DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I went for a lunch date with a guy I met through an online dating site who ordered a tuna melt sandwich and chewed with his mouth so wide open I could see the food when he ate, and his tonsils when he drank. I became mesmerized by his whole chewing apparatus and couldn't wait to run out of there. He kept bugging me for another date and I finally said, "No! You have rude eating habits and I couldn't possibly." To my amazement he thanked me profusely and then asked me out again. Now I feel like I have to go to be polite. -- Resentful, West End
Dear Resentful: No, you don't have to go just because you're a polite Canadian. This is a sales type who won't take no for an answer. The eating horror show is only part of the problem with him. Tell him you were glad to help, but he'll have to practise on his own and start at Square 1 to charm someone else. Then it's goodbye, even if you have to block him, and he's so thick-skinned, you probably will.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I need your advice on how to stop loving somebody. Even saying that sounds wrong, but I know I have to do this. Over the last three years I have fallen hopelessly in love with someone I can't have. I am married and this lady is single. I'm 13 years older, in my late 50s. We have quite an intimate relationship, but it's not physical because neither of us is willing to cross that line for fear of what it would mean if we were to marry some day. We now both realize I'm too old to go through a divorce and start a new life. We've had that conversation and we'd like to remain friends.
The problem is I feel wretched even thinking about doing this. I miss her every moment I'm not with her and can't stand how empty I feel. It makes me a miserable man to be with (for my wife). My marriage is an empty shell, a facade, though I think my wife loves me. She is a great person, but I have no passion for her and I don't want her to be hurt. It's reached the point where I'd rather vacation away from her. I feel trapped and at times the frustration and hurt causes me to project it on her. What is the best way to work through this? -- Miserable and Hurting
Dear Miserable and Hurting: I find it strange the other woman in this affair is so willing to let things slide. Is she less invested than you are? If you got together right now as couple you might have a fabulous 20 years if you kept yourself athletically fit and the blood was still coursing through your extremities. This lady is most likely past baby-making age so that can't be why she's willing to go along with this suspiciously practical idea of parting.
One feels sorry for your wife who's being kept on as a charity case. You clearly don't feel anything for her beyond friendship and constantly dream of this other woman. You write you're a "miserable man to be with" and you'd rather vacation without your wife. It sounds like a chilly proposition to stay married to you. Maybe your wife would profit by a generous settlement and being set free to find someone who actually loves and desires her. If both you and this younger woman want to get together, is there another hindrance, like kids?
Most of the how to fall out of love books are aimed at situations where one person has kicked the other to the curb, but in your case, you're like the two lovers captured in John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn who can never catch each other and are "For ever panting, and for ever young." Staying apart is all you can do with impossible romance, but, you only live once -- same for your wife. Why stay in a phoney relationship, feeling and acting miserable for the next 20 years or so? See a relationship counsellor alone and talk this out further. Your wife may profit in the end by getting rid of cranky you while she's young enough to find a delightful man who really loves her.