Recent articles of Maureen Scurfield
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’ve fallen in love with living away from the city and have decided to buy a four-season cabin near the lake I love — if I can find one I like. Then I’ll commute to my work from the lake.
People are warning me it will be lonely when the cottagers go home. I don’t think I’ll care. I’m tired of being a city person and my boss says I can just work online with no problem a few days a week. So, that only involves two or three commutes a week from the lake!
My only worry is this: What if I give up my city house and then discover I don’t like my new lifestyle? That really scares me.
— Waffling, North Kildonan
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m in lust/love with a musician again, and I’m so messed up. We usually spend four afternoons a week together in his bedroom or mine making love, or at the beach. He plays or practises at night with his band. Last night I went to hear him play in front of a crowd. He was great.
The women just love him. I rarely ever go his shows as it hurts to see them trying to hit on him. I know he’s not always true to me.
Today, he shocked me by saying he wanted to take our relationship to a new level, “because I’m so understanding of musicians.” I was driving us both, as well as helping to haul his equipment. I felt my foot suddenly slam on the brakes.
I’m not stupid and I’ve had therapy. It was an automatic protective reaction, right? My dad was a musician who cheated on my mom, and I’ve had relationships with musicians before. As soon as it gets romantic and I invest, then I’m the one who gets hurt and badly too, so now I don’t do that.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I don’t like hanging out and visiting with people very much. Left to my own devices I’d prefer reading and researching science in my field. I’m an introvert.
My folks worry I’m depressed, but the only time I’m depressed is when I’m being forced to go out and “socialize.” Please, what can I tell them to finally get them off my back, and stop worrying that I’m depressed?
— Content as an Introvert, Charleswood
Dear Introvert: No doubt they worry that being alone too much might lead to depression, and take it to the degree of worrying you could quietly slip into a depression and ponder suicide. Now, it’s out there: That’s the worst thought they might have in mind.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband is a career soldier. His father was in the army and so was his grandfather on that side of the family. Now my husband has been pressuring our only son to join army cadets. He has no desire to join.
He has a gentle, creative soul and is into the arts. He’s very talented musically. He does not want to disappoint his army dad, but that isn’t where he wants to be.
I have tried to speak with my husband about it, but he will not listen. He says my only son will continue the family legacy. What to do?
— Army Family Mom, Winnipeg
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: One of my friends always wears extremely low-cut tops and push-up bras. She’s very large in the bust. Our gang are all in our late 40s and early 50s, and she looks like she’s trying too hard. You should see what she wears when we have pool parties!
The other women talk about it behind her back. I’m torn! Do I tell her and hurt her feelings, or just let her be?
— She’s Busting Out, Tuxedo
Dear Busting: Go further than “letting her be” with friends talking behind her back. Support your busty friend out loud. She likes to exhibit her curvaceousness and thinks she looks good, or she wouldn’t wear low-cut styles. Don’t let the other ladies dictate to her with their disapproval. You could stop them.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My girlfriend held up her hand yesterday at the beach and said to me, “If there isn’t a ring on this finger by Christmas, I’ll be gone.” Now I feel like I want her gone already. That was a very pushy move!
We’ve both been married enough — her once, and me twice — and I never really want to get hitched again. It doesn’t seem to mean anything to me, but she wants another go at it. She tells me all her friends are married. Big deal! I’m not ready to shove my head in a noose again, but I do kind of love her. What should I say?
— Shaking My Head, Winnipeg
Dear Shaking: You might not want to mention the noose metaphor to her — it could get you a face full of sand! It’s time to get yourself free, and while you’re at it, liberate her as well. Neither of you sounds romantically inclined. She’s looking at a timeline and feeling too old to dilly-dally, and you’re feeling lukewarm at best. “I kind of love her” doesn’t rate a third trip to the altar for you.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’ve been happily married for more than 20 years. My sister lost her partner a few years ago, so we have included her in many activities and have spent a lot of time together out at the lake. My husband has jokingly referred to her as “sister wife” after the TV show about polygamy, which we all found funny. But lately, these two seem to be sharing private jokes. Last weekend, I was out on my paddleboard, and they both jumped up and looked flustered and guilty when I suddenly returned to the dock. Now I’m worrying something has happened between them. What should I do now? Help!
— Not a Sister Wife! Fort Richmond
Dear Not: A “sister wife” is a term for a woman who openly shares one man with a number of women, sometimes in a polygamous marriage.
The “sister wife” joking may have led to your husband and sister thinking inhibitions had lowered in this little group of three.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Owning my own business has always been a dream of mine and yes, I’m working roughly 16 hours a day, because I’m just getting started.
My husband will not stop complaining about how much time I spend working. He says he feels like I’m slowly pulling away from our family, because most evenings I’m on my phone or computer trying to make things work out. That’s what happens when you start up a new business!
Our college kids are in their late teens with summer jobs. They don’t miss me one bit, and the complaint is really all about my husband and his needs. Sex is the last thing I have time for. How do I convince my husband things will be OK, and that it won’t always be this way?
— Super-busy Wife, Tuxedo
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My boyfriend keeps quitting his jobs. It seems like he always finds something to get seriously upset about within the first six to 12 months and then spends a month or two unemployed while trying to find something else.
He always finds another job, but man, are those unemployed weeks stressful! I wish he would just find something and stick with it.
I understand not wanting to be unhappy at work, but when he just walks out in a huff, it seems so immature. Other people get disrespected at work sometimes, but they just deal with it. His tolerance for criticism is low, but he needs to just deal with it.
We aren’t married, but we do live together. I can’t handle this many more times. Should I just leave him and look for someone with more people skills and stable employment?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I slapped my boyfriend across the face and he slapped me back harder. He says he will not see me again as he does not want to be “induced to return the violence.” His mother used to be a face-slapper.
I don’t think slapping is such a big deal. It’s better than totally beating somebody up. Why is he making such a big deal out of this? Now he won’t even take my calls.
— Don’t Get It, St. James
Dear Don’t Get It: A slap across the face is highly personal and deeply insulting. It also puts the aggressor’s face in line for a return slap.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife keeps trying to bring home suffering animals, and I’m starting to feel like the bad guy. I was happy with just our one old dog, but then my wife brought home an ailing stray cat in a scary situation — so pitiful. We nursed it back to health, and decided to keep it, as we fell in love with it.
I didn’t make a big fuss about that, so my wife brought home another cat — and this time we had a fight. My wife cried, and the cat ended up staying. I wasn’t happy.
Now here’s the kicker: This week she tried to bring an injured bird in from outside. I drew the line, and she had to take that bird elsewhere for help.
I hate living in an expanding zoo! I feel like my wife doesn’t respect me, as I most often don’t have a chance for input. I don’t want another dependent life form in our home. I mean it!
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m one of those short women who prefers to date men over six feet tall. We get a lot of criticism from men on social media, places like Reddit especially. I can’t help it if I’m just attracted to taller men, and I don’t think that it’s wrong. What are your thoughts?
—Short Girl, Tall Guys, Feels Great! Crescentwood
Dear Feels Great: The men who are whining about short women preferring tall men are acting in a very small-minded way. A man with a big personality, big sense of humour, big interests and a big love of life feels fine with his height, whatever it is.
That kind of guy is a winner and wouldn’t have time to whine about certain short women not wanting him. In fact, his girlfriend might be taller than he is, and they’re both fine with it!
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I witnessed my neighbour hit another neighbour’s beautiful car — and she just drove away. What? I went out to look at the car and there was an ugly, long scratch. So, I put an anonymous note in the hit-and-run neighbour’s mailbox, letting her know that someone had seen her, and she needed to do the right thing!
My husband says I should have kept out of it. What do you think?
— Bump-and-Go Witness, Transcona
Dear Witness: Instead of warning the bad driver, you should have told the victim you saw who scratched her car. A person who’d pull a “bump-and-go” on another neighbour’s car is not someone you need to protect and keep as a pal.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I think maybe there’s something wrong with me. At least, my friends think so. I have no interest in having a sexual relationship with anyone, and have never wanted to. I’m not interested in men or women that way. I’m happy just having a few friends, but nothing sexual. I’m 31 years old with a fascinating job, and am quite content.
My friends hint to me there must be something wrong.
OK, I think I’m asexual — at least from what I found on the internet. Why can’t people just leave me alone about this?
— Not Interested in Sex, St. Boniface
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My hot husband is wonderful, as long as he’s not part of a band. Unfortunately, his mantra is “Music is my life.” Inspired by the recent return of the Winnipeg Folk Festival, he has once again joined a band.
I broke into tears when he told me, remembering the last experience. We broke up for four horrible months, because he was “being chased” by a groupie, who eventually got him. He had sex with her and picked up an infection he then brought home to me.
He quit drinking and left his own band to get me back! Before taking him back, I said, “Next time we break up, it will be forever,” and he quickly said, “Don’t worry, darling. Nothing will ever happen again.”
Yeah, and a leopard can’t change his spots. I was a fool for taking him back. I’m already starting to twitch with nervousness. How do I prepare myself for what’s to come, now that he’s in a band again playing for the girls?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m dating a guy who’s eight years older than me (he’s 32) and he’s telling me he loves me after only four dates in three weeks. He’s gorgeous and seemingly intelligent, but I just don’t know what to think.
This seems like a red flag. I didn’t want to ask my family about it, as they already think the age difference is a lot. Please help!
— Seeing a Red Flag? West End
Dear Flag: Watch out! This guy is in an unnatural rush. Listen to your gut instinct and your brain, and trust what you’re feeling and thinking.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: The girl crew I hung around with in high school was a lot of fun. Some of us still know each other, and decided to have a get-together at a rented cottage. One classmate reached out and organized the rental and the Saturday drop-in gathering — spouses and boyfriends were all welcome.
I was really looking forward to going and reconnecting. My husband was happy to accompany me, and was interested in meeting my crazy old friends. The weekend started off on a high note, but shortly started to deteriorate. The organizer has an alcohol problem, as it turns out, and was hitting on some of the men.
My husband was disgusted when she started hitting on him. He said, “We’re getting out of this place!” I was so relieved. We left in a hurry.
Well, I received an angry message from the inebriated organizer two days later. She said that after my husband and I left, the others did too, and that I ruined her weekend reunion! I didn’t respond, I just hung up. My husband said I should call her back and let her have it. I just don’t want any contact. Does anything need to be said?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: At my father’s celebration of life last winter, an older lady came up to me in tears, and passed on her “deepest condolences.” She put a piece of pink paper in my hand with her phone number on it, and asked me to call when things settled. I put the paper in my pocket and actually forgot about it.
Yesterday — six months later — I found it. I was curious to find out what the woman wanted, and called her. I was hit with some upsetting news. My father had a secret family for years, and I have a half-brother. What does she expect me to do with this information?
My mother is still grieving the loss of her husband of 54 years. I do not know what to do. Do I tell my mother and break her heart further? Do I meet with the other woman, and my half-brother? What should I do, if anything?
— Secret Family, Winnipeg
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife is a wild woman. She likes to start making love to me when I’m asleep. That’s easy for her, because I always go to bed early at 9 or 10 p.m., and she goes to bed much later — after watching her recorded shows.
She has a big libido, and that’s partly while I married her, but her timing is awful. She says: “If I didn’t initiate anything when I’m going to bed, we’d never have sex, because you’re always snoring like a buzz saw.”
I’d love to have sex when I’m not dead tired from the physical labour of my job, which starts just after daybreak. And yes, I would want sex almost every day in a perfect world. But no, I don’t want to go to sleep sweaty and tired out in the wee hours when I start work at 5:30 a.m. Please help!
— Can’t Win With Wife, Fort Garry
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife is the jealous type, and I’m about to start suffering for it, big time. Not long ago we moved back to my hometown, and I still have a two exes here. I ran in to my Grade 12 girlfriend in the grocery store this week, and she started gabbing away and welcoming me back to the community — in her phoney way.
My wife was one aisle over, listening to everything. When she came around the corner she said, “Get all caught up?” Then she shot a phoney smile at both of us and flounced off to the car without me.
That should have been enough, but she wasn’t finished. In the car she said: “You’re still attracted to her, aren’t you?” I just shook my head, and sighed. “I married you, not her!” I said.
How do I put a stop to this? That old girlfriend was horrible to me before we broke up, but why should I have to tell my wife that? She’s supposed to trust me.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I found a little black book full of numbers and email addresses when I cleaned out my boyfriend’s car. He was in Vancouver for work. I still don’t know how current that little book is (gulp). I teased him about it, and his face went cold.
He thanked me in a flat voice for cleaning out his dirty car, but he didn’t sound happy. Did I do something wrong? His car is always grubby and I just thought he’d like it better looking nice.
— Stepped in it? Charleswood
Dear Stepped: You definitely did something wrong. By the tone of your letter, you already know that, too.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Summer is lonely for me because my man keeps flying off to work, sometimes for weeks on end. It’s high season for him in an outdoor job he loves. After a couple of weeks, I get through the loneliness, to a state where I’m independent and low-level happy within myself.
I don’t want the hurt and lonely feeling again, so when he comes back for a week, I’m a bit withdrawn for the first days. He imagines it’s going to be a passionate reunion, but I’m shy at first, then happy to see him after 24-48 hours. I’m only sexual again by about the third day, usually. I usually realize at that point that I’ve been putting on the emotional brakes, and lighten up.
He’s always glad to come home to me, but he loves his job and is quite happy when he goes back to work. It annoys me that he’s often whistling as he packs to go, no doubt thinking of what adventures await him.
The last time he was home, he commented on my not seeming happy to see him and wondered if I still loved him. I was shocked! I guess my internal distancing shows. I do love him very much. Sometimes I cry as I watch the taxi pull away to take him to the airport.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m a married guy and my wife went on holiday to see her folks recently. So, I took a drive to a beach, where I have an old pal. There was a woman there at his bonfire get-together who was all on her own. I recognized her as a girl I knew from way-back-when in college. We chatted and she told me she has very lonely this year, because her husband died unexpectedly last Christmas.
She told me very quietly they’d built a cottage together nearby — said it’s not far from the big tree where she and I kissed. What? She whispered that I was her first kiss, and it was “great.” With a few more clues, I finally remembered that night, too.
Well, I couldn’t let that just hang in the air between us, so I walked her home a bit later and kissed her again in the shade of a similar tree. This time she knew what she was doing, and kissed me back. She invited me back to her cabin, but I didn’t go. My body wanted to, but I only walked her part way home, and then turned back.
The problem is, I can’t get her out of my mind, nor the unfinished act we both craved. It felt like fate was inviting us to finish what we started so many years ago at the beach. She said any time I wanted to come up and see her at her cabin, I’d be welcome. Yikes! I love my wife, but I can’t stop thinking about this open invitation. How do I handle this in my head?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I feel like I’m not living my best life. Everyone needs something from me — my time, my money, my food, my babysitting, my free counselling and advice. I can’t recall the last time I did something for myself, or when someone did something nice for me.
How do I start getting control of my life back before it’s too late?
— Mother of Six, Grandmother of Many, St. Norbert
Dear Mom/Grandma: Your loving “caretaker” personality means you’ve never lacked for family company, but grandmothers often lose their own set of adult friends and social life. Families grow to expect you saying: “OK, I’ll cook, or babysit, or cancel my activity tonight to help you.”