DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m a hostess for one of the high-end restaurants. For the past few months, a group of professionals has been coming in every few weeks. I looked forward to seeing them.
Well, I must confess I looked forward to seeing this certain man. He was flirting with me. One night, he stayed around after his group left and asked me out for a drink after work. We went to another place nearby and had an amazing time. The conversation felt so comfortable. We saw each other a few more times and each time brought me closer to him.
He has no idea that I recently found out he’s married. I’m feeling so hurt, so betrayed. I have not returned his call or texts for a week. I’m sure he’ll be at the restaurant on other Friday evenings. What is the best way to handle this?
— Refusing to Cheat, Downtown
Dear Refusing: When you see the group again and he tries to shine up to you, all you have to do is paste on a polite, Canadian smile and say, "Nice to see you again. And how’s your wife doing?" and that will send the message. Then quickly speak to another member of the group and get them seated.
If he comes after you and tries to pester you, tell him he is a customer and you will treat him politely and appreciate his good manners while he’s there. That should be frosty enough to get rid of him. He will know he’s been caught, you know he’s married and the flirtation is completely over.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife is job-obsessed. She works all day, then comes home and works some more. I’m the kind of guy who likes to leave work at work and not bring it home. I like my evening family time with my wife and two kids.
For the past year, she has been working around the clock. Our kids are young and they are a handful, and I have a sneaking suspicion they may be too much for her. It might be an escape.
The other thing she’s escaping is sex. She never asks for it anymore, and whenever I do, I’m met with, "I worked all day. Another time." My life is starting to really dry out, in more ways than one. Please help me get my wife back.
— Starting to Panic, Southdale
Dear Starting to Panic: Insist on couples counselling right now, before this goes any further. Your wife’s absence from the marriage is suspicious. She’s using work as an "excusable exit" from the relationship with you and the children. Working around the clock? Hmm. What else is going on?
Could there be another person, maybe at work, taking up some of this time in her life? Perhaps not. But then, is she divorcing herself from you and the kids because she wants out of the family life and doesn’t know how to say it? Some people just don’t take to motherhood and they don’t know until it’s too late.
Clearly, you two are no longer communicating, so tell her you think this relationship needs to "go into the shop." If she refuses to go, you go without her. She may turn up later, in her own defence. It may turn out you become a divorced dad with custody of the children, as your wife’s mommy instincts seem to have gone cold.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My son just got his first pair of glasses, and he picked a kind of wild style that suits his personality. The kids at school are bullying him over it. I thought society had moved past this, but he’s come home more times than I can count, just a mess, telling me about all the mean things his classmates said to him. How can I help him take some control back in his life and get these kids to stop bothering him?
— Upset Mom of Bullied Child, Winnipeg
Dear Upset Mom: Go to see the school principal, the guidance counsellor and your son’s teacher. If nothing can be done about it, you may need to pull him out and put him in a different school nearby. I personally know of a boy with wild curly hair who was new to a school and got bullied mercilessly for his hair and for being new — both verbally and physically.
At a new school across the highway, he was warmly welcomed and learning again in his classes, with new friends — and a great homeroom teacher. She had been in the previous school and knew exactly what he’d have gone through, and she knew the bullies personally. (She had escaped as well.)
Yes, the boy with the wild curly hair was my son. He was nine at the time, and a few months later, he received the Most Improved Student award, because he was loving school, and freed up to learn again.
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.