DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My mother is an old fool. She has taken up with this other woman. Who knew Mom was bisexual? She is getting all cosy with this woman and neglecting me, a single dad in his 30s with full custody of kids in grade school and a crazy ex-wife.
The kids haven’t seen Grandma for about six weeks and they used to see her at least twice a week. "Where’s Grandma?" the kids asked me again last night. How was I supposed to say, "With her new girlfriend and her new adopted grandchildren. Don’t expect her back soon, kids. She’s in love!"
What can I say to my mother besides, "The kids miss you and so do I"? I said that just once to her after two weeks and no contact, and she said callously, "Oh, you’ll get used to it. Maybe you should find yourself a girlfriend. I need to make my own life, you know."
Whoa! I never knew she felt like she was being imposed upon with my kids and me. I’m going to stop calling her, but what about the kids who really miss her?
— Upset Mr. Mom, Charleswood
Dear Upset: Your mom is being thoughtless. Now, this is not an excuse but a fact: at the beginning of every romantic relationship, most people tend to see less of their friends and families for a time. Young people do it, as do people in their 20s or 40s, and even people of grandparent age.
If you’re not going to contact your mother, give the kids all her phone numbers and email addresses, and let them make their own contacts. That may have more effect! Next time your mom wants to see your kids at your house, great. Just don’t seize the opportunity to go get groceries and leave her babysitting again. By the way, you can get groceries delivered to your place by many stores for a small fee — just phone in the list and pay on the travelling debit machine.
Families who get "forgotten," like yours, end up looking for other friendships to fill in the gap. Join a new activity with your kids. And you might consider joining a club like Adventures for Successful Singles (204-775-3484), where you meet single people in their 30s to 60s, with many sports, arts and social activities every month.
Your mother is right about one thing. You do need to meet another woman to love. After a marriage breakup, parents like your mom can unwittingly substitute in the "role" of a mother to your kids, and play "woman of the house" — taking away the feeling of needing to get involved again. You do need a partner, and the loneliness you feel now will drive you out of the house to look for new love. Given a few months, your mom will likely be back more and see the kids more regularly, though not like she did before she met her new love.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I bumped into a guy, literally, and we talked about the accident — even laughed — and called each other on excuses a few more times, and now we’re dating like crazy for months. I don’t suggest faking an accident as a way to meet a guy, but being friendly over an ordinary interaction with a stranger led to something more.
We’re in love now, and I have slippery ice last spring to thank for meeting him — and his friendly insistence that he take me out for coffee. He wanted to show me there were no bad feelings that I bashed his beautiful car, and to get to know me better.
— Just Sayin’, Winnipeg
Dear Just Sayin’: It’s cool to learn how people find the loves of their lives once they’re past all the schooling, where it’s easy to find single people. Airplanes, trains and buses, where two strangers find themselves seated next to each other, can start natural conversations. This situation has spawned many a friendship and some romances, too. The same goes for sports, charity work, arts interests. It’s really just matter of talking to new people you, er, bump into.
It’s too easy to be frosty, polite or businesslike, and not even look into the other person’s face. If you know you’re in a safe situation, why not be more friendly? I’d like to hear from other readers who have met new loves in unusual situations and we’ll print some of their letters to better illustrate this point! Just write to the address and/or email below.
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.