DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: This is in response to Trapped, the woman who feels she is doomed to stay in a living hell of a marriage. Her reason for not accepting friends' suggestions to stay for dinner and socialize (she has to make her husband's dinner every night) offers a clue. The husband can heat up something -- leftovers, a frozen dinner, order in a pizza, or make a sandwich. She needs time with her friend(s) and their support in planning a departure from this hell. To not be overwhelmed, she needs to make step-by-step plans. Her list should include information from a real estate agent, a place for pets to stay during transition, medical advice, moving companies' rates, want ads to find a duplex, apartment or small house with a garden for her pets. And she really needs legal advice. Each step will boost self-esteem and give an increasing sense of purpose. Once in a new space with her pets, the feeling of relief and new possibilities will more than make up for the effort and uncertainty of this life transition. To look after herself, she could make a list of 50 things that she enjoys, and do one of these things every day. -- Been There, Done That, Winnipeg
Dear Done That: Thanks for sharing a list from your personal experience with this lady. One caution: If she enlists friends to help, she has to be very sure they can keep her secret as everything is blown once her mate finds out, and starts interfering with her plans to become independent. It's her house, after all, and though he's treated her badly for years and acts like he wants nothing to do with her beyond keeping house, he may start pouring on the syrup to keep the roof over his head.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My dumb boyfriend believes in the Mayan 2012 end of the world. He also believed in the "tragic" circumstances of Y2K, which came to nothing. We had distilled water and canned goods stashed in our basement to last six months. I put up with his nuttiness because I love him, but I hate to think what he'll be like in coming months. What should I do? -- Living With an End-of-Worlder, Winnipeg
Dear Living: You can make a good argument for the world carrying on by researching your man's favourite topic and finding out how many times people have gone up the mountain to meet their maker and had to come back down again. But, because doomsday predictions are belief-oriented rather than fact-oriented, you may have to wait until the minute after the supposed end to see your beloved relax again. Some people say it's the selfish human spirit -- wanting to think we'll be the ones there for the end of this world. It's hard to deal with a person who's fascinated and a tad paranoid by topics like doomsday, but it's not good to let them go unchallenged. Doomsday prophecies will always exist and he will get wrapped up in another one after this fuss subsides. It would be good to investigate why, with a counsellor, if you can get him to go.
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