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Glimpse of parents’ hostility calls for clarification

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DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m 36, and I’m a man with a horrible family problem. My mom is a beautiful woman and my dad is always paying her compliments. But that isn’t enough, and she’s always after gifts of jewelry and beautiful clothes.

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Opinion

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m 36, and I’m a man with a horrible family problem. My mom is a beautiful woman and my dad is always paying her compliments. But that isn’t enough, and she’s always after gifts of jewelry and beautiful clothes.

I opened my big mouth the other night and said, “Mom, why isn’t it enough when Dad tells you he thinks you’re beautiful? Why are you always after him for gifts to prove his love?”

She turned to me and said, “If I’m so beautiful, why does he see other women?” I was floored. I had no idea. Now I understand her insecurity and the demands for gifts.

I’m so angry with my father, I threatened to let him have it, but Mom said, “Leave him alone. He has his reasons.” What the heck does that mean? How could a man have “reasons” for cheating on his wife that exempt him from criticism?

— Furious Son, East Kildonan

Dear Furious: Several possibilities come to mind: Your mom may have had an affair, and this is payback, or she may have just stopped wanting sex with your father for other reasons.

Perhaps he’s found another woman for casual sex, or he’s having a full-blown affair, but he still cares about your mother enough not to leave. Or, he may not be physically able to have sex with her anymore.

Then, there are other possible explanations that have to do with one or the other parent having a same-sex partner, or partners.

Since your mom has opened up this sad situation partway — and it’s torturing you now — you have a right to ask her for the whole truth. If she won’t tell, consider talking to your father.

Your other alternative is to throw up your hands and say, “It’s their private business, it’s a mess and I don’t want to know any more of it.” But, it’s very hard to really mean that for any length of time.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I saw this tall, good-looking guy in the grocery store from behind. I was sure it was my ex-boyfriend from three years ago — same golden-brown curly hair, same height, same build, same walk. For a laugh, I got behind him in the grocery store lineup, and slipped my hand into his!

He looked down at me, startled, and pulled his hand away. It wasn’t my ex!

I looked up at this guy’s face and stuttered, trying to explain the joke. He gave me a weirded-out look and said too loudly, “You have serious problems, lady!” Then he dumped his groceries on the counter, and left the store.

What was his problem? He’s a big guy, and I’m a small girl of 17 who couldn’t hurt a flea! I just took his hand — so big deal! He made me feel like a weirdo, and it’s been bothering me ever since.

I’ve discussed it for hours with my best friend. She wants to be a psychologist. She told me I should write to you to find out “how to process it.” So, how do I get this ridiculous mistake out of my brain?

— Not a Weirdo! North Kildonan

Dear Not a Weirdo: To process it, imagine a different reaction from the same guy. He could have laughed and said, “I think you’ve got the wrong guy. Want your hand back?” or “I’m flattered, but I don’t think we’ve met!” Unfortunately, this guy was seriously offended.

Look, if a guy came up behind you and stuck his hand in yours, you might have been scared at first. You’re obviously not a bad or scary person, but it’s best not to surprise anybody with a move involving touch — even as a joke — when you haven’t seen their face yet.

Comfort yourself in knowing this guy is probably wondering if he overreacted now, and he may feel like an idiot for being so harsh to you.

Please send your questions and comments to lovecoach@hotmail.com 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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