Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I married my live-in girlfriend after four years of her lobbying for a wedding. I loved her and knew it was her dream. Now it’s nightmare! The wedding was almost two years ago, just before COVID and the big, fancy event of her dreams. She was the princess and I was her prince. But, soon after the honeymoon, she became suspiciously quiet and almost depressed — until she started working on me again.
She suddenly looked at how I reflected on her as a husband and she became critical of things that never bothered her before. She was disgusted by my nerdy wardrobe, my body fat, my sexual moves, my computer "fanatic" friends, my dependent "mommy" and my ambitions.
She says rude, insulting things to my face — and even worse things behind my back! I caught her on the phone recently bragging to a friend about how smart she is, and how dumb she finds me.
I’m a university grad and she barely passed Grade 11.
One of her friends couldn’t stay quiet any longer and told me things my wife was saying behind my back. I confronted "my beloved." She looked startled for a minute, and then laughed like a maniac, called me crazy and I said I was imagining things. She said the friend was lying, because she’s jealous. Not possible! This friend had details that could only come from my wife’s intimate information. I also found out it was true she was slagging me to other people.
She was trying to gaslight me — make me doubt my perception of reality. But I’m the psychology major, and knew what she was doing.
That said, I feel like a loser now. All I did was marry the woman I loved, as she wanted so badly! She turns out to be a nasty, backstabbing version of the woman I thought I knew. I want to leave, but the desperate part of me keeps telling me to "wait until things return to normal." The realistic side of me says that’ll never happen. — Where’s the Woman I Married? Winnipeg
Dear Where’s the Woman: This woman played the role of "her best self" for four years to get you to marry her. And you were quite the challenge! It kept her feeling free and unfettered to be chasing you. Then the marriage meant you were bound together, and she began feeling crowded — and without purpose.
Then she found a new mission — breaking your confidence down, so she can fashion you into the kind of man she’s decided she really wants. And you’re pushing away — giving her room to breathe again. It’s working for her, but do you need this unhealthy mental and emotional situation?
Why not say goodbye now to hand her the perfect freedom to breathe, and also regain your own freedom to be who you are? Do it before there are any children.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m finally back in the office, and I hate it. I spent over a year working from home, near my young family, my pets and my husband. I now wake up two hours before work to eat, shower, help my husband with the kids, then drive to work.
I guess I’m not so much looking for advice, but I want to take the opportunity to ask employers: why?
What about working outside "the office" is a deal-breaker for you, as long as employees do good work? Is it because you weren’t allowed to work from home?
Is it a reasonable approach to not allow others a better life because yours was lonely during COVID? Sorry Miss L., I needed to vent. What do you think about this? — Worker Bee, Manitoba
Dear Worker Bee: The commute is what bothers many people about going back to work. Sitting in a vehicle can take a good chunk out of a person’s day.
Some people returning to the office are asking for permission to sacrifice their lunch hour, thereby reclaiming an hour with their families. Those people argue that a sandwich at their desk and a trip to the washroom is all the break they need. In some workplaces, it actually feels COVID-safer.
Skipping the lunch hour isn’t much of a mental break, but often those people can get home before rush hour.
If it’s not already obvious, find out from others how your boss feels about getting everybody back under one roof. If your superior is in favour of only "some" people working remotely — full or part-time — then go in for a chat. If you find out that’s not going to work, be gracious. You worked in house before and it was OK.
When the working world opens up more and people are hiring, there may be possibilities to move to a workplace with a varied working-situation mindset. But right now, be open and go with the flow. It’s still tough for all kinds of workers, bosses and employers.
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.