Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife is acting like an idiot, and I want you to tell her that. She found an article of clothing in my gym bag that obviously got in there at the gym where my crazy friends and I work out. It's a pair of women's black bikini panties. My wife wouldn't buy the story they were male briefs, and anyway, she knows I'd never wear them. Now two ounces of material are coming between us and all we do is fight over this. Why would they be in my gym bag? Because my friends are jokers, I guess, although nobody's admitting it. I don't cheat, and I'm the only guy in my crowd who is married. -- Victim of a Dumb Joke, South End
Dear Targeted: If you know for sure one of these single clowns tried to break up your marriage, then you have an enemy at the gym. If you're writing me to make it look like you're innocent and you're not, then that's a whole other story. Trying to pass the bikini briefs off as male underwear makes you sound less than honest.
Whatever the case, when you reach a stalemate like this with a spouse, it's time to go for counselling. It may only take a few conversations, but you two need to have a referee involved and you need to get at the truth. If these gym rats are willing to make your wife this upset and miserable, why do you continue to work out with them? That sends the message to your wife that it's OK for these guys to taunt her. If you are seeing someone else and she planted the panties, or you were hiding them in your gym bag as a treasure, your wife deserves to know right now her committed marriage is coming apart.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm feeling sad because my boyfriend has just gone to jail. He told me it wasn't fair to me to be left alone with no boyfriend to hold me and spend time with me just because he did something illegal. I feel like he is so sweet and so thoughtful of my needs that I should stay true to him, but does he really want me that much? What do you think? -- Hurt Feelings, Winnipeg
Dear Hurt: Is he going to be gone a few months, or serving many long years? It's reasonable to stay true if it is a shorter time, but if he's going to serve a major sentence, you may find, at some point, you have to consider his offer to back off. Now isn't the time to make any big decisions, unless he really wants to be free from you and isn't just being sweet.
See how things go in the first month or so and how both of you feel. If he keeps pushing you away, it may not be because he's self-sacrificing. Guys in jail can get sick of relationships with people on the outside, too, or have other women who are interested in communicating with them and visiting them, and they want to be able to do that without awkward situations occurring.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6