Consider cottage-living compromise to start
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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’ve fallen in love with living away from the city and have decided to buy a four-season cabin near the lake I love — if I can find one I like. Then I’ll commute to my work from the lake.
People are warning me it will be lonely when the cottagers go home. I don’t think I’ll care. I’m tired of being a city person and my boss says I can just work online with no problem a few days a week. So, that only involves two or three commutes a week from the lake!
My only worry is this: What if I give up my city house and then discover I don’t like my new lifestyle? That really scares me.
— Waffling, North Kildonan
Dear Waffling: Rather than backing off your desire to live in the country, and then saying “woulda, coulda, shoulda” the rest of your life, consider a compromise this year. Lots of people with four-season cabins get tired of them after a few years.
Instead of buying a place, rent one and see how you do. Be careful about the heating! A lot of winterized cottages fail to be warm enough for comfortable living in the deep freezes below -20 C. Either rent one with a furnace, or rent a regular house nearby to be comfortable while you suss out living a rural life.
You should know that people in small towns in the 2020s don’t normally come knocking with baking when you move in. You’ll need to get involved with the community in as many ways as you can to make new friends — participating in special events and sports or volunteering with charity organizations in the community.
You need multiple ways to introduce yourself and be an active part of the new community. It takes real effort and ingenuity to change worlds, but it can be worth it — if you do it right.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m suspicious of my wife’s behaviour this summer, and I’m starting to wake up feeling hurt and anxious. She’s a teacher with two months off, and I’ve barely seen her since June. It’s my busy sales season at work in the city, so I can’t leave much.
She’s always going to the lake by herself, and stays almost a week at a time. She claims to be “getting back into her artwork,” although there’s no finished products, and no partly-done projects I can see either. Last weekend I asked her to show me her summer’s work, and she said, “Who the f—- do you think you are, my parent?”
She studied fine arts in university and didn’t really like it. She claimed it was too conservative and confining for her, but I haven’t seen anything “wild and free,” as she calls her painting style, for several years now.
To be fair, she’s also supervising a lot of improvements to our property up at the lake, and it’s looking really good. I’m suspicious of one guy who’s been doing work for her up there, although he’s much older than she is. She used to mention him all the time and I finally asked her if she had a crush on him. She laughed uneasily, and said, “That old man?!”
From that time on, there’s been no more mentions of him. But now I found out there are the beginnings of a mural she suddenly felt inspired to do “with his help, painting the sky.” How romantic.
Should I drive up there and surprise her — and possibly him? Is that asking for trouble? I sense something is going on.
— Suspicious Mind, Winnipeg
Dear Suspicious: It’s better to hear about an affair than to have the sight burned into your memory. Let’s say you secretly steam up to the lake,and you catch your wife in a clinch! Perhaps something violent happens, or you just drive home a shattered man.
Instead, tell your wife upfront you’re coming up to the lake to have a serious talk about your marriage.
Ask her point-blank if she’s involved with somebody else, and don’t specify the lake guy. Ask her how much trouble she feels your marriage is in, and what all her complaints are. Lastly, does she want to work on the relationship or walk away? If she wants to work on it, then you state your complaints. If you love her, tell her that, too. But make sure to let her know the status quo is not going to work for you.
With or without her, you’ll be getting personal and legal counselling on your end.
Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.
Updated on Tuesday, August 16, 2022 7:44 AM CDT: Fixes byline