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This article was published 6/5/2012 (3017 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I live with a drinker. We hardly go anywhere. We haven't had sex for years. He doesn't cook, but he hates to take me out to eat -- except on a burger coupon. I've recently been diagnosed with liver problems, so must limit alcohol consumption and fatty foods -- even less things we can do together. I'm on disability now with several health issues, resulting in limited energy. After housekeeping and making his dinner, I'm too tired to bus anywhere, and money is tight now for me. When a friend suggests I stay for dinner, I can't because I have to make sure he has his dinner. Sometimes I do feel happy/excited about some little thing, but his attitude and comments always spoil it. I look forward to nothing. At one time I loved him very much and, despite his problems, believed my love could conquer all. He contributes money to the house and does basic yard maintenance. I'm not up to organizing all my belongings, selling my house, then moving to a suite where I'd have to give up my dog and cat (my ONLY source of affection and joy). Anti-depressives would only mask the problems. Can you think of any solution? --Trapped and Desperate, Winnipeg.
Dear Trapped: You describe a kind of living hell. Your goal should still be to get out of this situation, and into an independent one, with your pets. The love is gone; you lose nothing emotional by leaving, least of all a sex life. You get nothing from this man except a contribution to the house you own. Because your self-esteem is so low, your first stop should be Al-Anon (943-6051) where you will meet other people whose lives have been deeply affected by a drinker, and are finding ways to escape the trap. You'll learn to build up your own social life, independent of him, while you're still with him. A part-time job -- even volunteering -- would help to elevate you. Any advice and resources from readers would be appreciated, so please write in and your answers will be published in an upcoming column.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My husband and I have only been married for one year. We love each other but we're badly suited as house mates. He is a annoying neatnik and I am a slob. The man is very critical; I am easy going. He's a homebody and loves family. I want to travel! But the worse mismatch is he wants kids RIGHT NOW and I don't want any for 10 years. We still love each other like crazy, but it's a constant fight at our place. We're both working at high-paying careers we love, and have plenty of money for travelling. If I quit to have babies, I will be miserable. -- Crying Bride, Age 22
Dear Bride: You need a CCC -- a Carefully Crafted Compromise in counsellor lingo -- and that requires a professional. A relationship counsellor or psychologist who works with couples, could help you work out a deal whereby you take some of your big money and hire cleaning help, you make concrete travel goals and plans for the next five years, and schedule babies after that. You will not stay home alone to raise them, while Hubby goes blithely on with his career. You are a tad young to be having kids, anyway. So, taking five years to enjoy the world of work and travel together would be wise. The relationship counsellor can work with your man to temper his critical mouth and with you to raise you sensitivity to things that need to be done jointly to maintain a house you share. Check your group insurance plans at your workplaces; counselling is probably covered.
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