DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: We have a sticky situation developing in our family. My husband and I both have single parents who met briefly at our small wedding. A month ago we invited my single mom and my husband's single dad to a dinner together at our house with a few other people. We played board games and they clearly liked each other. What we didn't know is they have been carrying on behind our backs ever since. We don't know if they're serious or not, but we think they're fooling around -- saw his car at her house in the early morning. What if they get serious and want to get together or get married? What does that make us to them? I mean how would we be related? Isn't this creepy, like hillbillies? I thought they would just make nice single friends. -- Shocked, St. Vital
Dear Shocked: The joke's on you, so rally your senses of humour. You thought your parents were too old to get up to anything besides Scrabble. You thought it'd be "cute" to put these non-sexual older adults together in a social situation so they could be well-behaved platonic friends. How patronizing! Your smartest position is to pretend you don't know what's up, enjoy the subterfuge, and wait to see if they ever have anything to tell you. They may break up, or get married or just see each other as casual dates. Maybe they'd prefer to do all that in private. And, relax on the hillbilly issue. These parental figures are not the least bit related -- no more than you and your husband. In fact, it's exactly the same. So once you get over yourselves, have them back for dinner and pretend you don't know a darn thing. It could be an amusing evening.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I belted my best friend across the ear and I'm so sorry for what I did. She came at me with accusations of cheating on her with her lying boyfriend and she called me some terrible names. I lost control and lashed out at her with my hand. I didn't mean to hit her so hard but I just wanted to stop the mouth that was saying those awful things. She ducked and I hit her so hard in the ear she fell over sideways towards the wall. She finally got up and ran home and told her parents, who phoned my parents, and now I'm NEVER allowed to come anywhere near her or they will call the police in and lay charges. I left a letter in her mailbox and have left countless messages on her phone. Why doesn't she give me a second chance or even listen to me. I just wanted her to stop yelling those horrible things at me. That's abuse too, isn't it? She should be sorry too. -- Devastated BFF, 16
Dear Devastated: Most people have a line over which you can't go. Once you do, you're finished. You must accept this young woman's line is physical abuse -- you could have caused major head injury, even hearing loss, to your friend. It took her a while to even be able to get up. You may feel her words were as hurtful as your belting her with your hand, but her boundary is physical abuse. It's her perception that matters -- you crossed her line and there's no talking her out of it. Thank your lucky stars you haven't been charged with assault. Never go near her again; that is her wish. And more importantly her parents are prepared to get tough if you try. A smart move would be to see your guidance counsellor at school or a counselling service such as the free counselling offered through Klinic 784-4067 or places of worship. The waiting list to see psychiatrists, who are on Medicare, is long right now, and you need specific help for your violent reactions. Your parents may have access to insurance for a psychologist for you, or be willing to pay -- unless they are the ones who taught you the violence.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I love snow, and want to go winter camping with my husband. I want to have a romantic, cosy time under the stars. I'm outdoorsy, but he's a city boy and scared of coyotes gnawing our legs off as we sleep, and other ridiculous things. I'm a professional and make good money and am quite happy to buy all the equipment as a gift. I know all about winter camping -- did it in my youth. This morning he said the bottom line is he WON'T go out there and "freeze his buns off." I just feel very disappointed I won't get this pleasure. And, we could have had so much fun making love in the tent. I can't tell you how sad I am. What do you suggest? -- Sad and Disappointed Wife
Dear Sad: Your husband can refuse to go, but that doesn't mean you're denied the experience. You can take some girlfriends with you on your first trip out, camp near a ski hill, have a ball morning, noon and night and take lots of pictures. He'll soon see what he's missing and may want to try it.... You may also find out it's a lot more fun to go with the babes than with your husband. If he changes his mind, take him with you but don't put pressure on him to like it. If he does, fine. If he doesn't, keep the tent.