DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I had dinner across from my hot-looking second cousin once removed, or so my mother calls it. We were, oddly enough, not feeling removed at all. In fact, the only removing that went on was our wandering away from the farm celebration and into the woods, where we kissed passionately against a tree. He is something else.
I told my sister what had gone on when we disappeared and she told my mother, who gave me a talking to. What is the harm in perhaps dating your second cousin once removed? I am 28. -- Kissin' Cousins, Dauphin
Dear Kissin' Cousin: First, you suspect there's something hinky about this or you wouldn't have told you blabbermouth sister. Here's how it works: first cousins can get married in Manitoba, if they want to. There's no legal barrier. Your second cousins are people who share a same great-grandparent with you. "Removed" means the two people in the relationship we're describing -- you and your second cousin, for instance -- are from different generations.
Your mom and sister just don't like the idea that two people who are at all related, would kiss/date/fall in love with/marry each other. The lesson in this? Stop telling your gossipy sister secrets if you don't think you're doing anything wrong and don't want mama to try to stop you. But I think you do feel a little bit odd about this, so let your feelings be your guide.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have a response to your writer who has been married for 40 years -- it's my story. Please don't stay in a relationship where someone who claims to love you has wandering eyes and continues to be unfaithful. Don't let them play games with you and your heart. You deserve more in life, regardless of your age or how long you've been married.
My husband had an affair early in our marriage and actually brought her to the hospital where I'd just had our baby. He did many other suspicious things over 35 years and had another affair with someone close to me. As our marriage was crumbling and we talked about getting help, I caught him sexting the same woman.
I moved out last year. It seemed impossible that a decades-long marriage would come to an end after all this time, but once I left, I thanked the universe I was finally out. I am now with a very loving, very caring man who adores me. I am getting more affection and love than I've ever had in my life. True love -- and I mean true love -- both in the sense of someone who is true to you, and who actively loves you, is out there. I am in my 50s and have never been happier. -- Finally Free, Winnipeg
Dear Finally Free: "Don't throw good years after bad" is a message many women simply don't get. They think they're too old to find someone else, so why try? They stay and give up the rest of their life, which could have been spent in so many wonderful ways -- travelling, following a dream, even finding new love, as you did.
I get many letters from women who have stayed way past the time their kids left the nest and even had the kids beg their parent to get free. It's a waste of precious life; what a shame in a country where women actually can get free to create a better life, unlike many others in repressive societies.
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 R2X 3B6.