DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm writing about jealousy issues I can't shake. My boyfriend of eight months has a former "friend with benefits." Every time she's mentioned or around I shut down and get really insecure -- overwhelmed with feelings of fear, anger, jealousy, low self-esteem, hate for my own body. My boyfriend does nothing to make me feel she's a threat, and he only treats me kindly, with respect and all that good stuff. But I assume my boyfriend must desire her, simply because they slept together a few times a couple years ago. I feel bad because I, too, have friends who used to be friends with benefits, who I'm still friends with now, but do not desire in a sexual way. So why am I imposing these feelings on my boyfriend? I was bulimic from age 16 to 22 (I'm now 28) and I feel like the "voice" of my eating disorder has come back with a vengeance, just in a different form. I can't let it dominate my life again and ruin a great thing. Any suggestions? -- Just Can't Shake That Feeling, Fort Rouge.
Dear Just: You'd need to worry if this guy in your life was making love to a body, but he's not. He's crazy for YOU, the person who lives INSIDE your body. Get the difference? The former friends with sex benefits before you two met, are now nothing. Nada. Zip. Because the person inside was not important. You know how little you feel about your old sex buddies since you found love together with your new guy. Same for your boyfriend's former sex pal. It's time to make an appointment with the counsellor who helped you through your bulimia to tackle this. If you don't have anybody, write back.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Very interesting letter about the woman in retail with the guys staring at her chest. I have to reply. On the other side of the (retail) counter, when one is greeted by a very beautiful and voluptuous woman, it is hard to maintain propriety. And when she displays her charms due to a low-cut dress, well... If the woman is of legal adult age, that is one thing. But if she is only a teen, as are most retail workers, it is very hard to maintain eye contact and proper decorum. -- Old Enough to be a Grandfather, Winnipeg
Dear Old: Nothing like jailbait. Is that what you're saying? So you're an older guy who gawks at teenagers in low-cut outfits in local stores, but not at adult woman who can defend themselves with their wit? Listen, buster. You stay away from the jewelry stores and women's clothing counters where these young women are often working. If anyone catches you salivating over the breasts of someone's young daughter or niece in a store, let's hope they bump you very hard into the counter, while spewing phoney apologies! It works in France; it can work here too.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Valentine's Day is coming and I don't want to give my wife anything. Last year I gave her everything -- flowers, candy, a card and dinner. She gave me nothing. Other years she gave me a mushy card, but that's all. Last year -- absolutely nothing. I feel like paying her back. Should I? It's not my nature to be cheap, but last year hurt so much. -- Married Four Years, Westwood
Dear Married: Don't make it worse. Instead, say openly say to her, "Last year was disappointing for me as your partner on Valentine's Day. Either we decide to both give each other gifts and a night out, or we decide not to, but it has to be even. I would prefer to celebrate it." Say it nicely but assertively and see what happens. At her house, her dad may have done all the giving so she's just in need of an update on the 2010 way of doing things.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org