Recent articles of Maureen Scurfield
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband swore up and down for decades he’d never buy a cellphone, and when they got the internet on them, he doubled down, saying they were the “dumbest thing” he’d ever seen, that they were the “end of polite society” and more.
Then his darling granddaughter got him a smartphone for his birthday. He has been glued to the thing ever since! It’s been two months of him using the thing all day, every day.
Now I’m the one sick of it. How can I have this conversation with him? Three months ago, I never would have imagined I would be here.
—Feeling Ignored, Fort Garry
DEAR READERS: The letter from “Generational Loss” — the person who lost the last of his grandparents and really misses relationships with older people — generated many suggestions. Thanks to everyone who wrote in! Here are some of the helpful letters:
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My heart hurts for the person who lost all their grandparents, and wants to continue to have elderly people to visit. My sister and I have visited a certain personal care home almost every day for the last year. Our mother passed away after a period of time there, and our father is still there.
There is a desperate need for these darling residents to have a connection with people who will love and care for them. We not only care for our loved ones there, but have become close with many other residents and have built a trusting and loving relationship with them. So many have no one at all! These sweet elderly people matter and need extra love and care.
First step for anyone is usually to do police vulnerable-person checks. So, I’d recommend setting up a meeting with the volunteer or recreation co-ordinator at a home as a start.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My athletic new girlfriend thinks she’s really hot. She started off being lots of fun, in an aggressive and humorous way. I’m a weightlifter and a very big guy, and I thought we were a perfect match. Recently, I’ve found her sexual demands growing tiresome. Her need to “lead and succeed” is so strong, she can’t take turns being submissive, in the power games she wants to play.
After many weeks of letting her have her way with me, it was time for some give and take. I don’t want a weak woman, but I don’t wish to be a constant submissive either. Last weekend l took the lead back from her for a change, and she didn’t like it one bit. What should I do?
— Big Guy, Manitoba
Dear Big Guy: This new romance has turned into a wrestling match, without the scripted humour. You need to understand this may not just be fun play-acting for your girlfriend. It may come from a previous issue with male/female power. You’re OK with exchanging roles, because it’s still playing to you, and you’re the much bigger person. The fun and laughter is gone, so it’s time for both of you to depart the ring, and find new partners who are more suitable.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: A friend of mine has basically not left his house since COVID hit. At first, he was just being cautious, but now I think he’s got an actual problem. His partner left him because she says he’d become a total recluse.
When I try to get him to come out to events, he says he can’t, because everybody will be weird about him finally coming out. I promised him I’d talk to everyone beforehand and make sure they don’t draw attention to him, but he just yelled, “Hell, no!”
It sounds like no matter what reason there is for him to go out, he will find a reason he can’t. I don’t know how to help him.
— Seriously Worried Friend, River Heights
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife is a born-again hippie.
In her 20s, when we got together, she was a freedom-loving hippie girl in tie-dyed clothes and waist-length black hair. So hot!
That faded out naturally, with changing styles. But now that so much tie-dyed clothing has come back, she has a whole new wardrobe of multi-coloured stuff.
“More power to you!” I said when she started dressing this way two summers ago. The hippie thing has continued with her, and she started decorating the house in a very eclectic ’60s style. She started growing out her now-grey hair last spring, and now it’s way down her back — not a good look.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just found out my boyfriend is buying me a huge, expensive diamond engagement ring, before we’ve made any agreement to marry. If I become engaged to him or anybody, I want to help pick out the ring I’ll be wearing for a lifetime!
I appreciate my man is a leader and a go-getter, but we have radically different notions about clothing and jewelry. His taste, as my mom would say, is “ostentatious.”
A little birdie from his family told me he’s proposing to me on Christmas Eve. Yikes! What do you suggest I do?
It will ruin his surprise if I speak up now, but I don’t want to be surprised that night with a big honking ring to wear, no matter how much I love him.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Christmas is coming, and so is my annual heartache. My husband almost broke up with me right after Christmas a few years ago. He had discovered an expensive ring, given to me by my lover. Ironically, that beautiful man and I had broken up before Christmas, but he still gave me the ring. My lover was forced to leave my life, so he wouldn’t lose his home and children.
I foolishly hung on to that precious stone — a symbol of our lost love and passion. My husband found it hidden in a tiny side pocket in my purse, when he was rifling through my personal stuff on some flimsy excuse.
Then all hell broke loose. What a terrible fight! I thought it was the end. But my husband and I have four children, so instead of breaking up, we dragged ourselves off to counselling.
The “deal” we worked out? My husband agreed to spend more time with me and the kids, and stop being a workaholic. I agreed to be faithful, and not ever speak to my former lover again, even as a friend.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I recently lost my last two grandparents. I’m in my 40s and looking for a way to recapture that kind of connection. I tried signing up for an event where you give gifts to seniors in long-term care, but I found it made me feel even more sad as I can’t provide human connection — only things. Those gifts may bring somebody some comfort, but it feels impersonal and I can only feel bittersweet about it.
I don’t want bittersweet. I want to feel what I felt when I spent time with the older generation. I know loneliness is an issue for the elderly but it’s an issue for me, too. Surely there’s a solution here that isn’t just donating stuff? I’m at a loss, though.
— Generational Loss, Crestview
Dear Generational Loss: You’re a kind and loving person and it’s so sad you have now lost all your grandparents. There surely have to be local visiting programs to connect younger and older people, in the way you would most enjoy. I heartily encourage readers to offer any suggestions for you along these lines.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I have a hair fetish. But, I recently got “too lucky” if there is such a thing. I started seeing two women with the perfectly coloured, very long hair.
I thought everything was going great — luckiest guy in the world. Then they met each other through a common sporting interest, and immediately started talking, because frankly, they look like twins.
The talk turned to boyfriends, and I was outed. Why? I have a fetish that involves me brushing it and playing with a specific colour and type of long hair, in a certain way.
I quickly heard from the one with a temper, who told me to “Go date a wig!” which was unnecessarily rude. Everybody has a type of beauty they’re attracted to, right?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I really like this big, sweet guy, who thinks he’s ugly. I met him when we were both first losing weight — a lot of it — at a club. I feel better, and know I look better, but he still looks at himself and sees a big, ugly guy. He looks handsome to me, but he doesn’t feel that way inside.
He has money to buy clothes, so his sister took him shopping and he could actually see he looked good — for a time. He kept losing weight, and now his clothes are hanging off him again. He says he can’t buy more because he’ll grow out of them — and he calls it all a big waste of money! Meanwhile, he’s uncomfortable about his looks again.
It’s not like he doesn’t make good money either. I want to help him, and do it before Christmas, when some of his family is flying into town. Please help!
— Out of Ideas, Norwood
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My boyfriend recently helped his best friend cover up an affair, and I am so grossed out after learning of his part in that. My guy doesn’t think it’s a big deal, because, as he says: “I’d never do that to you, and I want you to know that.”
I just can’t believe he was capable of lying to a number of people, including friends of his and mine, to help his creep friend! How do I get through to him about how wrong this is? He seems to think lying is fine — just so long as it’s not to me, as if that’s some special status I’ve earned.
That makes me wonder what life would be like down the road, if my status was lowered because he’s mad at me. Am I overreacting, or should I break it off with him?
— Allergic to Liars, Osborne Village
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I recently found out one of my friends has been very quietly dating my ex-girlfriend. I guess I shouldn’t care, but I feel betrayed on some level. He should know better — but I should also have seen this coming. He’s exactly the kind of guy who dates his friends’ exes. He’s shy and doesn’t meet women on his own, but talks a lot to his friends’ girlfriends when we’re out as a group.
I left him out of the most recent hangout at my place, and now my other friends are asking about it, guessing the real issue. Should I just get over it, or are my feelings legit?
— Friend or Foe? North End
Dear Friend or Foe: Once you dump a person — you probably don’t want them around anymore. But they are free agents to say and do what they want, and to date freely. Anybody else who might want to ask them out — even a friend of yours — is OK to do that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My heart broke in a million pieces when my fiancé told me he no longer wanted to marry me, although he “will always love and respect me.” What crap! We broke up.
He stayed out of sight and “respected” me for six more weeks, and then he showed up in public with his new girlfriend at a music event I attended. The truth was out.
She looked vaguely familiar from music events. My best friend pointed out this was his ex, with a radical new haircut. I went into shock. Now she’s back, and I hear he’s going to start to play in her own new band. He’ll also be back with his bad music-scene friends.
It hurts me so much! He had quit music and heavy partying, and swore he’d love me forever and said we’d get married and have kids together. The whole package! What really happened? I’m sick of the lies and excuses people feed me.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I was staying at my boyfriend’s place in his guest room all weekend to nurse him, while he had that ugly flu recently. I ran out of things to do alone there, so I decided to do his laundry, as a gift. I thought clean clothes and towels, after so much sickness, would be nice.
I checked all his pockets for change, before throwing his clothes in. And, guess what I found in the pocket of a shirt, lying over his old plugged-in laptop? A tiny list of computer passwords. He was in bed sleeping.
I stayed up half the night going crazy online! Imagine my shock when I found myself in some kinky websites — who knew that about him? Worse than that, I learned two of my “girlfriends” were playing around with him, behind my back.
My weird question for you: We have since fought for hours on the phone, but the love still exists, in some strangled form. What do I do about my inappropriate leftover feelings for him?
DEAR LONELYHEARTS: I’m married and we have a very small family. My husband is not sweet like others are — like kissing or hugging me before sleeping. As a wife, I’m longing for something a normal husband does, and that’s caring and loving.
Most of the time we have no bonding as a family, because he’s always on his phone — either reading, watching something or playing games. He’s addicted to his smartphone, but there’s no other girl involved, I’m very sure.
If a child disturbs him, he gets angry. We are the ones adjusting for him all the time. I don’t want to have a broken family, but I feel a heavy mood, and sometimes I feel depressed and very stressed, because of him.
It’s hard for me to open up to other people or friends, but the pain and tears inside me are overflowing. All I know how to do is cry in the corner, to release my emotions, but I’m tired of crying.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My boyfriend has been cheating on me. Instead of breaking down and crying, apologizing or even just leaving me, he had the gall to ask me if I wanted to be in a “polyamorous” relationship, with him and his other woman!
I broke down crying and told him to never contact me again, but he is calling me non-stop. I feel so angry and betrayed, and he pretends like he doesn’t understand why. He seems to think that because he invited me to be a part of his weird sex life, he’s being charitable. I don’t want his crumbs, but I also feel like an idiot, because I miss him — even after all this! What is wrong with me?
— Betrayed and Played, Winnipeg
Dear Played: You’re missing the guy he “seemed” to be, before he took on another lover. Now you’re getting to know him better. He has an oversized ego.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I always wanted to be an actor and managed to get some pretty good parts in paying shows in other cities, but it wasn’t enough to keep me alive. So, I got a “real” job in sales, and the acting work came in handy. I could be any kind of guy the customer wanted me to be.
That went well money-wise, but then it veered into my love life. I could be the complement to whatever type of woman I ran into. My last girlfriend called me out, asking, “Who are you really? You can play-act anybody, but will the real man please stand up?”
I just don’t know who that would be anymore. I feel really weird. That girlfriend was not wrong, and she’s not here to help me.
Now she’s gone too. I’m always onstage in my life, and can “pivot” to whatever character I need to be. But who am I? I’m feeling creeped out by my own self. What now?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife has started calling me “Mr. Holier Than Thou” and we are hardly speaking. The week she started her new in-office job, I do admit I encouraged her to yap about people at work. I have worked at home alone since COVID hit, and have no office scuttlebutt to share on my end.
But then I got sick of her endless gossip about people I don’t even know. I climbed on my high horse one night and told her I didn’t want her “poisoning my ears with the private business of strangers.” (Like something my grandfather would have said.)
She was shocked at my total change of attitude, and her cheeks went a deep, bright red. She said, “Fine… Mr. Holier Than Thou!” and totally changed the way she operated. Too often now, one of her new girlfriends from work stops by and picks her up for coffee or to go to the bar. She never brings her new friends in.
We are growing farther apart, and I’m worried. How do I keep from losing her?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife put on some Christmas music and loudly announced, “We’re going to Mexico for the holidays!” She was all set to book a two-week trip during our mutual time off work, and planning to pay for the whole thing as her major gift to me! I was shocked, but I was not happy.
I said: “I wish you’d asked me if I wanted to go to Mexico, because I don’t! My mom is sick, and I want to be here for Christmas. It may be her last one at home, and I was planning to make it special for her!”
I said I was intending to do the major cooking for dinner, planned to invite the whole family over, and had hoped for help with the Christmas baking and decorating. My wife started to cry.
She really wants to get away from her religious family at Christmas. Her parents barely tolerate the fact we’re a lesbian couple. Invitations are few and far between to attend holiday gatherings or church services with her family.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I get so depressed when the snow and cold comes every year. I feel depressed for months. I just don’t want to be at home under a SAD (seasonal affective disorder) light twice a day, feeling like there’s something weirdly wrong with me.
I must admit Christmas lights can pull me out of it, for two weeks anyway. But, every November I’m deep in the dumps, feeling low from early dusk to late dawn. Sometimes it’s kind of dark on the bus ride, both to and from home from work. Please help!
— Tragically Deprived of Natural Sunlight, South Osborne
Dear Tragically Deprived: Take control. Creating more light is the key, and you can do it. Start your own indoor season-shifting lighting adventure. There’s no rule that says you can’t decorate your place with lights before Halloween, and change up the colour themes every month. Try it and leave them up until April 1! Your friends will get a kick out of it, and you will feel like inviting them over more to see what’s new.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I recently fell in love with a sweet and kind man, who used to be a moody guy back in high school — as he got older, he got himself therapy. I never knew him before, but people from my crowd went to high school with him.
When they heard I was seriously involved with this guy, they got worried. I’ve told them what he’s like now, and they say irritating things that amount to, “Will his therapy last?”
His problems were parental — his mom and dad both drank. Then his parents stopped drinking, and everybody went for therapy in the end. Now things are peaceful between them and all is good. My guy has no use for drinking.
Why are my friends poking their noses in? This is not their business, is it? But should I tell them some details to allay their fears?
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m worried about my young mother (she had me at 17) who says she’s going on a “big grocery shop’’ every Saturday night at around 8 p.m. and comes home late. She does bring home bags of groceries, but not until midnight.
My dad goes to bed by 9 p.m. as he has to leave for work at 5 a.m. He’s been grumbling that he wonders where Mom goes for so long after shopping on weekends. One Sunday morning, I was cleaning the kitchen and saw her Saturday night grocery bill in the garbage. It said she paid for her stuff at 8:30 p.m. I decided I had to know where else she goes.
It gets dark early now, so last weekend I followed my mother in my boyfriend’s car, wearing his baseball cap with my hair tucked up. After getting the family groceries and throwing them in the trunk, Mom went straight to a little place near our house to gamble — as I suspected she might. I decided to wait a while and maybe catch her on the way out. To my surprise, she quickly came back out, holding some guy’s arm and left in his car.
That was enough for me. I felt sick to my stomach. I went over to my boyfriend’s place and cried my heart out.
DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’m asexual and so is my beautiful girlfriend. We live together harmoniously, and sleep together or apart depending on the demands of the work day. We are affectionate and like to cuddle to watch movies, and we share the same hobbies.
We just don’t care about sex — don’t want it, not interested and are both fine with that.
The trouble is my family thinks we’re holding out on them, in terms of not getting married and not giving them grandchildren. We love each other, but we don’t “do” sex and both have serious careers. We intend to be child-free forever.
What do we tell our parents? Lately, my folks have been telling us they feel sad, because they have no grandchildren. They keep wishing and hoping.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife just came back from a visit to the U.S. to see her flag-waving sister — the one I can’t stand. She was away seven long days and nights, and didn’t phone me once.
I called her cell four or five nights around bedtime, and she didn’t pick up or call back to respond to my messages. Very weird! She’s always on the phone, and generally calls me once or twice a day, even at my work.
This trip, she just called me from the plane on her way home, telling me to come and pick her up. I didn’t answer, and I didn’t go to pick her up.
We’ve only made small talk since she got home. I didn’t question her about her trip after the first night home, because she was just giving me rude yes/no answers to anything I’d ask her about.