DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I went down to the lake with my new man and it was a bit rainy, so we had to stay indoors. I was expecting an afternoon of sex, or even rum and boardgames, but instead he took out a briefcase he had snuck in, and proceeded to work -- for three whole hours. I was so mad I went out for a long walk and visited some neighbours until it got dark. When I came back, he had the nerve to be angry with me. "Why did you go off and leave me?" he demanded to know. I said, "You were so rude you brought work here to the lake and ignored me when the sun went away. Are you here to be with me or to get some rays?" Things went from bad to worse and we slept on opposite sides of the bed that night. In the morning he woke up and I was packing to go home to the city a day early. When he tried to make up with me, and I wasn't into it, he took out more work and did it. We drove back in silence. Do you think there's any hope for us? We get along OK in the city. -- Lake Lover, River Heights
Dear Lake Lover: People who are plugged in electronically in the city and have a lot of "homework" to do, get nervous when they see a window of opportunity to work. You don't mention this guy's job, but if he can go three hours at blast, he's a busy guy. It's not realistic to ask him to give up working altogether at the lake but he could do it when you agree you're going out to visit neighbours, instead of just taking off. And you can agree on times to work and how long -- three hours is too much at a go, unless the other one of you is sleeping. Some people with busy jobs get up early and work a few hours before the other folks are up in the cabin, or work when the other person goes grocery shopping. You can also invite friends up to the lake and enjoy their company, when your guy is working. Being together 24/7 at the lake can feel like too much pressure. Having said that, no true lake person wants to get stuck for life with a total townie who can't chill at the cabin. You say you're "OK" together in the city. "OK" doesn't really cut it when you're single and looking for love and romance. How about using this summer to find a rain-or-shine lake lover like you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm married, age 54, and an old love has drifted back into my life quite unexpectedly. He comes into the place where I work and I am the buyer for what he has to sell. This started out a pleasant-but-awkward situation and quickly blossomed into a great friendship, with a lot of sexual innuendo, starting with lines like, "What are you going to try to sell me today?" And there are Freudian slips all over the place, which we both enjoyed when we were lovers years ago. We had lunch last Friday, ostensibly to talk business, but it was in a hotel restaurant and we both knew we were there on monkey business. It turned out he had gotten a room just in case, and we ended up there, halfway through lunch. He quickly paid and went up first and I joined him. We had adult fun. OK, so now what? We are both in ho-hum marriages to decent people. -- Feeling Guilty, Downtown
Dear Guilty: What would you like your husband to do after he had an exciting liaison with his old girlfriend? Tell you about it? Keep it to himself? Try to rekindle the sexual side of your relationship? Try to imagine your husband in bed with someone else in a hotel. How do you feel -- horrified, angry hurt, jealous -- or indifferent? Unfortunately, tempting people come along throughout marriage in this modern working world. Even people with a bunch of kids meet other parents at sports and arts events, and a good portion of are single-again parents. Your husband is a decent guy, and you have a decision to make now. Ask your ex-boyfriend, "Are you just messing around or do you want to leave your wife and family?" Chances are good he's just messing around, and so are you. That will make it easier to stop it now, and call it a slice, instead of letting it ruin two marriages. Then try to re-arrange things so you aren't the buyer dealing with him anymore.
You can email problems to firstname.lastname@example.org or write letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.