DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My bride cooks likes she's feeding two little mice. I'm always so hungry after one of her dinners, I sneak off to eat at the drive-thru. I can't stand her cooking. I like meat and potatoes and vegetables and desserts and I'm a slim guy with no digestive problems. I finally told her that, in a bitter fight we had. I said, "You call that dinner?" She says she's going vegan and that's that. Help! -- Starving Rat, Winnipeg
Dear Rat: You're not at the mercy of your wife's cooking. She can be a happy vegan and you can cook and eat everything you want. It's easy to throw a roast in the oven and potatoes and veggies in pots of water. The two of you can share big salads. It's old-fashioned to think you both have to maintain the same diet and that she does the cooking and deciding for you. Next time you hit the drive-thru, make your next stop a place with great cookbooks.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I was one of those wives who tried to keep a marriage going for years by doing all the heavy lifting, as you called it in your response to the lady whose husband wouldn't get out of bed to drive her to the hospital. MY marriage eventually failed, as one-sided relationships do. I nurtured, compromised, forgave and made excuses for his inexcusable behaviour. He too, refused to drive me to the hospital - when I needed surgery, twice. Marriage is a partnership that demands the active participation of both individuals. If one partner withdraws emotionally or physically, ceases to love, honour and cherish the other, forsaking all others, then it is no longer a union. It becomes one person desperately clinging. After I finally left my husband, one of my teenaged daughters asked me what I thought of her new boyfriend. She really wanted me to approve of him. I didn't! But I told her that if she liked him, and he made her "feel good about herself" that was all that mattered. Only a healthy relationship was worth going through hell for. If he didn't, she should get out as quickly as possible, learn from it, and move on. Now I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world. Whatever we face, we do so together. Our vows are sacred because we both commit ourselves to them with all we have and all we are. -- One Very Lucky Lady, Winnipeg
Dear Lucky Lady: That's wasn't so much luck as finally knowing what you were looking for, the second time around -- a foundation of strong character, underpinning a personality that attracts you. You knew a good partner loves and validates who you really are, and is willing to do his or her half enthusiastically. Marriages require nurturing and maintenance from two people, and then it's not really "work." It's more like gardening in fertile ground.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm a short person with a big frame. Some might say I'm squatty, but they better not, or I'd give them a cuff. I eat a lot of good food, and am healthy. I exercise a lot and can lift a lot of weight. The other day my boyfriend told me he was jealous of my strength and that I would "make a better man" than he does. I experienced this like a back-handed compliment and the longer I thought about it, the more it stung. I may be tough, but I have feelings. I phoned him up at three in the morning and told him to get off his lazy ass and get as strong as me, or back off. Instead of going to the gym and starting to eat right (he's a gone-to-fat weightlifter), I now hear he was at the bar making out with a girl he knows I hate. What does this mean? -- Hurting Bad, Downtown
Dear Hurting: This is passive-aggressive behaviour. Instead of telling you directly he can't stand feeling competitive with you and needs to bow out, he's hustling chicks at the bar so the word will get back to you. Time to make second phone call and tell him, without mentioning the women at the bar, that the two of you are finished. Don't give the satisfaction of thinking you're doing this because he's making you jealous. Just blow him off, and move on. He knows what he's been up to.
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