DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: For 16 years I've been having an affair with a wealthy, well-known man in this town. He's been unhappily married most of that time, and I have been divorced, raising my kids alone, but sharing them with their father. The love between my man and his wife was buried the day she had her first child. Suddenly her husband was nothing but a nuisance, wanting love and affection when there was work to be done and kids to be raised. Sound bitter about her? I am. Three months ago they almost split, so we could finally get together. He asked to get out. She said she'd let him go peacefully after they had three months of counselling. You'll never guess what happened. That witch got him to stay after all the cold and mean years he spent having her dish out affection like she was doing him a big favour. His kids have gone away to university and he says it's gone back to the way it was when they first met and there was no "kid interference." I way so shocked by this I went to bed for a whole week. It was almost like he thought I should wish him well. Well, I don't. In fact, I think I'll blow the whistle and they can both suffer like I am. Should I? -- Discarded Like a Rag, Southdale
Dear Discarded: What will whistle-blowing get you? It won't get him back, if that's what you want. Going on with your life just might. His wife might be putting on a show to hang onto the dough. Living big is important when you're used to it and couples circles don't like the suddenly single among them. She may have panicked and decided she'd better put out some warmth, sex and affection if she wants to hang on to the source of the money. Or, they both may be sincerely renewed in their love for each other.... You can at least protect your happy memories with this affair if you don't start bombing the lives of two people. And who knows, she might not be able to keep up the show, and he'll be back for good. I'd opt for going underground, travelling as much as possible and looking for a new sweetheart. When a lover has gone off with any other person, there's nothing that binds the wound better and faster than a new love. This time look for one who's single and perhaps a little younger.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My partner and I are an older gay couple with a great love life. We have both strayed a little here and there but nothing much. I thought we had it made. Then this single guy moved in next door -- flamboyant, funny and soon became our best friend. Well, I went away on business for 10 days, missed my man, and managed to get an early flight home. I came through the door with my suitcase and who should be in the bedroom with my sweetie but the guy from next door? I could hear him laughing. I left my suitcase there as a marker I'd been there, backed out and ran out into the night. I ran until I fell down on the ground and cried. When I got home, my live-in was sitting in the kitchen with red eyes drinking a cup of tea. He said, "It wasn't my idea and I was lonely for you, so I gave in." For some reason this was different from other little drunken forays at parties when we were younger. I want to forgive him, but I just feel sick. Why is this one so different from the others? -- Gone Cold, Can't Forgive, Downtown
Dear Cold: This wasn't a drink-induced case of fooling around. This was a person you took in as a new friend and shared with your partner as a pal for both of you, in complete trust. Once you were out of town, this guy proved he was not your real friend, and probably not your mate's friend, either. He saw a vacancy sign on that bedroom door and made a beeline for it. Whether it lasted a day or a week, it's the same. A new "friend" has betrayed your trust and your mate betrayed you, too. You need counselling to work though this one out, if it can be done.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My dog just died and I am in mourning. My sister thinks I should go get another dog from an animal rescue shelter and all will be better, but I feel like that'd be disrespectful to my lost doggie. I could do with the distraction from my grief but I just don't want to feel like a creep for latching onto a new little critter, just like that! She wants me to go to the dog shelters all the time and I tell her I'm not ready. When should I be ready? -- Grieving Pet Owner, River Heights
Dear Grieving: Tell your sister nicely to back off for a bit. You'll know when you're ready. It's when you've laid all your feelings to rest and you feel a small curiosity of your own growing, about what it might be like to have a new dog in your life. You'll start watching the pet ads and you'll go see the animals at the shelters alone, and you may just go home again. But one fine day, you will know. Your sister loves you and is uncomfortable with seeing you grieve. Try to work on that issue with her. This is about your internal timetable, not hers, and you will do what's best for you. You might want to skip talking about it with her for a bit and share your grief with other friends.