DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife came back a changed woman after an "innocent" trip to the ocean with her nerdy friends. I don’t know these friends, as they are from her university faculty, and I never paid any attention to them. A handful of them went down south in some kind of early fall off-season cheap deal. I wish she had never gone.
We hadn’t been getting along, because we were both busy and didn’t spend any time together the past year or so. Our sex life went south last Christmas and I thought the best way to punish her for lack of wifely response was to go to the gym and make myself better-looking, and play hard to get with her. As it turned out, she didn’t chase me around the apartment at all. She just went to bed and slept.
Then she got in with these new friends she described as "nerdy university women" and they invited her to go on a holiday with them. She didn’t ask me if she could go. She came back happy, but suspiciously so, with no tan to speak of, and she usually tans darkly. She was singing little love songs, some in Spanish.
She often goes out now with her travel friends for dinner and drinks, no doubt to talk over wild times. She is also very secretive when she answers her cellphone and goes in the bathroom and shuts the door.
Miss L, I’m no dummy. I just don’t want to find out in my face she had a wild beach lover, and she’s leaving me. I just can’t bear to lose her! She is the love of my life and although I haven’t paid much attention to her in recent years, I do love her more than life itself.
How do I get her back? Should I try to find another woman and make her jealous? Or should I ask her to tell me what’s wrong in our marriage that I can fix? What? I feel like I’m fighting a battle in the dark. Please help!
— Blind Warrior, University of Manitoba
Dear Blind: Maybe you should open your eyes and take a new look at the person you married and promised all those wonderful things to. Then look at the man in the mirror. You haven’t acted like the guy she promised her life to at the altar. You have behaved like a stranger.
Does your cold treatment of her break the deal? You thought not, when you ignored her for several years. Now she may have found somebody to touch her lonely heart and make her happy again.
At least the man from her beach holiday can’t easily get his hands on her here in Winnipeg — unless he has the money to fly where he wants. He might not be a poor man.
If you don’t want to talk about this man, start wooing your wife with conversation and flowers and kind, appreciative words and compliments, and maybe some short trips. Then have some deeper talks and apologies from your side. Show her right away you are changing.
Look, she didn’t need your permission to go away and enjoy her life, when you weren’t giving her love in action anymore. You can’t justify taking away somebody’s freedom of movement and chance to make friends, especially if you aren’t providing a married-style life for them.
Treat this seriously and suggest marriage counselling before she actually leaves. There’s a small chance she might want you back as an intimate partner, but not if you chastise her for finding somebody who would treat her with the love and attention you failed to give her.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend has just broken up with me and she’s pregnant. I’m 34 and she’s 24. Is she crazy? This makes no sense at all. I asked if she was sure it was my child and she said coldly, "We can have a paternity test if you doubt it’s your child."
She knows I never wanted a kid — so she stole my sperm. She went and got herself pregnant anyway. I know she did it out of spite because here she is planning to leave and have her pregnancy and that baby with her mom and dad in their small town. What do you think?
— Robbed, West End
Dear Robbed: Any 34-year-old man who’s dead certain he doesn’t ever want to have a baby and raise a child with love and attention should have a vasectomy. At the very least, he should be the one who controls things by using quality condoms each and every time, and asking his girlfriend to also use a form of protection as backup.
Your girlfriend is convinced you’d make a bad father and is moving back with mom and dad. That sounds like a good place for her at 24. She needs to be loved and cared for by responsible people. You wouldn’t be one of those people, although you may be starting to pay child support within the next year.
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.