DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife sucks air through her teeth when she pauses in talking and it drives me right nuts. The hair on the back of my neck stands on end. She has loose false teeth that click when she talks and her hair is generally shedding dandruff flakes. Yet, I still love her and have never criticized until now. Yesterday, she had the colossal nerve to sit me down for a big talk about a habit of mine she can't stand. She says I have a certain loud, fake way of laughing to attract attention to myself when we are out in an audience. She says it's embarrassing to be with me, and she asked me if I could "correct the problem." That's right! Just like a school marm. I told her what she could do with that idea and outlined the excruciatingly annoying things she does. Now we're barely talking. What now? -- Her Fake Laugher, Westwood
Dear Laugher: This situation is awkward and horrible right now, but not a deal-breaker. In fact, it's part of most normal marriages. The problem is, you left these annoyances so long you that had a big bonfire to light when you started throwing matches. It's time to negotiate a deal. You trade your loud public laughing for your wife getting her dentures re-fitted.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is for Gone Stone Cold, whose husband would not get out of bed to help her when she was seriously ill. The very fact that he would not take her to the hospital shows that he does not put her first when it is a medical emergency and that is a deal-breaker. She should get rid of him right away. Never mind getting counselling. Get a lawyer. -- Don't Hesitate, Wpg.
Dear Don't Hesitate: If this woman were not married to the man, one would hope she'd be gone in a flash, but that is not what often happens. I hear from many unhappy people -- men and women -- who stay with weak, lazy, selfish people because they married them. They were hoping that the weak character would change magically, or with the passage of time. But basic character doesn't change. These people go on to have children, and then they are really stuck in miserable, unhappy marriages where they do all the heavy lifting. How sacred is the marriage vow when a partner proves to be a dud early on? Please write me with your ideas.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6