Kitties, sticky fingers and sad, creepy dads

Joey enjoyed the film Lincoln.

I asked a friend to care for my cat while I was on vacation and promised to pay him, since he’s currently unemployed. When I returned home, I noticed several items of sentimental value missing. I called my friend, and he said he came by once with a few friends because they were all headed out for the evening. He admitted that one of them probably took my stuff. I told him to get everything back. He said he would, but now claims he doesn’t know if his friends did it because they say they didn’t. I said I would not pay him until I got my stuff back. He keeps leaving me messages demanding his money. What should I do?

Pay him. It’s a frustrating situation, but you don’t really know who stole your tchotchkes. If another friend or a former love interest has a key to your home, he or she might be the one with sticky fingers. So don’t be seduced by assumptions, be smart. Change your locks. And, in the future, hire a cat sitter on the basis of skills and not just his need for cash.

You can also file a police report online, but don’t expect officers to locate your belongings. Do it to create a paper trail just in case you find one of your knickknacks for sale on Craigslist. Most of all, be grateful that nothing you truly value was stolen. Gratitude will restore your peace of mind.

My dad is 50 years old, twice divorced and a mess when it comes to women. I tried to fix him up, but he wasn’t interested. He gets really worked up over someone he sees in a coffee shop for five minutes. Even if he never talks to her, he obsesses and keeps saying that he blew it, because she was probably his soul mate. He actually believes this. How can I get him to see that he acts like such a loser?

Why would you want your dad to feel worse? He berates himself for not risking a chat with an attractive stranger. He accuses himself of ruining opportunities to meet the woman he imagines as his soul mate. He fantasizes that certain physical attributes guarantee compatibility, but fails to invest the time required to create a relationship built on mutual chemistry, friendship, trust and commitment. You don’t have to clue him in. He knows he is lost. That’s why he tries so hard to pretend that he will be saved by the right relationship.

Stop critiquing your dad’s behavior. Commit to not repeating it. Evolve beyond his limited understanding of love by loving him as he is and entering into relationships based in shared values, real friendship and honesty. He may never recognize you as a role model for the right relationship, but at least you won’t be stuck in his emotional prison.

Why do so many middle-aged men have dating profiles that include photos where they are partying with their teenage or 20-something daughters? Isn’t that a red flag?

Men and women who are proud of their progeny believe their attractive heirs are a reflection of their own once-good looks. But next to a spicy young woman in a revealing halter top, Dad just looks old. And yes, he appears somewhat creepy, because people perusing the profiles have no idea who the woman is. (His type? A rep from a beer company at a Vegas party? His daughter?) What kind of man would put sizzling pics of his daughter on his profile? One who is only thinking of himself or not thinking at all. Decide if that’s the kind of man you want to connect with online. I suspect not.

Meditation of the Week

<p>“Where there is love there is life,” said Mahatma Gandhi. Are you making loving choices? What is needed for you to feel fully alive?</p>