DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I have been seeing this great guy for about four months. He has an extremely stressful job. I’ve been told that men in this profession are known to be abusive to their partners. I have not noticed any negative behaviours such as excessive drinking, drugs or abuse.
My lease is coming up and he has asked me to move in with him. A friend said, "You should be together through all the seasons and holidays with this man before committing." What do you think?
— Too Soon? Selkirk
Dear Too Soon: Four months! That’s way too soon to move in with someone. You’re just in the first stage of infatuation when you’re mad-crazy about someone new — but you don’t know them yet.
In your imagination, you assign positive personality traits and behaviours in the places you haven’t even explored. Why? Because you’re hotter than a pepper pot, or you’re entranced by a certain aspect of the man — his voice, his build, his smile, his talents, his sexy moves.
It’s wise to go round the seasons at least once before you move in with a love partner. And in your case, because people have warned you that men in his world of work are often abusive, you should know this: smart, abusive men can’t be spotted just like that. In fact, most don’t turn on their partners until they have them under their control. Living together gives you nowhere to run or hide if he raises his fists.
Keep your own place, keep your power and continue to explore this man you find intriguing. As well as the initial fun, you have to spend enough time together to see each other in situations that are difficult, even unpleasant, and see how you both behave. How does he show his anger? How do you show yours? Are either of you jealous? Do women chase him? If a man flirts with you, is he ready to fight or punish you with coldness, or worse, physical abuse?
You also need to find out how the two of you will resolve ordinary differences of opinion and the boredom that is part of any relationship sometimes. Can you share being right, or does one of you always have to win?
You can’t begin to find out all this necessary information in four months. So sign another lease where you are and see where this relationship goes.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have a sneaking suspicion my son might be gay. I’m not at all concerned about that, but what I wonder is, why hasn’t he come out yet? I hope to God he’s not worried about me (his dad) rejecting him. I could never do that! I love him!
He is a high school student, so there may be other social factors involved. Is there anything I can do to possibly set the stage for such a thing? I don’t want to drop hints that make him think I’m judging him; I just want him to feel comfortable.
— His Loving Dad, Winnipeg
Dear Loving Dad: Let him know indirectly you are open-minded and comfortable with all people’s sexualities. Do you live in a totally straight world? Do you have any gay friends? Does his mom? Invite them over for social occasions.
It’s best not to push your son before he’s ready, but you can make him see that there’s a soft place to land, when and if he does come out to you as anything other than straight. Perhaps he’s not, or he’s toying with it in his mind or even experimenting right now. Be vocal about your support of all types of sexuality and leave it at that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My brother keeps dropping his kids off at my place on Saturdays and taking off for the day. He usually drops them off at lunch and then picks them up after dinner, so I end up feeding them twice.
He’s always been a passive-aggressive failure and any time I push back, he just guilts me into shutting up. I love my nephews, but I’m worn out. I don’t even have kids and I feel like I’m raising his. He’s divorced and when they stay with him, they barely even see him! Is there an easy way to put an end to this and keep everyone happy?
— Used-Up Auntie, Winnipeg
Dear Used-Up Auntie: You love your nephews and want to see them some of the time. So find yourself an activity that takes up half the afternoon, so you aren’t available to supply both lunch and dinner and six hours of babysitting every Saturday. Your passive-aggressive brother can be handled — passive-aggressively. He won’t know what hit him.
Please send your questions and comments to email@example.com 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.