Rushed declaration of ‘love’ raises red flags


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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m dating a guy who’s eight years older than me (he’s 32) and he’s telling me he loves me after only four dates in three weeks. He’s gorgeous and seemingly intelligent, but I just don’t know what to think.

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m dating a guy who’s eight years older than me (he’s 32) and he’s telling me he loves me after only four dates in three weeks. He’s gorgeous and seemingly intelligent, but I just don’t know what to think.

This seems like a red flag. I didn’t want to ask my family about it, as they already think the age difference is a lot. Please help!

— Seeing a Red Flag? West End

Dear Flag: Watch out! This guy is in an unnatural rush. Listen to your gut instinct and your brain, and trust what you’re feeling and thinking.

Four dates tells you very little about anybody. Yes, you can tell if you like someone’s looks, intelligence, voice and manners in four short dates, but a guy who’s telling you he “loves” you in that time, sounds desperate. And, at his stage of life in his 30s, this guy may be feeling anxious to find a wife and settle down, like his friends have.

You may be ticking all his “must-have” boxes, but that doesn’t mean he’s in love with you — it may just mean he thinks you look good and possess appealing qualities.

As for you, you’re 20-something, rebellious and defending his advanced age to your parents. Listen to them! They love you and know you’re not ready to settle down, and this older guy is putting on the pressure, using flattery to do it. That’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, as they well know.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I work long days. My wife hasn’t gone back to work since giving birth to our son, who is now two years old. I make good money and can support my family, but she does absolutely nothing beyond the minimum.

I come home and the house is a mess. She’s usually on her phone or watching TV. Our son is alive, but looking lonely and way too happy to see me. Surely, his mommy can hit a higher level of caring for him than this.

I see my friends and their partners sharing the burden together, both working and taking care of their kids with enthusiasm. I wish my wife had that same level of motivation.

Is she depressed? How do I talk to her without it becoming a big fight?

—Frustrated Husband and Dad, Waverley Heights

Dear Frustrated: Not everyone takes naturally to child care and homemaking. In fact, some people shut down and become lonely and depressed — not necessarily crying, but “flat-lining” mood-wise.

Your wife may be doing what’s necessary for the toddler, but then vegging out on online or watching other people’s exciting lives on TV. Ask her sympathetically (not angrily) how she feels about being at home full-time. Be prepared to change things for the better. Your little family might actually be better off with your wife working full- or half-time. Also, your toddler might really enjoy staying with an enthusiastic babysitter in their home (who comes with good references) and possibly sits another little child or two, who’d enjoy playing with your boy.

Two-year-olds need lots of stimulation, socialization and affection. Maybe your wife would be more able to give that if she felt happy in the rest of her life.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I feel like I’m dodging invisible bullets. Two of my sports buddies neglected to tell anyone they had COVID when playing our last two games, which were held very close together. One guy told me later he “didn’t have it too bad,” but he showed up because he didn’t want to disappoint the team. Such a hero.

Playing while he’s sick, with the running and heavy breathing the sport involves, jeopardizes our whole team. He’s one of our star players, but shouldn’t he have stayed home?

Personally, I can’t afford to get sick and miss work. I have a good summer job, and really need the money for university this fall.

— Dodging Bullets, Winnipeg

Dear Dodging: Yes, players should advise the coach when they’re sick, and stay home to protect the rest of the team. You might ask the coach to address the team, saying, “Everybody knows guys have been playing while sick.”

He might be concerned enough to do that, or he may feel it’s his duty to promote winning over everything else. Still, it’s worth trying. Some people are getting mild cases of COVID this summer, while others are still getting quite sick. Unfortunately, many people, both young and old, have not continued with booster shots.

Please send your questions and comments to or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.

Maureen Scurfield

Maureen Scurfield
Advice columnist

Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.

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