DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My husband and I are probably splitting up, but he wants to take one son and leave me one, like dividing up a pair of armchairs. They are 15 and 16 and have always been together. They don't always get along but then, hey, didn't they watch their dad and me nattering at each other? OK, our marriage isn't unbearable, it's just boring and I have had enough. My counsellor is hinting I should stay two more years until the kids are "up and out at university in another city." They are both smart boys and that has been the educational plan forever. But I want to get on with my life now! My husband doesn't want to break up at all. Do you think this demand is a ploy to try to make me stay? -- Not Stupid, Winnipeg
Dear Not Stupid: It may be a ploy, but think about this: Research has shown kids do better with two parents in an intact family during their formative years, even if the parents are cranky with each other. As long as parents are not beating each other about the head or saying horrific things to each other, kids would much rather have the folks together with them. A boring union with spats is OK. As you know, they don't care if you have sex or not; they don't even want to think about it. Why not try to spend the next two years focused on the kids, instead of fighting over a divorce you can get a few years later? The 24 months before the boys leave will fly by. Hopefully, your sons can study well and graduate with high marks once the squabbling and divorce talk ends. Yes, it's a sacrifice, but it will facilitate careers that will support your sons, their marriages and your future grandchildren. Divorce messes kids of all ages up to a degree, but much worse when they are still living at home. Once they're gone, you and your husband can decide what you're going to do next.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I socked my partner in the face because he deserved it, and he snuck up behind me five minutes later and kicked me in the behind. It wasn't much of a kick -- just a tap -- and it struck me as funny, so I started laughing at the both of us. He didn't like being laughed at and waltzed out to the bar. I went to my mom's in the country for that weekend and when I came back he'd packed and moved to his auntie's, leaving me with a big, fat, expensive lease. I want his half of the money until the lease is up. He says to forget it -- he didn't sign it. -- Chasing Him For Six Months' Rent, Wpg.
Dear Chasing: It's not worth the energy. Apartments are easy to unload. Sublet as fast as you can and get a small place for yourself. You signed the lease, which means you legally promised to pay the full amount of the rent, no matter what happens to your apartment mates. It's best to make it a rule to only sign leases for places you can afford all by yourself. If someone moves in, their rent money is gravy.