DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My new boyfriend gives off a strange smell. It isn’t strong or choking, but it’s strange and I don’t like it. I can’t seem to trace it. It could be something that’s coming out his pores, for all I know. I don’t want to scare him away, but I can’t stand it for the long term and I do like him so much. — Freaked Out By Strange Smell, St. Boniface
Dear Freaked: The nose is a powerful instrument for solving such mysteries but you’ll have to take it places it seldom goes.
When you’re at his residence, send him out somewhere to get you something. Then take a sniff of the places he keeps his clothing, his shoes, his dirty laundry, his sports bags. Check all around his bathroom. Smell the inside of his kitchen cupboards. Casually ask him what medications he takes when he gets home.
Your second stop is your own doctor’s office. You’ll need to be able to tell the doc if the smell is sickening-sweet, spicy, sweaty, smoky, metallic, medicinal or gassy, and inform her what kind of environment your boyfriend works in.
It could also be coming from a particular kind of mouthwash or deodorant he uses that clashes with his own personal smell, or a drug he’s doing openly or secretly. Perhaps he needs gum or dental work. In an intimate situation, subtly sniff his hair and his skin, but try not to be too obvious.
If all else fails, you’re going to have to ask your boyfriend to try to clue you in, and nobody likes to be told they smell badly. Good luck.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m so upset about my wife I can hardly speak to her. I don’t want to lose my temper and especially not around the kids, but I have found out where our household funds are going.
The fridge and cupboards have been pretty bare and she insists on doing the cooking, so I won’t notice. Also, she is spending very little money on gas for the car, like 50 per cent less. I haven’t noticed any new clothes on her or the kids and they’re in need of new winter wear. The final tip-off came when I heard one of our sons say, "But mom, I NEED this money for school, and you never have any money for anything anymore."
Let’s be blunt. I make a lot of money. My wife is a stay-at-home mom, and she gets more than enough for everything. That includes enough to buy beautiful clothes for herself and the kids, good food, and sports and musical equipment for the kids. You get the picture.
She has started spending a lot of time away from the house during the afternoons, and I can never get hold of her immediately, as I was able to before.
I squeezed it out of her this week that she’s been spending a lot of time with a certain pair of "friends." Miss L., one of them is known for her gambling habit and my wife used to express concern over it. She doesn’t anymore.
I decided to play detective and took four afternoons off work, but I wasn’t stupid enough to follow her. I went to the two top gambling spots in town and by Day 3 I had spotted her at one or the other each afternoon, playing the slots — and she was with those same two girlfriends.
I felt sick. On the third afternoon, I phoned her from across the floor at the casino and told her I was taking the kids to their grandma’s for the night. I met her at home and she didn’t know what to say. I told her about spying on her and she didn’t even cry. She just said in a dead voice, "so now you know." The she cried: "I’m so, so sorry! Please don’t leave the kids and me! I love you all so much!"
I said she’d be the one moving out, WITHOUT the kids, if she didn’t stop gambling and totally stop seeing her gambling buddies. Her eyes flew open. I said she’d have to start getting gambling addiction help the very next day. What else should I do? I’m wondering if I should tell the the other husbands. I know them pretty well and their young families may be suffering too.
— Feeling Sick, Winnipeg
Dear Feeling Sick: You should call Gambling Anonymous now, and so should your wife, and get to work on possible solutions. As for telling the other husbands, it makes sense, though it’s likely the long-term gambling wife’s habit is already known to her mate. The wives and husbands should know (from you) why your wife can’t be hanging out with them anymore.
For the time being, you should look after household expenses and food shopping and find out what the kids have been lacking in terms of clothing and money for school activities and sports. Take some time off work — like a number of weeks — to try to steady the ship.
You both should start marriage counselling in that time as well. Some psychologists do both gambling addiction and relationship counselling.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have a niece asking me for sexual information because she just can’t ask her mother. She’s 21 and already has a career and a steady boyfriend. They’ve been having sex for a few years, so that’s not the problem. The problem is she doesn’t have orgasms.
I feel unable to help her, not because I’m a disapproving prude, but because I have the same problem myself. I have been faking it for years. Good thing you don’t need to orgasm to get pregnant! What do you suggest?
— Both Needing Orgasm Help, South Winnipeg
Dear Needing Orgasm Help: I’d suggest both of you go to a sex shop with trained counsellors such as Love Nest, either together or separately. It depends on how much you want to divulge about your partner, and whether she wants you to know about the details with her boyfriend. They have two locations and you can find out more by calling 204-254-0422 or visiting lovenestonline.com.
They carry books, potions, lotions, vibrators and lingerie. Plus, they’ll offer free educational advice to customers. You could both feel comfortable there, but maybe not at the same time.
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.