DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I choked down the pink and purple flowers out of a gourmet salad because my friends teased me and forced me to do it, and then I puked them right back up at the table because I was so upset. They all said, "Ewww," and mocked me, and pulled away from me, laughing while the server cleaned up after me. I ran out of the restaurant and took off on the bus, crying all the way home. My mom says they are "mean girls" and bullies and pointed to every other nasty thing they had done to me. She says, "Cut them out of your life now." Easy for her to say. There are 24 hours in every day, I am 16, and they are the only friends I have. There's a whole summer to go before school starts again and I can't make it alone. What do you suggest for me? -- Lonely Girl, New to Winnipeg
Dear Lonely: Rather than cutting off bad friends, it's often better to fade them out and fade others in. Make a new job become your smokescreen. Getting a job sharply decreases the amount of time you have to spend with these girls and provides you with ready-made excuses to see them far less. There are only four or five weeks to go before school starts and many students quit summer jobs in August to have a little holiday, meaning employers are left in the lurch and desperate. Get your mother to help you make a skills-style resumé, listing everything you can do, and look for a part-time job at a fast-food chain or an ice cream palace. That will eat up your time and help you make spending money. At school, join some extra-curricular activities that introduce you to new guys and girls who share your real interests. Your mom is right, you know. These girls are not real friends, so fade them down to casual friends, while you search for a nicer group.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm 44 and my husband is 45 going on 25. He thinks he's really hot with his new hair transplants and his dye-job. Now he's shaved his entire body, started "body sculpting," has a stupid new tattoo and wears muscle shirts inappropriately. I think he looks like a fool. Did I mention his new car? It has a lot more go-power than he does. I was putting up with this nonsense as best I could until last night when he came home late with orange lipstick on his neck. I asked him who'd been with, and he turned deep red to his ears, and said, "Out with the guys." I said, "So tell me, which guy wears orange lipstick and kissed you on the neck?" He turned around, got back in his car, roared down the street and didn't come home for six hours. Now we're not talking at all. What happens now? Where did my loving husband go? I am so lost. -- New Statistic? River Heights
Dear Statistic: Your husband is having a loud mid-life crisis. You can become a statistic or fight it several different ways. Now that the lipstick evidence is in, and he has a place to disappear to for six hours at a whack, it's time to find out what's up. Hire a detective to start in a few weeks when your husband thinks this has fight died down and you are letting it slide and he can go back to a possible lover. If he has one, you can suggest two things -- a break up or an open marriage where you are free to see other men as well. That idea will shock him, and that's a good thing, whether you do anything yourself or not. Now there's two in the game and jealousy comes roaring back. Think you may want him to leave? Don't warn him, but quietly see a domestic lawyer he doesn't know and make a game plan. Then announce you're ready to go. At that point you can suggest relationship counselling, and he may be worried and upset enough to go. If picturing that process somehow disappoints you, then you know you don't want the relationship anymore either.
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