DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I've just been through my boyfriend's apartment like a thief and my heart is beating so loud I can hear it in my chest. I found out he has been leading a double life. He has a wife and children in a town outside of Winnipeg and he goes there on the weekends. I thought he worked weekends on the road and stupidly believed everything he told me. No wonder he never invited me to his place. I found pictures, everything. I started to get suspicious when I overheard the tail end of a conversation with a woman. It was overly personal and he blushed to the roots when he saw me and said "Did you hear that? I was talking to my friend at work." He foolishly left his spare house key in the ashtray, and when we were necking before he left me for the weekend, I stole it. I am devastated! He said we were going to get married and have kids (I am in my mid-20s, quite a bit younger). I feel sickened. Shoud I call his other wife? -- Broken Woman, Winnipeg
Dear Broken: She deserves to know the truth of her situation, but pick a time to call her when the children will be asleep. Perhaps you were part of a grandiose scheme to have two wives with kids in each place -- a form of bigamy. Or, maybe he was just cheating and telling you a pack of lies. Interestingly, he'd set it up so he was away every weekday and had another home, not a series of hotels -- and he was promising a family life -- typical moves of a bigamist. You're young and may need to move in with family for awhile to keep this con artist away from you. Do get counselling help because it will give you one big, bad headache to deal with this alone.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met up with an old English teacher of mine at a school reunion and confronted her about the cruel way she hurt me in high school. I'd waited a long time to do that. Then she said something that knocked me right over. "I had to push you away hard, because I was falling in love with you. I'm sorry I hurt you." Then she teared up and walked away. You never know why people do the things they do, but since that moment I am strangely healed. I was in love with her, too, at the time and she had to have known it. -- Older and Wiser Now, South End
Dear Older Now: Teaching can be an intimate thing when the subject matter requires discussion of life and love and other feelings. Young English teachers are especially likely to have a student crushing on them. And, on very rare occasions, a young teacher has feelings back. It's a shame this teacher hurt you deeply in order to push away, because that wound lasted a long time -- and for nothing. At least you are healed, though belatedly. She will have some work to do on herself after that. As hard as it was, that confession may have been cathartic and healing for her, too.
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