DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I have a girlfriend I felt was the mother of my first daughter whom I love with every ounce of me. I have worked my bum off every day for both of them to make sure they are happy. For my daughter I will try to shape and model my world, but as for the girlfriend, I'm sick of being told I'm no good! The problem is an old love --my first love -- came back into my life recently, but I'm scared I might hurt my daughter if I said I was leaving her mother for her. Please help. -- Scared and Worried, Outskirts of Manitoba
Dear Scared and Worried: You love the first woman with every ounce of you, but the relationship needs fixing. She has to start being less critical of you. What does she complain about? Is it the same things that will have the other woman complaining after the first couple of months of bliss? Please write back and reveal what the woman you live with is upset about? If you are addicted to anything -- gambling, drinking, drugs, etc. -- woman No. 2 will soon start complaining, too. If it's little things, the new lady might be positive and supportive, but a new relationship with her won't be what your daughter wants. Quietly and quickly see a counsellor in another town (to avoid gossip) and talk about the complications of this situation, which could be messy in your small town. It would be so much better for everyone if you could work out the criticism problem with the mother of your daughter through the counsellor.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Your response to Grossed Out and Angry was, at best, just plain wrong, and at worst, culturally insulting and insensitive. You said: "It's extremely bad manners to trick guests into eating meats, or any other kind of food, so hosts can have a chuckle." Nowhere does the writer say, "I was tricked into eating strange meat, then they laughed at me." You seem to agree with her assessment of this being gross. I personally love Hasenpfeffer (rabbit stew), as do many other Germanic peoples. Our First Nations people eat "waabooz" regularly. Are you going to disrespect them too? I'm told some people in other countries eat horses and dogs, too. -- Annoyed, Winnipeg
Dear Annoyed: Yes, people eat all manner of meats, seafood and insects all over the world, but people coming to dine at your house need to be told ahead of time if they are going to be served meats they don't usually eat, thereby avoiding an uncomfortable time at the dinner table. Keeping it secret until after eating is rude. When they are doing the inviting, the host should say in a conversational tone, "By the way, we are going to serve some rabbit stew for those who like it, but there will be other dishes on the table if you're not into it." A social dinner is not about making people jump hoops, it's about visiting.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Spoke Too Soon did not need to lie. Without being confrontational, she could just say, "After last Christmas, I decided I would leave today when the drinking starts. I've had a good time and want to leave while still feeling good about the day," or something similar, and then leave. I think telling the truth is always better than lying and can be done in a very diplomatic way. -- Tell the Truth Always, Winnipeg
Dear Tell The Truth: When backing out on a family Christmas do with a group of hard after-dinner drinkers, you don't give them the chance to flare up over your reason for leaving. Sometimes the little white social lie, such as the well-known splitting headache, is the best way to get out gracefully before the drinking and fighting start. That way, you can save face on both sides.
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