DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just met a new guy and I feel all conflicted about him. I've asked him about his former life and he has told me about his past. Well, some of it. Should I be worried that when he was in high school he had a sexual relationship with one guy? He says it was an experiment and it didn't mean anything to him and he's never wanted it again. I know he's really attracted to me and wants a wife and children, but he's already left one child behind that he had with a girl in university. For some reason she doesn't want him to have any role as the father of that little girl who is now five. Another worry I have is that he's not on good terms with his mother and has on occasion called her disrespectful names. Don't get me wrong, he's the nicest guy you could ever meet. All my friends like him and he likes them back. But, he doesn't seem to have any friends of his own. Everything in our social life originates with me. Sometimes I feel like having him checked out by a private investigator. There are a couple of years he says he doesn't want to talk about at all. Am I being too suspicious? What do you think? -- Awake at Night, St. Boniface
Dear Awake at Night: You have had a series of red flags pop up; don't ignore them. The rational side of you is telling you things don't add up and the intuitive side is sending signals up from your gut. Could he have been married for those two years? Or in jail? Was he living with a guy in a gay relationship in that time? A normal relationship usually involves disclosure of each partner's life. If two-year periods are missing, that is something to be worried about. It's also worrisome that he doesn't like or respect his mother as that could come back on you in his attitude towards women. And what about the child he doesn't father? As for the homosexual relationship as a teenager, most experiments of this type are brief, not whole relationships. You have to wonder to what degree he's denying that aspect of his sexuality at this point because you are new and exciting. If you're thinking of marrying him, get him checked out first.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm so upset. Last night something bad happened in my apartment block again. I overheard a fight and the police came and they took somebody away in the police car. Today it is quiet over there, and I know it's none of my business but I want to know what happened and who exactly is living next door to me. This is getting to be a violent city and I am scared. I live alone with my child and have no one to protect me if bad people start knocking on the wrong door with anger in their voices like they did at my last apartment. I have heard it is safer to live in a country town, but I wonder what kind of social life a young single woman would have in the country. I am afraid I could die of loneliness. Do you have any suggestions for a city girl like me? -- Scaredy Cat, Winnipeg
Dear Scaredy: It is better to live in a small place on a nice street than a bigger place on a bad street. Make a big effort to find a nice, small apartment in an area of town where you feel significantly safer. Nowhere is perfectly safe, but if you're worried about angry people knocking on the wrong doors and police visits and general trouble around you, you're probably living in an apartment block where some people are drinking a lot and there are drugs. There are lots of neighborhoods in Winnipeg where you won't find trouble, and it's worth a serious search to be able to say goodbye to constant worry and insecurity.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Last night I slept on the sofa because my girlfriend's dog won out over me. He got the place in the bed. I have told her before that I won't put up with this but she knows I'm such a fool for her that I will let her dog kick me out of my rightful place beside her. Let me be frank. I hate that dog. He is spoiled, territorial, and has taken a few bites out of me. He behaves when she's around, but if she leaves me in the house and goes to the store, he sits and growls at me. This is the best girlfriend I ever had, but then I've had some bad ones. I wish the dog were "gone" but I would never do anything to hurt her animal. I have to make a choice. Say goodbye to my wonderful girlfriend or learn to sleep on the couch. What else can I do? -- Sucker On The Couch, The Maples
Dear Living: You can go on strike. Refuse to stay over as long as he's in the bed and your spot is the couch. If she cares about you as much as you care about her, she'll learn to shut the door on Fido when you're over. If he doesn't like it, she can put him in the kitchen and shut another door. Consult animal behaviour books or online info as many people have run into this problem when they try to replace the pampered pet in the bedroom.
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