DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My wife and I have been married for almost 24 years. Last week she told me she was leaving, that she "couldn't do this anymore" and has fallen out of love. She says it's been three years since she felt any emotion towards me, and she knew she should be leaving me now for six months. She says we've grown apart. No problems mentioned -- it's just too late . . . I do anything and everything for her, but she says she didn't need a puppy. Yet, I still love her. She says she hasn't been seeing anyone yet, but she's open to it. She wants to be able to sit across from the table from someone and see that spark in their eyes. If we met each other on the streets now, we wouldn't even be friends, she says. I said that we could "date over again," but she was very much against that. I see this as a failure to communicate, and that she obviously has issues. She's being stubborn about trying to work things out and says it's over, and counselling is not an option. How do I get through to her that I still love her and want to try to fix things, even though she keeps saying that it's over? -- Abandoned Puppy
Dear Puppy: One person has the power of veto in love. I know you're hurting badly, but it's wrong to think your wife doesn't know what she's feeling or not feeling and to blame it on her having "issues." If she's that definite, she knows. She's allowed to leave if she wants to. Please consider counselling on your own to work off the natural heartbreak that will follow acceptance of her decision to go. By the way, what might have happened three years ago to turn her off the marriage? Did the kids leave home? Either of you have an affair? Pieces of the puzzle are missing. Look, you need a woman who won't disrespect a man who waits on her. You're a giver of the extreme type. You need another giver, so you can be happy doing things for each other. She's finished with you, and she's said it every which way and it's time to allow yourself to accept that.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm afraid you have given the worst advice to Know My Place Southdale, the stay-at-home wife who suspects an affair at the office. Getting her own job -- your advice -- may indeed cause a broken home for the children (although I fully anticipate that they will grow up to be dysfunctional regardless). I have witnessed this scenario several times with several business men in our offices over 20 years. Yes, the husband and the assistant are sleeping together. If it wasn't her, it'd be someone else. The wife knows it (so do one or two of his buddies and the majority of his office suspects it). Unfortunately that's the price the wife is paying for getting to stay home while her husband became the sole bread winner. The young lady assistant has more than likely seen the family's big house in town one summer evening when the wife was with the kids at the cottage. They certainly have messed around in his sports car. Leaving her, means alimony, child support and cutting his hard-earned assets in half. Much too much to deal with in his perfect world! No, your power lies in catching him in the act (private detective?) and putting an end to his dream life. He won't leave you but you get to hold and forever play the guilt card. That, my dear, is the ultimate power. -- Office Manager, Winnipeg
Dear Office Manager: With the depth of bitterness you've displayed, it sounds like you've experienced this situation yourself. Are you sure you weren't a stay-at-home wife before you went back to work and got into office management. Holding the guilt card for the rest of your life is a terrible replacement for truth, independence, you own paycheque -- and a chance at new love. And, what woman wants to live out her life with a man she knows for sure has been playing around? Perhaps the ones who love their allowances and their leisure time at the country club, but even that's unlikely.