DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My family got into a big drunken fist fight over Christmas and some of us have cuts and wounds. It came from drinking rye and teasing my brother over who his real father is, until he went crazy. We think it's our uncle, my father's younger brother. Then my mom and dad got into it real bad, and my father hit my mother and gave her a black eye, then we all piled on him and each other. My mother yelled, "Get out, all of you!" Everybody scattered and I went steaming back to the city (the party was at my parents' in the country). It was just another horrible family feud. I swore to everyone I would never go back there, but I didn't really mean it. -- Spoke Too Soon? North End
Dear Spoke Too Soon: You made that vow in the heat of the moment and nobody will have taken it very seriously, but here's an idea to consider for the next family Christmas: Make a vow to yourself you'll leave the scene as soon as the family hits the hard liquor. Go there a day early with a Christmas agenda of your own. Visit with your family individually and give your gifts. If they're not drinking hard at the family dinner, stay for a bit. As soon as they get into the hard liquor, make excuses, like you have a bad headache, and leave immediately. At this point you can only control your own behaviour, but you can let your mom know about your new rules. It might influence others not to booze it up, or it might not. At least, it will protect you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: About a year-and-a-half ago my boyfriend had an affair with a girl in his office. She no longer works there, but did for a time after the affair came to light. He and I shared a home and were best friends well before we ever dated. We mended each other's hurts: he is still is my best friend.
She was younger, prettier and just the kind of girl he likes. Oddly enough, her name was the same as his ex-girlfriend, whom he loved deeply. That girl broke his heart and he came into our relationship with serious baggage. I was no less wounded -- volatile, unkind and bogged down with emotional baggage -- and took it out on him. But, I remained faithful. We were fighting every day before the affair started. I knew instinctively it was going on. I also found evidence on the computer, condoms in his car and a pass code on his cell. Ultimately, he was able to convince me I was so crazy I sought help from a doctor. He told me the truth one day. I forgave him as we have a lot more at stake than our own feelings.
I'm glad I stayed because we survived and I haven't been this happy in my whole life, but I still haven't dealt with my feelings. I still think about it every day and avoid triggers like the park they used to sit at during lunch, or the restaurants they used to eat at. Recently, I sent her a message on Facebook, telling her about the hurt she caused and reminding her that her actions were her karma, and my actions were mine. My BF doesn't know. I feel like I need to tell him, or do I wait to find out if she tells him? Help, I'm torn. -- Wearing my Big-Girl Panties
Dear Panties: If you tell him about contacting the other woman there's going to be a new wave of nasty trouble, so let this be your karma punishment. Wait for a month. If he doesn't mention it, she isn't likely going to tell him and you leave it alone. In the meantime, get thee to a relationship counsellor, which is the best place to vent your anger. Angry baggage from a previous experience made you a nasty partner the first time around with this guy. Now you're carrying a new load and that's dangerous.
No money for help? Some people get release from beating a pillow with a plastic bat, or throwing a box of old dishes at the wall of an abandoned farm building. Do whatever you have to do, but leave this other woman alone. Your mate chose to be with her and cheat on you. She should not have reciprocated with a guy who was taken, but he is actually much more to blame for the betrayal.
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