Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My mother — in her late 50s, retired, in great shape — went through Christmas complaining and cursing all the way. She spoiled it for me, and worse, for my bride of one year, who is everything to me. She’s my second wife, and there are no kids on either side. We moved in with Mom because of the COVID-19 threat, so she wouldn’t be lonely.
My wife started crying yesterday — wanting to move back to our honeymoon apartment and away from my miserable mother. She went for a long drive in the car to think about it. That scared me.
So, I sat Mom down and talked to her about what a downer she was to us. What was her excuse for ruining Christmas? Bitterness, as it turns out. My dad and my younger brother both died over the course of one winter so that’s her annual mourning period.
"Your father — the love of my life — and my baby boy were taken from me!" she muttered. (My brother died very young as a result of drugs.) Then the storm broke: "How am I supposed to celebrate the great goodness of God at Christmas, when he took everything from me?" I put my arms around her, and she just sobbed her heart out.
She’s been nice as pie ever since. But, my wife who’s considerably younger than I am, didn’t experience this breakthrough, and she still feels resentful. I don’t know what to do.
— Loving Son, Transcona
Dear Loving Son: Mom needed to wake up and realize what a good son she still has! Perhaps she did, as she’s being nice now. But it’s hard to blame your new wife for being fed up, as she wasn’t part of that session.
She’s a honeymooner who gave up privacy with you to make her mother-in-law’s life happier — and all the woman did was grouse. If your mom has friends, she probably doesn’t contact them as much, now that she has you there. Encourage her to get some social life going on the telephone. Teach her how to use apps where she can see her friends as she speaks to them on the computer or on the phone.
Since your mom is not ill, save your marriage by moving to an apartment close by. When COVID-19 is tamed, your mom might want to move to a 55-plus apartment block with activities and socializing. Research it for her, and she can accept or reject the idea.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend’s giant dog sleeps with her. He sleeps the length of the bed on the other side of her. There’s nothing creepy about it. He’s just very big and long. Before I came along, he was a half-grown pup and she appreciated some company. We’re both in our 20s and crazy about each other. But now, here I am trying to sleep with the two of them — and he’s twice as big now.
She refuses to sleep at my place, and leave her dog alone all night. I’ve been trying to sleep with her and the hound, but sometimes he ends up pushing on my back with his big paws.
The final straw? I woke up with his big nose breathing on my neck! Now, that was creepy. I have to go home to sleep after we make love now, because I know she’ll let him in and I end up between them. It’s intolerable.
I’m starting to lose patience with her, and she’s by far the best girlfriend I’ve ever had.
— Caught in the Middle, Winnipeg outskirts
Dear Caught: Bring over an extra-large doggy bed and see if he likes it. Park it on your girlfriend’s side of the bed, so Fido doesn’t have to compete with you, and vice versa.
If your girlfriend continues to put the dog’s comfort over yours and doesn’t care about privacy in the bedroom, you have some serious thinking to do about this pairing. Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be long-term. Luckily, there’s more than one love for most people in this world, so keep that in mind.
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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.