DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm nervous admitting this, but I did it. I met a man on a plane ride to a sunspot with some single friends. I was sitting away from my friends as I was a last minute add-on to the trip. My seat was beside a handsome man in his 40s travelling alone and we talked quite intimately for an hour or so. It was late at night -- no sexier time for flying to my mind. I had brought a soft blanket with me and it was cold as I tried to go to sleep. The man beside me was cold too. When I offered to share my blanket, he turned and looked deeply into my eyes. I smiled back. A lot happened under that blanket, and then we slipped into the airplane washroom and joined the Mile High Club. The problem? I am actually married. This is what my husband feared when he finally let me go with my single girlfriends on a trip. When I got home, he asked me if I had cheated on him in the country where we went, and I could honestly say no. He didn't ask about the plane. The guilt is driving me crazy now I'm back, but I still love the memory. Should I confess or take this to my grave? -- Guilty Pleasure, Winnipeg
Dear Guilty: Why did your husband fear this from you? Was it generally the free and single influence, or has one of you strayed before? Is there a problem with your marriage sexually and/or emotionally these days? The guilt is eating you up, and sooner or later you will probably tell him. He may break up with you, want counselling to try to save the marriage, or want outside privileges himself if he agrees to stay. But first, you have to take responsibility for what happened and figure this out. This wasn't just an accidental elbow caress under the blanket. You actually walked to the bathroom with this guy, sneaked in and got busy. See a counsellor before you confess, and straighten out in your mind what is going on with you. Was this revenge, or an excuse way to end this marriage? Then own up to it. You weren't even out of the coop for five hours, the length of most Caribbean flights, before you cheated.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: This is for the woman who hasn't gotten gifts from her husband for 12 years. I know how you feel. Try not getting a single gift for any occasion for 52 years. For the first 10, I cried and screamed for not receiving anything. This only made it worse; he simply did not change. Then his favourite saying would be "Is there a special occasion coming up? What date is it?" I finally decided that humour was the best way to deal with this. It became a family joke that dad never bought mom anything for their special occasions. It was referred to "dad pulling his dad thing." My two boys and three girls have been brought up to be very thoughtful and as a result do not forget to remember their special occasions with gifts. I ceased buying my husband any gifts about 10 years ago. When I see something I want -- expensive or not -- I buy it for myself and present him with the bill, thanking him for the gift. You will have to learn to deal with this in your own way as he will probably never change. This is his way of showing some sort of control, and he is not about to relinquish it too easily. -- Still Here After 52 Years, Winnipeg
Dear Still Here: Did you never find out why he hurt you at gift time, every time? Unless his IQ is very low indeed, he didn't forget those dates every year. He chose to ignore them. Make a real effort to find out how this started. His brothers or sisters may know what went on in their family or a previous love relationship to bring him to a place where he was willing to hurt his wife over and over again, rather than buying her a simple gift. Did he hurt the kids the same way? Most people wouldn't understand staying with a man who is cruel and having five kids with them. Is there something you're not telling?
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1350 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, R2X 3B6