DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My boyfriend bent my arm back when I wouldn't give him sex, and now it really hurts. When I yelled, he let go, so it's not rape or anything, but I still don't feel totally safe around him. He's the best-looking guy I've ever dated; I'm not very good-looking. He says I'm lucky to have him. He doesn't get mad, except over sex. I'm 16 and he's my first boyfriend. He's 19 and says he's had lots of girls who are hotter than me and I should consider myself lucky. How can I make him stop being angry? -- Lucky or Not, North End
Dear Not Lucky: Any guy who assaults you because you won't have sex with him is capable of much worse. When he tells you you're lucky to be with him and he has had plenty of women, it's verbal bullying. He's trying to beat down your self-esteem so you'll give in and have sex when he wants it. The fault on your side? Sticking around after he gave you a taste of how nasty he can be. That was a warning, so get away from him for good. Next time he may beat you severely, or rape you. Date rape is still rape. Stop being taken in by this mean guy's surface good looks -- he's ugly on the inside and you can't change that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I lost it the other day on my family. It's far from the first time. I screamed at the kids and my husband, too. The kids -- four and six -- started crying. My husband told me to go for a walk and not come back until I was ready to apologize. I walked around for an hour and then went to a bar for two hours to hear some live music. When I came back drunk, he said, "The kids were afraid mommy was never coming back and they cried themselves to sleep." He said, "Our marriage is in serious jeopardy and you are the primary cause." He is a teacher who thinks he's so damn smart. He says he will go after custody of the kids if we break up and right now, I don't care. I know what's the matter with me: I want to go back to being a full-time musician and I'm stuck at home, while he does what he wants for a career. I love my kids, but I'm angry because my musical career is nothing and I want it back. -- Musician No Longer, Winnipeg
Dear Musician: If you're a serious musician and are totally cut off from something as important to you as performing, it feels like an amputation and the rest of you doesn't remain healthy. You need to find a way to incorporate part-time performing into your life this fall. You could start with weekly open mikes or a weekend gig with a band. No doubt your husband would rather have you out entertaining part time and happy the rest of the time. Your six-year-old will probably be in school full-time this year and if your four-year-old is in nursery school half-time, you have time to practise. But you need couples counselling, and you need private help with anger management. Your husband is telling you he's near the end. The screaming has to stop and the heart-to-heart talking has to begin. You are cruising for trouble in family court with your out-of-control anger. If you already know you just want to split up and share custody, or give your husband full custody, then do that as peaceably as you can for the children, and remain attentive, by living close by and honouring the regular visitation schedule and payment of support. Not every woman is the best choice of custodial parent.