DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife and I got into swinging a couple of years back, after the kids were out of province at universities. We joined a private group that went to each others' cabins for sleepovers. This year my wife started going up to the lake a night or two before me, because she only works part-time. By the time I got there last Saturday, I sensed some sneaky things had already happened and she was lying her face off. I told her yesterday she couldn't go to the lake without me any more, and this morning she is packed and gone anyway. Her note says, "You don't own me, and you can't tell me what to do." What now? I have decided not to go to the lake at all this weekend. -- Stubborn, But Not Stupid, Winnipeg
Dear Stubborn: Stubbornly staying away from the scene of the crime is not going to help anything. Get up to the lake the first night she goes off and arrive there unannounced. Yes, you will be the skunk at the swinging party if she's entertaining, but too bad. You need to get to the bottom of this. If she is not there, don't leave a note. Drive back and go to work as usual. Then go right back up again after work. Catch her and let her know the cabin isn't a free space for swinging -- or having an affair with a man or woman -- and you will not stay meekly at home while she plays. Swinging is supposed to be about couples, truth and openness, and her behaviour is not about that anymore.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I got out of jail a while ago and my girlfriend doesn't want me back. She stuck with me all through the jail sentence, but now I'm back for real, she doesn't want to take me in. I'm with my family. She says she loves me, but is terrified of all my old associates coming near her place. I don't even see them any more as part of my own rehabilitation. She says she wasn't scared to communicate with me when I was in jail because then they wouldn't be coming around her. I asked her if she would come to my parent's house or see me or in a public place like at The Forks, and she said, "What's the point of that?" The point is I love her so much. Why did she stay with me through jail and now she doesn't want to see me and hold me? This hurts. Do you think something else is going on with another guy? It's all I can think about. -- Broken Hearted, Winnipeg
Dear Broken: Something's amiss. Although it's understandable she might not want to live with you for the reason stated, it is weird she doesn't even want to see you in person, even once out of curiosity. Perhaps she didn't want to abandon you while you were in prison or force you into a tailspin if she told you she'd found someone on the outside. What was your crime? Is she afraid to be with you for other reasons, such as violence? And how long were you away? She may have gotten lonely, connected with someone else and doesn't dare see you for two reasons: 1) She may have promised the new guy not to see you. 2) She may see you and want you back. The truth is hard to face, but easier than not knowing. Ask her outright if she has found someone new and try to be a little understanding. Remember, she didn't deserve punishment for your crime, such as months and years without a partner to hold her.
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