Put a stop to girl­friend’s ver­bally abu­sive ways

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - LIFE - MAU­REEN SCURFIELD

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: When my big-mouthed girl­friend says some­thing mean to hurt my feel­ings on pur­pose, should I tell her off right then, when I’m mad and might say stupid things? Or, is it smarter to wait un­til I have thought about it, and have come up with some­thing to get her where it re­ally hurts? Is that the way to go? I lose a lot of fights. — Boyfriend Who Loves Her, Age 17 Dear Boyfriend: Given those two choices, it’s bet­ter to re­act when you’re mad and say stupid things than to hurt her cru­elly and lose her. A bet­ter move? Put your hand up like a traf­fic cop and say, “Stop! Your mean mouth is hurt­ing me and I’m about to say some­thing that will re­ally hurt you back. We can talk about this to­mor­row af­ter you have apol­o­gized. Right now, I’m out of here and not ac­cept­ing emails or texts tonight.” Watch her jaw drop. The mouse isn’t roar­ing, but he ap­pears to have grown up. (Worse for her.) This new re­ac­tion clearly doesn’t mean a breakup — you leave the door open. Then take off and talk to a friend, or work off some of your anger phys­i­cally. Do not fire off an email or a text with a smart crack, and don’t look at your phone all night. She needs the dis­ci­pline of be­ing made to wait. She has been bul­ly­ing you, and you need to equal­ize your power with her. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I thought I had for­got­ten about him — The One — af­ter 17 years, and then I saw him at our high school re­union. He walked through the door late, and my heart stopped just like al­ways. He smiled and sud­denly the whole room lit up. My God, he is still so gor­geous! He walked over and put his arm around me like he still owned me and whis­pered a very in­ti­mate hello, us­ing my pet name. I thought he must be sin­gle again (no ring, no men­tion of his wife) and I was so ex­cited, but 45 min­utes later, his wife ar­rived. She walked right onto the dance floor and said loudly to him, “Come on! You’re go­ing home.” I stood there shocked. And then she said to me, “And you, keep your hands off my hus­band!” He shrugged at me, and gave me his ap­peal­ing “What can I do?” look, and trot­ted af­ter her like a puppy. Please tell me what to think. I know how I feel — just hor­ri­ble. — Ship­wreck, Win­nipeg Dear Ship­wreck: This high school heart­throb never grew up. He trot­ted out be­hind his wife be­cause he chose to — and he prob­a­bly en­joys the drama. Run­ning af­ter women, get­ting caught and pulled back in, is all part of their mar­riage game. You are so lucky you didn’t end up with this hound dog. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I want to com­ment on Sad Sin­gle Aunt whose nieces no longer want to help open the cot­tage. It is so sad when di­vi­sions start in a fam­ily. This aunt needs to work fast not to lose the nieces she “loves to pieces.” Open­ing up a cot­tage may be fun for an adult, but to a young per­son it sounds like a lot of work. Who re­ally en­joys all that sweep­ing and clean­ing? The girls are not be­ing “priv­i­leged and spoiled” by not en­joy­ing it. No­body en­joys it. I’d sug­gest she in­vite the niece who can still come and in­vite her to bring a friend along. Ask them to help with one or two small chores, but don’t ex­pect them to help. Make sure you don’t spend the whole weekend clean­ing ei­ther. Spend time with the girls and have fun. Thank them for com­ing to visit. Then next weekend drive down by yourself and fin­ish the heavy clean­ing. — Got the Whole Pic­ture, Win­nipeg Dear Whole Pic­ture: Sin­gle adults some­times don’t un­der­stand the tran­si­tion phase from young people who like to hang out with adults, to teens who have other things on their minds. Your so­lu­tion works. I also sug­gest the aunt in­vite the girls who aren’t com­ing to clean for her, to come out later in the sum­mer and sim­ply have fun. No sense in los­ing them.

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