DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm deeply in love with a man of colour. I have no problem, but he has a problem with my colour. He says the women of his community will never accept me, and that includes his mother, who still lives back home. He said it's OK for him to have a girlfriend from the white community, as that is considered part of growing up, but when it's time to settle down, the wife must be of his same background and religion. This weekend I asked him bluntly if he would ever marry me, and he said sadly, "No, I can't. I would never upset my family that way." I was shocked. Do you think this means he doesn't love me and he's just making excuses? He says he does love me. -- Sunshine Fading, Winnipeg
Dear Fading: Love is not a trump card, as it is in so much of North American society. There are cultures where family, respect and tradition run much deeper than personal feelings of love and passion. When it comes to marrying, you're almost forming a business company -- a joining of two families, and hopefully, similar backgrounds, religious belief and financial status.
This man told you the blunt truth: marriage is just not going to happen for you two. Whether he is using his background and family as an excuse because he doesn't care that deeply, or whether he does, but is staying true to his family's desires, you might never know. What you do know is the answer is a definite no, and that should be enough to turn you away now.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm feeling all confused. I have this boyfriend and we're both incarcerated. I've been in the community twice with him and talked to him for the past three years. I want to settle and help myself. He does his own thing with his friends, acting like he ain't with anyone.
I feel like he doesn't share the same feelings that I have. I became pregnant last year and was due in December, but miscarried. That baby was gonna be his first and this has brought deep depression on me. We talked about having a family together and he wanted 15 (yes, that is correct) kids with me and I would love to more than anything, but I need him there for me physically and mentally.
My friends don't see him like I do. They're telling me to leave him alone, that he's too much into the street life, but I don't want to give up what we've created together. He makes me feel so good, we make each other laugh and no topic is unbearable. I'm not shy around him -- he is like my other half. Obviously, I'm into bad boys. He doesn't know I want to be done with street life and want to settle down, but jail has become a routine for us both and it's not healthy. What do you think I should do? -- Jailhouse Love, Manitoba
Dear Jailhouse Love: Because your love life can be frozen in time once you go to jail, it's hard to progress and to work things out one way or the other. You say how much you love your bad boy, and you also say he doesn't ever stop acting single.
Let's talk about how you know if a man is in love with you. You look at his actions, not his words and jokes, or his cute personality and performance in bed. Is he prowling the bars with buddies and hitting on other women when he's got time on the outside? Is he making any plans for the two of you when you get out? Does he have any intention of going straight so you can be a couple together? These are the things you have to think about -- his real actions.
So, here's a plan that doesn't depend on his behaviour. Use your thinking time in jail to research an educational course you can take to give you skills for when you get out. Can you start taking a course in jail? Can you find government support for a course you want to take when you're released? If you come out of that jail with no plan for yourself except to hitch back onto this unstable guy, you're likely to go back to jail again.
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