DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm all messed up inside. My husband and I had a long-standing relationship with a younger man from the city. Back then, we lived on a farm with no children and both worked in the city. Everything was going fine and we were into our fourth year of having this lovely treat about once every few months, which included him coming out for dinner, intellectual chat and sensual enjoyments.
But then we had a child, and as soon as I got pregnant, I never wanted the young man back after that. We were a regular family, then surprise -- I got an email from him this week. He says he's in love with me and misses me terribly, and suddenly I started missing him. Now I'm all stirred up again and yet I'm a mother now, connected to my small town nearby like a real family. My child changed me, or so I thought. I don't know what to tell my husband, but I know I will see the young man again, with or without permission, like I know I will take my next breath. Do I love this man too? Should I tell my husband or not? I think it would hurt him. -- Guarding My Secret, Outside Winnipeg
Dear Guarding: Secrets withheld from a love partner can become wedges that harden over time, so tell your husband the young man has contacted you. Your mate was part of this relationship that happened before you two had a family. Keeping the renewed contact secret will make it much more important than it is once it's out.
You were able to let the young man go when you got pregnant and started a family. He wasn't that important to you at that time. Had he not written, you might never have thought about him again in the way you are this week. So what is this really about? If you were in love with him, you would have longed for him since you last saw him, but you didn't. Are you bored, flattered, stimulated, or maybe all three? Just don't tell yourself you're suddenly "in love" because he said he was.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Thanksgiving and Halloween are over and now here comes Christmas without the kids. The stores must have put up the decorations overnight and they just make me sad. For the second year our grown kids on the East Coast tell us they aren't coming home for Christmas. They say they don't have enough money to travel with two little kids and everything. (Nor are they inviting us to visit them, I notice.) So what should we do? Last year was so sad when my husband and I stared at each other by the Christmas tree with no family around. Sorry to be a crybaby, but I just feel so sad. -- Lonely Already, North End
Dear Lonely Already: Send the kids and grandkids the money to come home, if they want to do that. If they say no, book a flight to an exciting place and enjoy Christmas away with no guilt.
When you're away, Christmas is only one day, not a whole season. Go a week early to get out of Winnipeg's Christmas atmosphere and stay until New Year's. If you do something proactive like travelling to new places instead of hurting over memories of old Christmases, you'll start planning and looking forward to the holiday time again.
Mailing gifts will be a big job, so do it in early December and then move right into travel prep. Now get on the phone! Action beats depression anytime.