DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I bit my partner because he was bear-hugging me so hard it felt violent. He was horrified and ended up with a full set of my teeth marks on his arm, which bruised and turned a rainbow of colours over 10 days. He says I need to go for help or he won't be with me anymore. I say he's the one who needs to go. I was defending myself! What do you think? -- The Biter, St. Vital
Dear Biter: If you were telling him he was hurting you and he kept squeezing hard, then he needs to go for relationship counselling as much as you do. Agree to a no-fault stance, but both of you are going to work out any problems you have as a couple. A power struggle could well be No. 1, and buried anger a close No. 2.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My partner is 31 with a child. I'm 22 at university for my degree. We keep breaking up because of issues. We're both great people, with horrible previous relationships and found a healthier love with each other. I love him, and he loves me, but our attitudes and beliefs do not work well together, and resentment is building. We both have dreams of being together. His family is abusive and hates me, for no good reason. My family has been nothing but nice to him, and even let him stay with them while he got out of debt. I don't feel done with him, but he's acting done with me. He's also in a bad separation/custody/maintenance battle. Are these problems workable? Do love and time cure all? I can see myself having children with him in 10 years, after I accomplish my degrees. Until then, do I suffer through an unhappy partnership? -- Miss Confused, Winnipeg
Dear Miss Confused: You marry your bridegroom plus his whole situation -- family, friends, values and problems. The weight of your issue-filled boat is sinking it. He's already abandoning ship and it's time you did, too. Think ahead of the children you'd like to have. He'll be 41 and his kids mostly grown? Do you really think he'll want to start over? If he's fighting for custody, he wants his own kids around him now. Are you ready to be a mom? Plus, you don't share important attitudes and beliefs. This is a divorce in the making. Don't waste any more time. Instead, look for a relationship where you and your husband are in harmony on every important point, love each other's families, are at the same stage and can have kids 10 years down the road. The best advice anyone can give you about marriage is to choose the right partner, in the first place.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I've been single for the past six months after calling off an engagement that turned out to be an incredibly wrong decision. During this time I've dated frequently, although never with the intention of getting into a relationship. (Enjoying the "me time.") Now, I've met an absolutely incredible woman! We have completely hit it off. The issue is I don't know how to bring this previous engagement up. I feel like I'm hiding something and need to get it off my chest. What's the best way to bring this up? Do I need to? Is this a red light for women? -- Ready to Spill it, Winnipeg
Dear Ready To Spill: Could be a red light, or not, depending how you manage it. Hiding it is a bad idea. It's definitely time to talk. Here are the words you can use: "I don't tell intimate things like this to everyone I have dated, but I know you now and care and feel a trust. I realize you may already know about this, because people naturally talk, but here goes anyway: About six months I called off an engagement that was horribly wrong. I want you to know I'm no longer in love with this woman. If you have any questions about this, I'm glad to answer them." Please write back and let me know how this goes.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6, or email firstname.lastname@example.org