DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I like to pop out of unlikely places in our new house and scare my new wife. I enjoy being playful, but she doesn't think it's funny. Last night when I jumped out of the shower, she screamed and screamed then bawled her head off. What is wrong with her? Doesn't she have a sense of humour? My brothers and sisters used to do this and it was a blast. Could you tell her to get with the game and stop being a spoilsport? -- Just a Joker, North Kildonan
Dear Joker: Cut this out right now. You're losing the romantic relationship with your wife and unwittingly turning it into a repeat of the "house of horrors" of your childhood. You sound like a very young husband. You may have married a new "playmate," but she was not brought up in your household and is not a substitute sister you can gleefully scare to death. If you want to play practical jokes on people, get something going with your buddies, such as parking crazy things on their lawns. You can still have fun, but do it with the appropriate jokers who are willing to play like this.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I stay at home with our son and raise the family while my husband has an important job in charge of a lot of people and expensive equipment. He's away from home a lot (he has only been home nine days since November), but I'm grateful for all his hard work and find his dedication to be very attractive. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to try to play boss at home, even when he might not necessarily be right, or when he isn't even in the same province.
I feel like he doesn't take me seriously or respect my opinion, even when I know I'm right. Sometimes he pulls out the sarcastic, "You're so hard done by. Life is so hard." Most of the time I just try to gently make my point or let him be wrong and say nothing. How do I get him to take me seriously without turning it into an argument? Also, how do I get him to turn off the boss tendencies when he is at home and should just relax and let me take the reins? Please help! -- Who's the Boss Problem, Winnipeg
Dear Boss Problem: People who travel a lot for work often feel guilty about never being home. When they come home, they'll go into overdrive trying to prove they are an integral part of the family and home unit by spouting off rules and doing way too much bossing. The good news is business people understand the concept of division of labour. You can lessen your husband's need to get involved to the hilt by talking about that as "your family work style."
Tell him his working turns you on, just as your work at home turns you on. Tell him his job, when he's home, is to enjoy and bond with the kids, to have fun with you, and also kick back and relax. Tell him he doesn't have to feel the need to compensate for being away. If that doesn't work, you may need to say: "This is my working domain. I need to be the leader somewhere and you need to back off bossing us around at home, lighten up and have fun with the kids -- and save some energy for sex and romance with me."
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