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Dear Anyone - Love Advice
Love Advice


Strife of Brian Advice Column

No. 1(1) – June 16, 2005

Dear b,

Last May, my son and I left my common-law husband (on the advice of the local police). I now have a lot of resentment towards him. The problem is, since I left him, I have been gaining weight. I am at my highest weight ever and it's bugging me. For some reason, I am not really trying to lose weight and don't really even care about it anymore.

My ex-partner was abusive: emotionally, sexually and physically. I am lucky to no longer have him in my life and I just don't understand why I am packing on the weight. I thought I would be happy since leaving him, but I guess I am not doing that well. I am currently in counseling, but I don't feel it's going anywhere. The only thing the anti-depressants did was help me quit smoking.

Fat and Alone in Oklahoma


Thanks for writing. I can understand why you feel like you’re not doing so well. Your (eventual) honesty is the kind of truth telling that, truthfully, needs to be told.

However, you waver about your weight, saying both, “It’s bugging me” and “I don’t even really care about it anymore.” Since you obviously do care, consider these three phenomena experienced by women in your position: (1) food is often used as a convenient outlet to bury anger; (2) gaining weight is the most common reaction to quitting smoking; and (3) female sexual assault victims commonly “unconsciously” seek to make themselves less attractive to avoid the possibility of future assaults.

I can understand your situation, FAO. I’ve acted in fits of self-loathing and indulgence, when what I should have done was call my ex, and tell her what a shit she was! You probably shouldn’t/can’t do that, but damaging yourself is no answer. This may be both completely simplistic—and worse, cliché—but have you ever thought of kickboxing? Women’s self-defense? I wonder what it would feel like to plant perfectly-grounded, powerfully-executed kicks into a heavy bag. You lose pounds, gain confidence, and work off the aggression and anger.

Speaking as someone who used therapy that went “nowhere,” I can tell you that the benefits of something are not always immediate. Maybe you went to therapy, to get nowhere, to write this letter and get just the advice you believe you need. Who can say? I wouldn’t stop now, in any case.


Dear b,

I have a close friend of 20 years, and he has been married for 10. I'm kind of friends with his wife, too. We went to a concert recently and shared a hotel room. That night, she brought a guy back to the room. I left for a minute, and when I returned, they were in bed. Then I went to the bathroom, and by then they were having full-blown sex. The next morning she claimed she felt bad that she did that in front of me, but not guilty that she cheated on one of my best friends. I did not say anything to my friend, but feel I should. I feel very guilty. I think he will hate me later if he finds out I knew and said nothing. She has since met two men in a chat room plans to meet both. I hate to betray her, but I am more loyal to him. I tried to convince her to be honest, and she finally agreed, but she can't tell him and wants me to. Should I?

Put Between a Rock and a Hard Place in Massachusetts


I can’t help asking myself, “For what reason would a ‘kind of friend’ of a very good friend, have unabashed, unapologetic, adulterous sex in front of you in a hotel room?” And every time I do ask, the answer is not a flattering one: unless there’s an aspect to their relationship you’re not aware of, I’d say she set you up to witness this event. If that’s true she doesn’t deserve much of your consideration.

She has not “agreed” to be honest at all. She agreed that you would be honest FOR her, counting for squat! But enough about the potentially slutty wife.

You’re in a pickle, and I understand. As someone who’s cheated, I don’t think I was worth the consideration either, but could have used a friend. Do you know anyone among your friends who would rather not be told of an affair? I can’t say I do. Neither can I say telling will make things better right away, but for the long-term, it’s the way I’d go.


Dear b,

Hi. I'm a married female and have children. Lately, I have been wondering if it would actually be fun to go out with a young guy, maybe in his 20s. I am talking to some guy right now. He is 22 years old and he really wants to meet me. He knows my age and situation. Should I go out with him and just have a nice time? There will be no sex. I just want to hang out and talk. Or is this really wrong of me to do?

Mysteriously Confused in California


Since you’ve already begun the process, this letter is kind of redundantly useless.

You submitted your letter under the category “love.” I think it belongs under “lust.” Maybe not yours (maybe), but likely the boy’s.

I’m sure this young man would love to meet you. Being a single, 30-something with an interest in at least the idea of an exciting, grown-up, extra-marital affair, I’d love to meet you too. Oh, not for anything sexual! No, no, no. Just so we could... talk. And I KNOW that’s all you want to. You just want to have “fun.” And everyone knows that 22 year-olds are fun! I’m generalizing, or projecting my own pathetic fantasies, but you get the gist.

Really, MCC, if you’re not getting what you want out of your marriage, why don’t you find out what it is, and bring it into your life? How about role play? Imagine this: you’re both just out of college at your first job. Your hands meet on the alarm-stop button over the deep fat fryer. Your eyes say to each other: “I can’t wait to unpeel those polyester trousers off you in the Lucky 8 Motel around the corner and have some fun!” And you do.

I’m getting hot (and craving curly fries) just thinking about it. Good luck.


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Write Brian at brian @ dearanyone.com.

Brian is a writer, consultant, community activist, musician, yoga practitioner, and former teacher, coach, and employment counsellor. If you know one expression that encapsulates all the fragments of his life, he'd like to know so he can register the domain name before the guy who bought Madonna's domain name does. He currently makes his home in Vancouver, B.C.