted: What people like your wife don't realize is telling juicy tales outside the bedroom, attracts other people who might not have been interested in their partner before. It's like they've seen a sexy trailer, and now they want to see the rest of the movie. To fix this, say to your wife, "Don't leave me in the room alone with your cousin anymore." She will ask why, and that's your cue to say, "Since you blabbed, she's said all these things," and then tell her the comments word-for-word, as close as you can -- as evidence. Don't worry about the cousin getting into trouble; she gets what she deserves. You can bet your wife will shut her up and she'll also stop telling other people about her husband. The cousin might, however, tell. There's little you can do about that except to live with the sexy reputation.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I've been with the same man I love with all my heart, for 22 years. We both have kids from different marriages. My husband's side of the family say that my kids are not part of their family, but on the other hand, I'm supposed to support and attend functions on their side. My kids aren't related by blood so the grandparents give them Christmas cards instead of gifts in front of the other grandkids, which has been heartbreaking for me to see. You walk into their home and there are pictures up everywhere of the rest of the family as if it were a shrine -- and of us, there is not one picture! When they want or need something, we run like we have the big S for sucker on our foreheads. The hurt that my husband and I are feeling is overwhelming. Should I just leave it alone or should I start treating them back the same way? -- Can't Take the Hurt, Winnipeg
Dear Can't: Think of 2011 as the year you make the big change. Instead of running after people who don't want to be close, you start extending yourself more warmly to good friends and the few family on his side who do deserve your love -- only them. Cry your last tear tomorrow, and toast the new year, letting it go as much as possible. Do NOT go running to serve them anymore. If they call you for help, say, "Sorry, we're busy. In fact, the car is fired up in the driveway and I've got to get right off the phone." No discussion. Consciously create your new group, discussing with your husband who you'd like to know better. All of us know people we suspect would like to be closer, but we've spent too much time chasing after the family we got in life's lottery. Your husband is going to have the hardest time, pulling away from people who are not good to him. Happily let him go, on his own. He will fully or partially follow your lead if he sees you have a fun new gameplan for yourself and the kids. Start January by having dinner parties where you really get to know other people well, and see what kind of sincerely warm friends you can amass by next Christmas season.