Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife is getting too chummy with the single man two doors down who comes over when I’m at work. He does odd jobs around the yard, such as snow clearing, taking down the outdoor Christmas lights, putting a new tire on her car.
He’s just way too helpful, available and good-looking, and she quotes him a lot on "what should be done around here." He’s a weight-lifter and no job is too heavy for him. He makes me sick. I’m a pencil-pusher and I bring home a lot of dough.
I work late these days, as my wife’s not working. He works remotely at his job, but there is obviously not enough to do to keep him minding his own business. I’m plainly jealous, as you can tell. I don’t want to tell her I’m jealous, but I don’t want him around here anymore. Please advise.
— Losing My Wife? Fort Garry
Dear Losing: You can’t compete in the muscle department, and telling her you’re jealous and to stay away from him is not going to fly, but you can fight for her with your own strengths.
Bring her flowers and leave her a love note when you’re off to work, telling her how you feel about her (without whining about what’s-his-name with the snow shovel). As for what needs to be done around the place, take his advice and hire someone else to come and do the things he suggests really need doing. Since one of your strengths is your money, use it!
The best way to handle jealousy is to quietly step up the competition. As for the sexual side of things, heat it up. You won her over with love a while back and married her. Now make sure you get that love burning brightly so no one can sneak in your back door.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Like many COVID-19-trapped families, we got a new pup for the kids — and it backfired. This morning my four-year-old said, "Puppy doesn’t love me," and then he cried. I don’t know what to do! My young family is jealous of me, their mom. The little pup just wants to be safe with me and sit on my lap, or nestle in my husband’s safe arms.
The kids thought he was going to be their new playmate (I’m guilty of telling them that), but they are preschoolers and the puppy hides under a bed whimpering when they are chasing him.
We should have gotten a bigger, older dog, but we’re keeping this little fellow, who is going to be medium-sized at best. My husband and I already love him a lot and want him to love the kids. Please help.
— Upset Human Mom, Brandon
Dear Upset: There may be a way you can explain to your little guy who thinks the puppy doesn’t love him. Tell him, "Puppies can be easily hurt. He is scared and shy right now, but that will change as he grows bigger."
Don’t feel guilty about not leaving the puppy to play with the kids. You wouldn’t leave a baby with a toddler to tend him, and this dog is still a baby.
He’s not old enough to be the kids’ babysitter, nor is he a stuffed toy to jump on. No experiments allowed!
Instead, give actual lessons on how to gently touch and pet him. For instance, before petting, let the dog sniff. He has such a good sniffer he doesn’t need a hand pushed at him.
If your kids are old enough to try this, have them approach the pup slowly from the side and wait quietly, allowing room for the puppy to come to them — or not.
Maybe they’re too eager and have to learn with you how to pet without squeezing or pulling fur. Stroke the puppy gently with your little kids’ hands under yours to demonstrate. Explain that, just as they would not want their hair pulled, the pup’s fur is his hair and it hurts to be grabbed.
Toys or treat-giving can sometimes be a mistake, as a pup might try to grab them and nip a little hand by mistake. Kids should also learn they should never bother a dog when he’s eating or sleeping. A pet crate with a wire mesh door will allow the dog to be in the room with kids and yet watch from a place of safety.
Another teaching point! If the puppy’s ears are laid back, and the fur on his back is standing straight up, he’s very upset, and kids should back away, and stop staring at him and/or squealing as young kids do. That’s when the puppy needs to be let alone, or be in your arms, to feel safe and calm down.
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