DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I caused trouble between my employer and his wife by having a short affair with the man. I'm talking two short events I can hardly remember, since we'd had so much wine. His wife just found out a few weeks ago -- the flings were after a Christmas party she couldn't attend, and New Year's Day at my place. She did some work for him at the office recently, and snooped into an older computer tower stashed under his desk. Because this is a small business with not much computer security, I had also sent him a few pictures of myself in a little Santa Baby outfit I had worn for him and I thought it was perfectly safe. Now, Wifey has demanded I be fired or she will divorce him and split up the family. He quickly found me a job in a firm with a friend of his who owes him a favour. Should I take it? I feel like used Kleenex. I don't want to go, but I have three kids to support by myself and am desperate for the work. What should I do? -- Getting the Shuffle, Winnipeg
Dear Shuffle: Don't let yourself and your kids starve over your mistake. Take the job at the other firm for a short time, if you must, but keep looking until you find a job that has nothing to do with these two men. It's likely your present boss confessed to his friend why he needed you out. And now, let's talk about theft. It takes two people willing to betray a wife. Next time you want a fling, go after a guy who doesn't have a wife and kids to hurt. You think kids don't hear their parent's bitter fights? They certainly do, and it hurts them deeply.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I went missing for a few days. OK, a week. I told my husband in a note on the fridge that I was all right but not to look for me. It was a freedom I hadn't known in almost 20 years. I went out to the country and visited friends and relatives he can't stand and lay beside the lake like I used to do when I was a kid. A week later I came home and the house was a wreck, the kitchen stunk of old garbage, there were booze bottles everywhere and evidence of major drinking. When my husband finally came through the door, he said, "You put me through hell, you $%@*. I don't want you any more. I packed your bags. They are going to be in your car in five minutes, and you're outta here forever!" He sounded drunk and he can be violent. I followed him quietly, and drove with my suitcases straight to my mother's. Here I am. I have no kids to bother her, but she doesn't want me to stay. All I've got is my job. -- Nobody Wants Me, North End
Dear Nobody Wants Me: You left your husband to twist in the wind. You went away without saying if or when you'd be back. He went to hell for a whole week, and now he's packed you up. You can't blame him. Thankfully, you have a job. You need to find a little place now, like a room or suite in a house, and respect your mom's wishes. Then you start over completely. Life is not an upward climb for most. It is, too often, a game of snakes and ladders. Realize you chose the snakey ride down from the uncomfortable place where you were sitting in life. Why? You probably needed this husband to dump you, for whatever reason. Now you are free again. Accept that you were looking for that exact result, and start looking to rebuild in a way that will feel better than the life you had before. Some tips to help? Only get back in touch with the people you really care about, work hard looking for advancement in your job, and find a new set of friends who don't know your ex.