July 14, 2020

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You're right to shut down young, nosy ex-pupil

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m a female teacher. I ran into a former student who talked for a while and then asked me boldly about my personal life. I said, "I didn’t feel free to talk about it when I was your teacher, and I don’t feel free now."

The young woman was in her late 20s. She asked if I lived with my female friend — basically wanting to know if I’m lesbian, which I am. She said, "Oh, I always wondered, so I thought I could ask you now." 

Was I wrong to be tight-lipped and cut her off, more than 10 years after teaching her?

Guarding My Privacy, Winnipeg

Dear Guarding: Sometimes people ask questions for the purpose of gossiping, and sometimes not. This may have been the case, and she may have told schoolmates she’s still in contact with. The bottom line: it’s really none of her business.

You have every right to keep your intimate life private. In many cases, you can shut down a gossip by replying "Why do you ask?" and wait for an answer until it gets a little tense. Then you change the topic, say a few more words, wish them the best and bye-bye!


Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’ve been living at my cabin since the COVID-19 pandemic started and some people are saying mean things about doing that, though not to me personally. I’m newly retired and planned to make the cabin my three-season world. Only in the depths of winter will I not be living out here for many months at a time.

Because of the attitude of some people, I’m not doing major shopping in the local stores but bringing in my own supplies from the city. Why are some people making cottagers feel like outsiders? It makes me sad about a place I love and want to adopt as my home.

Worried, Lake Country

Dear Worried: You will find attitudes loosening up if there’s no second wave of illness. In the beginning, some retired people thought it made sense to pack up and go to their cottage and stay safe. Some people who live towns that support these places were fearful of local shelves suddenly being emptied or their hospitals and medical centres not being able to accommodate a lot of city folks who might get sick or seriously ill. That didn’t happen, thank goodness.

We all need to take a deep breath and try to relax and be kind to everyone around us. This pandemic has been a big stress, but if we handle things correctly, it will keep easing up. Hopefully, an attitude of kindness and gratitude for being healthy will prevail.


Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My brother came to me with a question that has me feeling messed up and guilty. He wants to ask out one of my close girlfriends when the COVID-19 thing is over. He’s been secretly talking to her on the phone now for a month.

She and I are younger than him by two years and have always been schoolmates. I know she’s always had a bit of a thing for him, but nothing has happened before now. The truth is, I really don’t want him to go out with her! What if he dumps her like he’s dumped every other girl after he loses interest? His relationships last about six months, at most. Sometimes the girls are very upset, and sometimes they are relieved when it’s over. Nevertheless, I don’t want any complications with a girl buddy of mine after he’s gone.

On the other hand, I should confess I did date one of his best friends last year and I dumped him after a few months because he was such a drinker (even though I’m no angel, either). What should I say?

Hate Emotional Messes, River Heights

Dear Hate Messes: You could tell your brother you’d prefer a mutual hands-off policy with both your girlfriends and his guy friends. Then prepare for him to do whatever he likes anyway!

At least he came to you this time to ask you how you felt — showing some new understanding of what it could lead to. He’s probably remembering how he felt when you dated his buddy, and then dumped him! 


Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend lives with me and she and carries a business cellphone. When we were between bouts of making love recently, her phone started playing its song.

She picked it up and lied, saying she was "alone" and "OK to take a call." In that time when we should have been very close and intimate, she rolled over and took a call from an old client. They talked business while she had her back to me.

When she finally got off the phone, she said, "There, I just made $1,500. Aren’t you proud of me?" And I said, "Not really. You lied and said I wasn’t here, and we were still in bed together."

She told me I was being immature, that she needed to make money when and where she could, and that I should grow up! She got dressed and went to the living room to watch TV and left me in bed. Am I being "immature and unrealistic," as she says?

Feeling Lousy, Fort Garry

Dear Feeling Lousy: Lying and saying she was alone would sting! Your girlfriend could have said, "Actually I do have company, but I could help you if we can keep it brief, or I could phone you back in an hour." Then she should have gone into the living room.

You don’t deserve to be treated like a non-entity in the bed, especially after making love. Unless someone is sick in the hospital or there’s some other emergency, most people turn off their phones to be intimate. They might turn them back on when intimate time runs out and you both get out of bed.

However, things are a little different right now, owing to the coronavirus and people losing work. Many people are very tight for money. Some feel they need be on call and act like they’re alone and ready to talk business at just about any time.

This downturn in business won’t last forever. You two need to talk this out and find better ways to be respectful, while allowing there may be times when you need to take a call and do some work on the spot.


Please send your questions and comments to lovecoach@hotmail.com or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.

Miss Lonelyhearts

Miss Lonelyhearts
Advice Columnist

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.

Read full biography


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