Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a dangerous old girlfriend on the beach last week. I probably looked as shocked as I felt. Confession: I never really got over her. I disappeared from her life suddenly when we were both 19, after she cut me off at the ankles.
I’d been feeling she was "the one." One afternoon back then, also at the beach, she told me I had "sheep’s eyes." I asked her what the heck that meant, and she said she could tell by my downward-looking eyes that I was hiding something. I turned to her, and said, "Yes, I’m hiding something. I’m in love with you!"
She went quiet. Then she said, "I’m so sorry… but I don’t feel the same about you." It hit me like a slap across the face. I got up, totally stunned, and went to my car and drove home in a trance, leaving her at the beach with our friends. I was a total mess — cried like a big baby for several days.
I decided that week to go work up north and make money to go far away. I continued university out of province the next year.
I recently moved back to Manitoba for a job — decades later — with my wife. All I can think about day and night is that woman who didn’t want my love. Do I need a shrink? I thought I was man enough to handle my inner life myself, but it appears I can’t.
— Messed Up Over Her Again, Winnipeg
Dear Messed Up: The unanswered questions that you pushed to the back of your mind have come up again. Questions like, "Why didn’t she love me? Why wasn’t I good enough? Was she just using me?" Your wife — no matter how understanding she is — is not the best person to talk to about this. She doesn’t need to hear the details — particularly about how unhinged you felt when you saw her again recently.
You can tell all of that and much more to a counsellor. This beach meeting was much like a nightmare coming back to haunt you. With good help, you can finally get past that lost love and unprocessed rejection, and be free to love your wife even more fully and completely.
There’s no shame in seeing a psychiatrist, psychologist or relationship counsellor. In fact, it’s an intelligent move, and it can get you unstuck and moving in a better direction, far faster than trying to puzzle out the issue yourself. Most will also offer virtual sessions due to COVID-19.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have specialized in psychiatry and are covered by Manitoba Health. You’d need your doctor’s referral, and you might have to wait some time to get in. On the other hand, you can phone today and make your own appointment with a psychologist or relationship counsellor. The costs per hour vary greatly, but it may be covered partly on a medical insurance plan through your work. Some counsellors even offer a sliding scale to accommodate people’s differing abilities to pay.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m a short man — under five-foot-five — and am attracted to petite women, often from different cultures, who are more at my height level. While they’re attracted to me, too, their parents often are not, even though I’m open to their cultures and experiences.
I met a girl from a Filipino family months before COVID showed up. The onset of the pandemic was the perfect excuse for her family to keep her from me, but we stayed in close touch by phone. She reminded me this week she will be double-vaccinated (as am I) and two weeks later she wants to start meeting with me in person again.
She said her family has agreed, but only if I can show them the proof! I feel insulted by this. I’d never lie and take a chance with their beautiful daughter’s health. I feel they’re treating me like some kind of prisoner who has to wear an ID card around his neck.
— Feeling Insulted, West End
Dear Insulted: Why would you let foolish pride get in the way here? You should be proud to show her parents your proof of immunization and the dates, and show them you are a serious and mature man who cares about their daughter’s health and safety.
If you object and fuss about this, you will also be diminished in the young woman’s eyes. She loves her family and is used to protective people. So be a gentleman who’s willing to do all that’s necessary to keep her safe and happy in your company.
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.