DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Last night I cried myself to sleep. My mother-in-law is coming from India for an extended stay at our home in Winnipeg. Her boy (my spoiled husband) loves her dearly, but she doesn't love me. Part of the reason I love it so much in Canada is I don't have her here bossing me around and making me run for her like I am one of her servants back home. She is in perfect health and strong as a horse. I don't know how I will bear it. Her last visit almost tore our marriage apart. She acts one way in front of my husband, who is successful and charming, and another way behind his back. Please help. He would be horrified if he heard the way she talks to me. -- Crying Young Wife, Winnipeg
Dear Crying: Let him hear his mother's attitude and abuse clearly for the first time. Record his mother without her knowledge and play it back for your husband to hear. Let him be duly horrified and suggest she go back home early. Either she will agree, now that she's been found out, or she will have to put up with the New Queen (you!) who will not put up with any of her nonsense. You must develop a backbone and learn to say no to her pleasantly but firmly. If she can't be the queen after the first day in your house, she will soon choose to go back to the place where she can reign over the paid servants without interference. Either that, or your husband can hire someone to come in and run around serving his mother at your house.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is in response to the fellow who is married to the former dominatrix and is worried about her wanting to go back to Toronto to her friends and her life. I had a somewhat similar experience with this in a previous relationship. You advised helping her find a new career path, but it's far less about the career than the old lifestyle. She likely misses being a dominatrix and the thrills that come with it for her personally. That lifestyle doesn't just go away. It's a huge psychological thrill for some people and the mentality of it can consume someone's entire life, depending on how involved they were. It can continue to do that even after they've "given it up."
Her boyfriend should have a heart-to-heart talk with her about what she really wants and should be prepared to accept that she may want to go back to her old lifestyle. By the same token, if she really wants that part of her life over with, she would probably cope better by talking through those complicated emotions and thoughts with a counsellor, possibly as a couple, so he can understand what she's going through as well. -- Empathetic Reader, Winnipeg
Dear Empathetic: This woman will probably go back to Toronto no matter what kind of talk they have. It really depends on whether she misses her friends, the lifestyle, or the whole package. Old friends of a like nature are hard to replace, although the BDSM lifestyle here is accessible through the information expo at the fetish balls held every few months (info at www.theball.ca).
Unfortunately for this couple, the man doesn't appear to be part of her fetish world. He swept her off her spike-heeled boots and removed her from the stresses of being a dominatrix in Toronto, but must have had a hard time replacing the type of excitement that went with it once she was rested.
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