DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I want to marry the woman I love, but I am haunted by her "girlish" past. She recently told me that when she was away at summer camp as a teenager, for two years she had a love relationship with a girl. The most they did was lie down and kiss in the woods, but I am worried this desire for the female sex will resurface when the marriage relaxes and gets boring, as so often happens with so much in-your-face familiarity and the kids that come. -- Deep Down Worried, Selkirk
Dear Worried: What does she say about this? That is what you have to hear. Instead of carrying this worry inside yourself, you need to have a heart-to-heart with her, even if it's scary. Was it a stage that's over, or does she still yearn for this girl or this kind of love? Be careful about the tone of your voice or you won't get the truth. You must be interested, but non-judgmental, and avoid labels like "lesbian" or "bisexual." Just do your best listening and you will hear the ring of truth.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I love the men in my office. We pal around after work and they always take me with them, like their mascot. I'm a woman and a bit younger, but I can keep up to any of them in sports, playing pool and drinking games. But, last night, my most immediate boss -- a separated guy -- got pretty blasted and called me a few pet names when we were out in the group. I saw a few guys look, and I was startled, too. Do we have a situation now? I know he's lonely and I'm single and the other guys have girlfriends or are married. I like him as a colleague but am not looking for a romance with him. Help! -- Not His "Sweetie Pie," Broadway
Dear Not His Sweetie: You can still go out with all the guys, but keep a cool eye on the situation. Exit on any excuse if your lonely, separated boss is enthusiastically hitting the sauce. He may have been projecting a little of his old feelings for his wife onto you when he was bombed. Sometimes guys who have recently ended a marriage are still in the habit of calling the woman in their life pet names. Ignore this one-time gaffe; don't say anything about it at all. Monitor the situation, holding back on the drinking yourself, and see what happens. If he makes a clear move, say cheerfully, "Sorry, but I love my job and we could both get in trouble with this." Then change the subject.