Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I made a disastrous mistake. I suggested having a bunch of cocktails with my husband, as we were bored silly by COVID. We decided to play a kind of game, confessing to our sins since we’ve been married and apologizing afterwards.
I stupidly went first — at his suggestion. I confessed to being drunk at my birthday barbecue three years ago. I ended up necking with our neighbour in the garage while my husband was outside manning the barbecue.
When I saw my husband’s face getting beet red, I said, "But he was a lousy kisser, not nearly as good as you!" He hit the ceiling, called me some really nasty names, and went down to the basement. He played computer games until he fell asleep down there.
Now what? He’s barely even talking to me and it’s been a week.
— Big Mouth, Southdale
Dear Big Mouth: Did you even get to the apology part of this game? No! You might want to try that, even if he doesn’t give you any response. It could take time to sink in and for him to forgive. Or, you could ask him about his "sin" to even things out. That might even the score, but he’s had time to really think and may have something worse to say than you did, true or not.
If he won’t talk, suggest an online counsellor. Tell him you’ll do the first session by yourself. He’ll realize things have gotten seriously bad. Then he might panic and be willing to discuss it. Ask him if he wants to be included in other counselling sessions, and tell him you’d welcome it. He might say: "None of this is necessary. I’m ready to try to talk this out if you are."
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My adult female child, who has sole custody of her kids, is so ungrateful. She asked me to help raise her children while she worked to pay off her debt. She said that a year would be what she needed to get things in order. Well, it’s been three years, and her debt situation hasn’t improved.
She takes the children when she’s not working (a weekend every couple weeks) and does nothing with them. She’s on her computer (I’m guessing she gambles) or she "works out" her perfect body, leaving the children to fend for themselves.
When I have spoken to her about doing something with her children, she starts to yell at me, saying I "embellish" the situation, making it sound like she’s a bad mother. The sound of her voice and look on her face tells me how much she dislikes me. I never in my wildest dreams thought this would happen.
Recently, she’s been dating a younger man who has moved in, and he’s just as selfish. He uses the children as little servants. When the grandkids come back to me from their mother’s home, they’re stressed. I was told by the new boyfriend that the children will be coming back to live with their mother.
I know in my heart I have to walk away from my daughter, but I can’t turn my back on my grandchildren. What am I to do?
— Overused Grandma, Selkirk
Dear Overused: When your daughter looks at you, she knows you’re looking at her critically. She feels guilt and then anger. She must, at some level, know she’s a poor mother. Does she owe you money for food and other expenses from keeping her children? That’s another reason she may be feeling guilty when she sees you. Also, she lied to you about the time frame for keeping the children while she worked off her debts.
Now she’s found a stepfather for the kids, and he doesn’t sound good. Call a lawyer for advice. Since you have the kids on the day-to-day and your daughter sees them about one weekend out of two, you are their real parent for the last three years and the one who loves them.
But first, think hard. Do you want to be the kids’ primary caretaker? It sounds like you’re fed up with the heavy load.
The best thing for the kids is to remain with you — and you might want to fight for them. But do you really want that, and can you afford it? It sounds like you want your daughter to take them back for most of the time, and have them visit with you as a normal grandparent would have them. That’s unlikely, with the dominant boyfriend at the helm telling you they’re coming back to live with your daughter and him.
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