DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I can't take it any more. I go out for dinner and three out of six people have their phones by their plates ready to take a call in front of everybody. I don't want to lose all my friends, but I don't know what to do. I abhor the rudeness. -- Getting No Respect, Tuxedo
Dear No Respect: The next time a friend wants to go out for dinner, say you've had it with cellphones at dinner. Offer a phone-free dinner after work hours where you will both leave your phones in the car. If the friend is not willing to do that, suggest a shorter phone-free coffee date instead. If even that doesn't work for your friend, you're down to phone calls with voices. If email and texting is all they're prepared to give you, back off. This person is not a friend anymore! Text-only communication is appropriate with workmates who are on the job or in meetings and you need to exchange important information quickly.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I ate at a restaurant and got so drunk they were afraid for my safety. The manager spoke to me about it and delayed my departure with free food and an hour's worth of coffee. They talked to me and got to know me enough to get a number, and secretly called my son to come and take me home. He was very embarrassed and said: "You disgust me. Get help now, or else."
While it's true I often drink to excess, I have a good job and don't drink every day. I told him to respect his father and mind his own business as I put the roof over his head and the food in the fridge. He said, "I don't respect the drunk you've become." Now he's not talking to me and that kid has been the light of my life since his mother died. Please help. -- Single Dad, Winnipeg
Dear Single Dad: You are a serious problem drinker. You binge, which is a form of alcoholism. When a restaurant has to take time and money to bring you down from a drunken state and then weasel the name of a family member out of you so they can call for help, that means they didn't even trust you in a cab.
To re-establish yourself as a responsible adult, and as a decent father, get yourself the help you need now. Call the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (204-944-6200) for an assessment. One of the things the AFM person may ask you is if other people have mentioned you have a drinking problem. Your son, who lives with you and sees how you operate, has told you clearly, and he has had it. You could lose him, and if this is progression, you could lose your job, home and everything you hold dear over time.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is for the hurting nurse who sees her husband's ex-lover visiting a person on her ward and is worried the nurse will neglect the patient. She wrote to say she would never be so unprofessional. Thank you for telling your story through Miss L. I have some appreciation what you are going through.
Be proud of yourself for having the strength to accept that your husband lied. Cowards hide behind lies and bigger cowards justify their lies. If you decide to stay with your husband (your choice, not his), he absolutely needs to admit to his lies, otherwise you will never be able to really trust him again, no matter what you say.
Keep in mind, moving forward without him is not the same as moving forward alone: your family, friends and other support groups can help you. As a nurse, you are probably aware of the many resources available to you, too. Promise yourself to be strong and always get up even if it feels like you can't. -- Understanding Your Pain, Winnipeg
Dear Understanding: Leaving someone with whom you've built a family, a home and a network around you is very difficult. If it can be fixed, and even if scars remain, it can sometimes work out, but only if the cheater comes clean and admits why he or she strayed. Sometimes there's been mutual neglect and misunderstanding -- fault on both sides -- which can be worked out and patched over. In other cases, the cheater was enjoying a warm, loving relationship with his spouse, but got greedy and thought he could get away with it. That problem doesn't patch so easily.
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, MB, R2X 3B6