DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My heart is broken since I found out my online love is married. She played me along for six months, making excuses (like lack of money) not to come see me. She said she was ashamed of her little house in her small town. Finally, I got impatient and took a flight to her nearest city and drove a rental car to her town. She has an unusual first name; when I asked at the local café where she lived, somebody told me. I drove to the house, thinking I'd surprise her and swing her around and kiss her and say, "I'm here! I love you so much!" but when I got there I saw a man about her age outside shovelling snow.
I asked him if this was where she lived and he said, "It sure is. She's my wife. Who are you?" I said, "Nobody," and ran to the car and took off. When I got home there was an email that said, "You shouldn't have come. Never contact me again."
I don't know what to do or say. She has blocked me everywhere. I can't believe I was so fooled. My brother, who knew I was making the trip, says I'm lucky I only wasted six months, that she's a player and she was using me for some sick fantasy. I am a wreck and feel so betrayed. What can I do now? -- Online Casualty, Winnipeg
Dear Casualty: Well, you did one thing already: you wrote in and warned other people that a person can be completely fooled. You may not have been her first victim, either. Report her to the online service you used. It may or may not help. Some services are stricter than others. With any luck, she'll be banned from that one, at least.
Then forget trying to understand this woman and what she did and get help for your own heart with a relationship counsellor. In a few months, when you've healed significantly, it will be time to look around at real women who check out as the people they say they are. Join some co-ed sports activities, like curling or Ultimate Frisbee, or join other clubs and organizations where real live woman can meet real live men.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I got in a fist fight with a girl at the bar. She bad-mouthed me to some people, so I confronted her. I got so mad I raised my hand and slapped her ignorant mouth. That shut her up, but then she hit me across the back and our friends pushed us both into the women's bathroom where we continued to yell and scream and hit each other again a few times. Then security came and busted us up. We were told to get our coats and they threw us out.
Today I'm in shock. I got an email from her saying she was "sorry for being a drunk and an idiot. Please forgive me." I don't feel like forgiving her! My mother and aunt say it is the best thing to do. What do you think? -- Not Feeling Forgiving, Downtown
Dear Not Feeling It: Write back and say you are still hurting over the fight and what she said about you, but you will give what she has suggested some thought. That way you can simmer down and let it turn over in your mind a few times. For women, the first reaction is often not the final reaction. The later reactions are often kinder and wiser.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6