Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My sister-in-law is way too close to my husband. He takes her advice on most of our major family purchases and personal problems with our kids and between us as a couple. As his wife, I come third in this line -- it's not even a triangle anymore. In the beginning, when I was close to her, it was a triangle, but she managed to wiggle herself into first place. She is running our marriage. I don't know how to get rid of her because my husband adores her. She has always been close and looked after him when his mom, an alcoholic, was not doing the job.
Now she wants to come and live with us in our new house, which she helped pick out, and I am adamant she will not. I haven't told him this yet, but if she moves in, I'm out. The kids are 18 and 20 and quite independent. -- Absolutely Had It! Tuxedo
Dear Had It: Tell him what you have said here -- that he has effectively gotten himself two wives. Say plainly that you signed on for a marriage of two people, and their interactions together effectively go against your marriage vows. You were supposed to be the one he honours above all others.
Then stand up and roar at the sister wife for a change and tell her you are sick and tired of her trying to run your husband and your marriage and that she will not be living in your new house. It's hard to walk on a doormat that won't lie down.
Suggest marriage counselling immediately, first with you and your husband, and then with his sister for a few sessions. Let him know how far down the line this has gone, and let him think about how he'll feel when he's alone with his sister as the wife figure. Who knows? He may like the idea! If he does, your path is clear: see a domestic lawyer quickly and quietly before those two can do it.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I recently moved to Winnipeg and I am lonely. In Calgary, I had a circle of friends and had lots of fun -- there were things happening every night. In this city I have people at work and then I come home and there's nothing. What do you suggest to a woman who is in business, hetero, single and in her late 30s. -- Lonely New Arrival, Winnipeg
Dear New Arrival: Join every activity you can for one year. After a time, you cut back to the things you like most, but for starters, take golf lessons, join a golf club for a year (which is always good for greasing the wheels, business-wise) and get involved with helping in tournaments. Join a singles-activity club like Adventures for Successful Singles (204-784-3484) where they have 50 different sports, arts and other social events per month. You will meet some nice guys there, too.
Take up swimming and aquasize and meet some women in a friendly setting. Joining an Ultimate Frisbee league is great for the body and attracts fun-loving people in their 20s and 30s. Winnipeg is arty, so you might attend events at a gallery or take art lessons. Volunteering to help at Winnipeg's many summer festivals -- jazz, folk, fringe, and Folklorama -- is another fun way to meet new people.
The second trick is to invite people out after activities for coffee and drinks to deepen each new friendship. Invite people way more than you would ordinarily and have new friends over for barbecues and ethnic-themed dinners.
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..