DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I may be in big trouble. I just started seeing my brother’s ex-girlfriend, who always liked me, and we have kept it a secret. Well, I certainly had not breathed a word, because my brother considers things like ex-girlfriends as his property for life — off-limits to brothers, for sure.
This girl insists on stepping up as my new girlfriend, and she wants me to tell my brother first, "to prepare him." Miss L., if I tell him face-to-face, I won’t have a nose left. He will punch me out for sure, even though he was the one who broke up with her. That’s what our family of brothers is like. I know this isn’t fair, but fair doesn’t mean much with things like this.
I didn’t come on to this girl, although I always liked her a lot. She came on to me like gangbusters when she spotted me at the beach. We have seen each other every night since and she claims she’s falling in love with me. I might feel the same, if my stomach wasn’t in a knot thinking of being discovered by my brother who has a very bad temper and has kicked my ass before in a fight. We haven’t had sex yet because of that. I’m scared of him.
I’d like to have a serious relationship with her, and why can’t I? He threw her over because she cheated on him. She says that’s because he ignored her for his friends. So why would he be mad about me wanting her?
She says she’d never cheat on me, and that she learned from that mistake. Hey, we all make mistakes, and, besides, she’s really fun and gorgeous. Please help me.
— Heading For Big Trouble, Winnipeg
Dear Trouble: This hot little number is at it again. She’s being dishonest — now with you. This time she’s going behind your brother’s back by getting at someone he loves, and trying to shove it in his face. It’s not about wanting you.
Remember how she went after you "like gangbusters" at the beach? You were targeted. She knew the best way to get your brother’s attention and make him jealous was to go after one of his brothers and have sex with him. So, she’s trying to do that.
Note how she wants her "relationship" with you made public right away. Why? She wants to be front and centre in your brother’s mind again, and see him in pain and turmoil. Before letting this budding relationship come to fruition, back off as gently as possible and run. Don’t be nasty to her because she is an angry queen bee poised to hurt your brother for dumping her. She’s trying to play you and him at the same time.
By the way, having sex with a brother’s recent ex-girlfriend is considered low behaviour by just about anybody — and you could lose a beloved brother over it.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m a woman who intends to be a comedian. I have written a lot of material but never delivered any yet. To get a feel for an audience, I invited two of my best friends, on separate occasions, to listen to about 20 of my jokes and one-liners I’d practised in front of the mirror. Neither one of my friends laughed much, and oddly, both of them bit their lips. Should I take their reactions to mean I’m no good?
— Embarrassed By Flopping, River Heights
Dear Embarrassed: Take those reactions to mean you need more practice and new material. Your friends bit their lips subconsciously because they didn’t want to say anything negative to hurt you. They didn’t laugh, because it’s hard to fake a laugh.
To get better, find comedians you like online who are successful and practise their material. Notice where they pause, where people laugh, and what kind of jokes might suit your personality. Then write some similar types of jokes. You can learn to be funnier, but it takes a lot of work! Next time, try two other friends who are different personalities from the first pair — and a little more like you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I heard some upsetting stuff up at my cousin’s cabin because the walls are thin and I was still awake at 3 a.m. It involves two adults everybody knows and loves, and their family. It’s about a breakup that’s coming up in the fall. I want to ask my mom about it, but then she will know — and it’s one of her siblings who is breaking up.
I need to discuss it with somebody. Would my dad be the one to tell? I don’t know if he’d keep it a secret from my mom. Please help, as it’s too hard a secret to carry by myself.
— Upset Over Breakup Coming, Winnipeg
Dear Upset Over Breakup: Adults often know a lot they don’t tell their kids even if they are a bit older, as I suspect you are. If a couple is ready to break up, they often confide in a brother or sister, way before it happens. There’s a very good chance your mom already knows. She would not like to find out later you carried this heavy secret all summer, alone.
If your mom’s sister or brother is going to end their marriage in the fall, there will already have been many signs the marriage was in serious trouble, and your mom would probably have noticed by now. So, go ahead and tell her what you heard, and it will stop running around your brain and making you upset.
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.