DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm 41 and single since my break-up 10 years ago. I had a few relationships over the years that never lasted long because I always had my disabled child with me on weekends and sometimes during the week. She takes up most of my time, and I love her dearly. This summer it's been hitting me how alone I am. I feel I'm running out of time, or simply getting too old to find anyone. No one seem to be interested. Either no one wants a disabled child in their lives, or it's me and my problems.
My relationship with my ex was full of verbal, emotional, and the odd time, physical abuse. The verbal abuse only stopped last year. I find I can't trust anyone. I don't get paid much either. I love my job, and why should I quit just because it doesn't pay $18 a hour? I'm not cheap, I just spend most of my money on my child's needs, so there's no cash for me. I go to counselling myself, just to talk to someone. Most of my closest friends have left the city. The only thing that's keeping me going is my job and my child.
I want to grow old with someone. I just feel too scared and too broke to find a new relationship. I'm getting close to my the end of my rope, but holding on for my dear life and am not going to give up because I love life and who I am. Any suggestions for me? -- Lonely, Near Downtown
Dear Lonely: Because people move so much these days, it's important to keep making new friendships all the time. If you're not ready for a trusting love relationship yet, at least build up your friendships through working with a charity when you're not with your child. Good, kind people are attracted to charity work. As for your trust problem, did you know that seeing a psychiatrist is free on Medicare, although there may be a waiting list. You need to work on regaining your trust in men before you date anyone again, and how to pick a better man. Your physician must refer you to a psychiatrist, so see your doctor soon and get that happening. Forty-one is way too young to give up on your love life.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This guy I was dating hit my child, so I clocked him with a metal vase. He threatened to hit me, back, so I picked up the phone and yelled at him, "I'm dialling 911 to report you. Zero tolerance, you jerk! Get out of my house!" He ran, saying "I'll be back to get you, $%&*." I said, "The cops will get you -- threats, and I have a witness." Women don't have to take this crap anymore and I want you to tell them that. -- Tougher Than Him, Transcona
Dear Tougher: One little thing -- did you not know you could be charged with assault for "clocking" this guy? Because he hit your child first, he probably wouldn't get much sympathy, but you should be aware forceful words and dialling 911 at the same time are smarter moves than any physical blows dealt on your part. Some women, just like you, have hit someone with a blunt object to scare him off, and accidentally killed the guy by mistake, and had to pay for it. Now let's talk about the guys you date. Consider not bringing them anywhere around your child until they have been time-tested and found to be patient and non-violent with both adults and children. Yes, that could take a while.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a strange man in a patio caf© and we had a two-hour existential conversation. I'm a philosophy major and love a good discussion. In the end I denounced him as a nihilist. To my shock and amazement, he called me some very filthy words in return. I got scared and swept out of the place. He left right behind me and tried to follow me. I got on a bus, and he got on behind me. I jumped off in a last minute dodge, and he missed me by a block. I ran backwards towards the caf© and lost him completely. Now I'm scared to go back to my favourite caf©. Why shouldn't I go back. I have the right. -- Supremely Annoyed, Corydon District
Dear Annoyed: This is Winnipeg. If you can avoid that one caf© for a number of weeks, nobody will be sitting outside any more because it will be too cold. Seriously, let's talk about what led up to this possible assault. You need to realize that playing verbal gymnastics with a total stranger, and then throwing out insults about his destructiveness and total lack of values (nihilism is often mentioned in the same breath as Hitler) is a very bad idea. You were showing off your youthful intellect and playing the careless bohemian without realizing this guy has a temper and he was not averse to chasing you down, and demonstrating his dark side. This was much different from a philosophy class where you have other students and a professor to moderate the conversation. In this case, you got personally involved "alone" with a total stranger. You don't know what he thought was going on -- perhaps a prelude to sex. Then you dumped an insult on him, and being unstable anyway, he blew a gasket started coming after you. Staying away from encounters with strangers is a good rule, especially when you still don't have spidey senses that tell you early on that a person is giving off strange vibes. Until that time, you could do with a no-nonsense women's self-defence course like Wen-Do (943-2444).
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