DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm 28 and deeply "in love" with my dog. I know I love him more than my partner, who is often grumpy and stressed. I have no children and admit I spoil my dog like a human and talk baby talk to him. Last night my partner suggested I love the dog "more than I should" as if there's something creepy about it. I told him he was "full of it" and the fight built from there. He said he doesn't even like animals because they're dirty and shed hair all over the place. He finally said it was either him or the dog, and I said, "Well, I'm not getting rid of my dog!" Today he has said nothing, but I can feel a storm brewing and he is packing things in the back room. The thing is I'm not changing, but I do kind of love my boyfriend. I am so upset! What to do? -- Got a Stomach Ache, Winnipeg
Dear Stomach Ache: To form a lifelong alliance with a person who dislikes animals could be a mistake for someone like you. You're a person who admits to humanizing animals to an extent and you need a love partner who thinks that's OK, and maybe even finds it cute. And let's get right to the crux of this problem: your partner is grumpy and unpleasant so you're making your dog into a partner who is the larger source of love and fun and activity. Who do you go for walks with twice a day? Not your cranky boyfriend. Who gets the love talk? The dog. So consider letting this relationship with Grumpy Guy go. While you're getting over this lost romance, forget the solo walks and start taking your dog to dog parks. There you will quickly see who loves dogs in this city.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I work at a herpes research clinic and wanted to share some information with you regarding your answer to Thanks in Advance in your Miss Lonelyhearts Sept. 1 column.
It is important to note the virus can be transmitted to a sexual partner even in the absence of physical symptoms, i.e. herpes lesion, sores or bumps. The virus can be present on the surface of the skin (called "viral shedding") anywhere in the boxer short region, at any time and without any symptoms. Furthermore, there is no commercially available rapid test to determine if someone is shedding virus at a given time. Research has shown (http://depts.washington.edu/herpes/php_uploads/publications/JAMA-2011-Tronstein-1441-9.pdf) that people who do not have any symptoms are still contagious 10.2 per cent of a month, on average.
There is a lot more information on herpes at the University of Washington Virology Research Clinic's website at http://herpes.washington.edu. -- One Who Knows, No Address
Dear One Who Knows: Since nothing is visible, one just has to decide if he or she is going to take a chance on the person with herpes, because there is always a chance of infecting with no warning signs. It's extremely important to wait and see if there is a good relationship happening first and if it's worth the risk. That makes it even more difficult for the herpes carrier to tell the new person if they carry the herpes virus. One reader told me her new man friend waited more than a year to tell her he had herpes. She had been on the verge of breaking it off, when he finally confessed why he wouldn't make love with her. They have been together for almost a decade now with not one outbreak. Like the person recently whose virus had settled down to no outbreaks for years, it isn't causing any grief at this point, but there's always that small possibility.
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