DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I got into singles dating online and I was OK with it at first — met a lot of nice people — and then I ran into a game player. I got to the specified meeting place at The Forks early to see he was just finishing up with another woman! I went in and waited by the bar while he actually took a photo of her, and then joined him at his table, and mentioned I saw him with his previous "appointment." He didn’t even blink.
We continued on and I wrote him off, although he was very good-looking and fun. Because we went overtime, another girl was standing awkwardly by the entrance. On the way out, I stopped and said to her, "He has a lineup this afternoon, you get 30 minutes and no more, or you’ll run into the next woman in line, like I did. Plus, he wants to take your picture."
She said, "Really?" and turned around and walked out with me, and we went for drinks together at another place and talked him over. He phoned me later about talking to his next appointment, and his real personality came out with swear words and all. What do you think?
— Nobody’s Fool, West Kildonan
Dear Nobody’s Fool: There’s a big difference between a job interview and a first-date coffee, though this guy doesn’t get that distinction. It sounds like he’s high on the power of "working it" so women are lining up for interviews to win his approval.
It’s good you outed him to the next woman in line, but don’t totally reject online dating because of him. Why should you give him that much power? And maybe don’t give out your phone number before you meet someone.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I like gambling — not in love with it — but I enjoy every type. I always take only the amount of cash I want to "spend" and leave my credit cards at home and consider it a night out.
I don’t bring my debit card either, so I can’t get more money out of machines while I’m there. It’s some fun for me since my husband died, and I’m not looking for another husband. My sons and their wives don’t invite me to be a part of their social lives, so I was very angry when they finally did have me over for dinner and got on my case at the dinner table about my "gambling addiction."
I explained to them how I work things so no extra money is spent, and they visibly heaved sighs of relief. Then I mentioned, looking directly at my sons, how lonely it can be as a new single and asked them point-blank why they hadn’t included me in their social plans since their father died. They looked at each other uncomfortably.
Then my daughter-in-law said, in a snotty voice, "Well, you’re a different age and we didn’t think you’d be interested in socializing with a group of couples."
As I left, I heard myself saying silently, "So this is the way is, you might as well accept it." Then I got mad, had a little cry and got busy. I joined a singles club and had some meetups from meetup.com in one week. I also decided I will not accept any guilt-inspired invitatons to my son and daughter’s couples barbecues and parties. I will ask my own two boys to meet me for coffees and lunches. But what about grandkids when they come? What do you think?
— Worried About the Babies, Transcona
Dear Worried: If and when your sons and their wives have grandchildren, invite them over to your place and fuss over them, but don’t let yourself get used as their free babysitter, at least not to the exclusion of the new, independent social life you have built up for yourself, which includes single people.
One mistake city people make is never inviting newly made friends home. They just see them at group activities, and don’t take the friendships any further. Do start inviting new singles you meet of both sexes over to your house for game nights and other kinds of little parties.
If you build a fun, warm, social life with new single friends, plus visits with your sons and, when the time comes, start inviting the grandchildren over while their moms go out on their own and do errands or meet friends for lunch, this could all work out fine.
Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.