DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just met a wonderful man in the grocery line at Safeway and we went for coffee. We were getting along just fine until he mentioned his ex-wife's first name, which was very unusual. I have a doctor whose first name is the same. I asked him if his ex-wife was a doctor and he said yes, how did I know? Then he got up and literally ran from the coffee table to the door. Why would he do that? I am just shocked. He almost toppled the table over trying to get out of there. -- Jaw on the Ground, Winnipeg
Dear Jaw on the Ground: If you mention having run into him, she might give you a clue about him, but doctors are pretty tight-lipped. Maybe she has a protection order against him. Perhaps he has been trying to get back with her. Whatever the case, your knowing her might result in an exchange of information that could get him into trouble. Laugh at his reaction for the joke it is and don't spend another moment puzzling over it. He's a scamp at the least, and a nasty villain at worst -- and you are well rid of him.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I ate so much when I went for Christmas dinner that I threw up afterwards. My hostess was frosty to me and asked me if I thought I should go on home and go to bed. I didn't think so, but she brought me my coat and gently pushed it at me. It wasn't my fault the food was so good I couldn't stop eating in time to keep it all down. Don't you think she was rude.? -- Her Unpopular Guest, River Heights
Dear Unwanted: You made a pig of yourself and threw up the dinner she made. Forgive yourself, of course, but also forgive your cook and hostess for being irked at the imagined visual and the very real sound effects from the bathroom. Gobbling the turkey and all the dishes that went with it was not a classy way to behave. Next time eat slowly, savouring every bite.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I sneaked out after Boxing Day dinner and went to a place where I knew I could get a few drinks on the quiet. I am supposed to be on the wagon and everyone was checking on me at the family party to make sure my hand didn't get near a bottle. My struggle with alcohol is none of their business. They can't monitor me like that! I have a good mind not to go to a family dinner of any kind this year, as I hate them watching me like I am a child. Yes, I am addicted to liquor -- especially scotch -- but it's my difficult life and my concern. I'm not married, and yes, my hands do shake a little bit, but my work doesn't require a steady hand. I feel like telling them to shove off. Should I start refusing these dinners where they watch me with beady eyes like they're my parents, for God's sake? -- Struggling With MY Liquor Problem, Weston
Dear Struggling: If you isolate yourself from all your family, you end up alone with the booze bottle. Liquor is not your friend, thought it may feel like that sometimes. If you must, limit your time with the family, have an excuse to come late and leave early, but don't reject your family parties in total. If you win this battle with liquor you will be glad family did not shove off. If you lose it and you become very ill, you will also be glad they are still there for you. How about rehab, where the staff are not your family, so they're not as annoying, but they can help you kick your addiction? Your own efforts in this battle are not working, so call in the people with expertise.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I am involved with two women and I vowed I would sort this out before the new year. I haven't, because I can't. I have a wife and girlfriend. I don't want to say goodbye to either. My wife is my best friend and she loves me more than she loves herself. But she has a very low sex drive, at least where I am concerned. I guess I am old news. Last fall I fell for a new woman who came to work in my division. We have seen each other covertly every Friday night when I am supposed to be at a hobby meeting. We also spend every day together at work. The sex is out of this world. But now this woman is falling in love with me, and I love her too, though it took me longer to get to that place. It is fair to say I am "in love" with two women. The old love is deeper, but the newer love is so passionate. I don't know what to do. Please help. -- Torn Between Two Women, West Kildonan
Dear Torn: As it stands right now, you're waiting for disaster to strike. Either your wife finds out and your home life blows sky high, or your girlfriend at work gets fed up waiting for you to a make a decision and breaks it off with you. Then you're left staring at each other at work every day, over a painful abyss. Have you made any effort to repair the sexual problem in your relationship with your wife? That is what you promised to do when you made vows at the altar -- to be loyal to her first. Do you want to be with her in five years or with this new woman in five years? If you took away the sexual component with the new woman, how much would be left? At least try to repair the sexual problem with your wife by repairing the emotional things, the hurts and neglect that have turned her off. Do you even know what has turned her off? It wasn't the way you started out together. Play detective. Seeing a counsellor together is the fastest way to get at blocks to intimacy. It's worth a try. I'd tell you not to keep seeing the woman at work at the same time as you get counselling, but you and I both know you would ignore that.