Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My response for The Screamer whose husband went ahead and booked time at the lake for the whole family with that nasty mother-in-law, is that her husband is an inconsiderate partner. This wife has gone the lake before — and she clearly communicated her need NOT to go again! He ignored her.
However, I don’t think she needs to go to visit her mother or stay at home, as you suggested. I think she needs to book herself a cabin, bring a friend and enjoy a week for herself. Too many times as part of a couple we fail to take the time we need just for ourselves.
Her husband likes to visit with his mother and family. She doesn’t. So, future vacations like this — apart — don’t need to be stressful. Actually, I think they are very mindful. Hopefully, she will feel refreshed.
— Just Sue, Winnipeg
Dear Sue: Good suggestion! The mother-in-law will be delighted to get her son and her grandchildren to herself, so she can go back in and play mommy, a role she really enjoys.
If the kids’ real mom can get over the resentment of vacationing apart, she can learn to look forward to yearly escapes with her girlfriends, which can be a total holiday.
She can relax and enjoy, summer cocktails, barbecues, adult conversations, beach time without watching over kids, reading naughty books, shopping excursions, "girl" movies and late-night conversations on intimate topics. Nothing like it — a relaxing holiday for a mother with kids in her care all the rest of the year.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have never written to you before but felt I had to, after reading the letter from Furious Father, whose daughter’s boyfriend cheated on her.
I am a mom who experienced a similar experience with my son. His girlfriend didn’t cheat on him, but treated him very badly and made him think her issues were his fautl. She would get drunk and then blame him because he couldn’t see her if he was working. She made him feel guilty when he wouldn’t do what she wanted him to do.
He was in Grade 10 and it was his first girlfriend. I did pretty much what you said to do. I went online and found articles about how a person is supposed to be treated in a healthy relationship — with respect and caring — and how to compromise. I was trying to build back his self-esteem, be aware of his good qualities and let him know it is important to treat a girl or anyone how he wants to be treated.
I also didn’t put the girlfriend down, but when she did do something I didn’t like, I would explain to my son why it was wrong and how in a healthy relationship it should have gone instead. I didn’t do it in a domineering/know-it-all kind of way that would push him back to the girlfriend.
In the end, I had to step in and forbid him from seeing the girl as she was drawing him into the bad stuff she was doing. I think he let me step in because he didn’t know how to get out of the relationship. I told him to blame me. He did and she left him alone.
To this day we have a good relationship, where he feels comfortable to ask for my advice or share with me how he is feeling.
— Been There, St. Vital
Dear Been There: Way to go! You handled that like a champion mother. I hope other people who are pulling their hair out over the way things are going in their kids’ romantic relationships learn from your letter.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I thought I might tell you that your column is "required reading" for many of us. Not just because of your sage advice — the various letters you respond to and print give us a sense of security in times when our world seems to have gone stark raving mad.
People still have the same old conundrums they have always had. Family disputes, intimate relationships, disputes with neighbours, cottage etiquette and other issues are all still there. We are still the same people we were pre-epidemic and will return to normal in due time. Your columns are proof that we are resilient and resistant to influencers. Thank you for all you do.
— John F., Manitoba
Dear John: Thanks for your letter of appreciation. I thought my column might be 100 per cent full of COVID-19-related problems when our numbers were at their worst and climbing, but people still had to keep on living their lives, so there were also many letters about other topics. We can only hope we won’t get so careless that we end up with a second wave. I’m glad you enjoy reading about the conundrums of everyday life, and the feeling of security and normalcy you get from seeing possible solutions in my column.
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.
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.