DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Every time my sister goes home I find I'm missing something -- cheap earrings one time, a tiny evening bag another time, and last night, after she left, I was missing a pair of my favourite slippers. How do I face her down on this? I know she's doing it. She had a problem with shoplifting and had to go to counselling over that, but why would she steal from her own sister? I would happily give her any of these things, if she said she wanted them. I do have a better job than her, but for the love of God, why steal from me when she could easily afford these cheap things herself? I feel hurt and betrayed and upset. I can't look the other way anymore. What shall I do? -- Sick About This, Fort Garry
Dear Sick: You have no choice but to say to her in private, "Are you having some problems again? I notice articles gone when you leave my house and I am worried you are experiencing problems with kleptomania and need some therapy. I know you can easily afford the things that were taken, so it's a deeper psychological problem and not your fault. I'd like to help you get a good psychiatrist or psychologist and get working on this as I don't want you to get into trouble in the stores, or for us to stop being close over something you can't control right now. I love you and I'm here for you."
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend wants me to walk and feed her toy-sized dog when she's away for a week. I had to give her an answer or I wouldn't get peace (or sex) that night and so I said yes. The truth is I don't like the little fiend and I don't want to pick up after him, special doggie-bag or not. I have never expressed to her how I feel about her yappy, noisy, shivering, disgusting excuse for a dog. I was thinking of quietly of paying a friend who likes dogs to do the job and I'll pay him. What do you think? The dog will get better care. -- Not a Small Dog Lover, Downtown
Dear Not: You're planning to secretly give the key to your girlfriend's place to someone else to look after her dog! What if he forgets to go for a day or two or more, or looks through her stuff, or helps himself to her liquor cabinet? You have ultimate responsibility for that house and that little dog. You neither like the dog, nor want to care for it. It's time for you to come clean with this girlfriend. Be clear that you actually despise small dogs and have lied to her, and you'd better be on your way. Let her find someone who truly cares about animals to look after her dog herself. You ain't nothin' but a hound dog, and you ain't no friend of hers. Thank you, El.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My wife slapped the phone out of my hand when I was talking to my brother overseas. I love my family and we have a cheap Canadian phone plan, so I phone them and we talk for up to an hour. My wife has all her family here, so she can see them any time she likes. What should I do? I don't have a good job yet and I'm lonely. I can't slap her to teach her a lesson; it's not gentlemanly and I couldn't do that to a woman. -- Shocked New Husband, West End
Dear Shocked: Make it formal. Sit down with her and tell her how shocked you were when she did something that felt like violence. Tell her you're not going to allow anybody to treat you that way. As a compromise position, you will not talk for an hour long distance when she's around to chat with. But tell her you will continue to communicate with your family as much as you wish on the phone when she's not there to talk to, as it doesn't cost anything extra to do so and you're very lonely.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6, or email firstname.lastname@example.org