DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I left home for two days and came back. I thought I couldn't take another night of my wife not coming home until 4 a.m., but I missed the home and family too much to stay away. As usual, she is pretending she hasn't even noticed my absence. I have done this on two occasions before when I couldn't stand it. This relationship is so dead, yet I want the family. I never had one. I was a foster kid, going from house to house. I don't kid myself that my wife still loves me romantically, but I do make a lot of money and she enjoys the house, pool, private schools for our kids and the housecleaner. The thing is, she goes out with her girlfriends who are single or divorced to the bar and then I don't know exactly what they do. But, about once every few months my wife doesn't show up until five in the morning with lipstick smeared and her hair everywhere. I love my kids and being in my family, but I know my wife cheats. I am a wreck inside. Please help me. I don't want to lose home and family. -- Family Man Above All
Dear Family Man: The coldness of your wife's not even remarking on your absence is shocking. The gall of your leaving the family home -- and the kids wondering where daddy went -- is also disturbing. On your wife's side, she may be cold like this because she has something going on, that makes you superfluous to her emotional life. Ask her outright who she's seeing and how much he or she means to her and see what she says. If she's not forthcoming, have her followed by a private detective and find out what the whole story is. Also see a domestic lawyer, unknown to you as a couple and get the best advice for getting out of the marriage without losing more than half your wealth. You need money to create a new family home where your kids will enjoy going that's close enough for the kids to get to you easily. Think in terms of establishing your own house of warmth and fun and love, and stop living this sham. It is dehumanizing to be treated the way she treats you. And your leaving home for periods of time is more damaging to your kids than to your wife, so stop that immediately even if you plan to leave for good down the road. Ask your wife to participate in counselling for the whole family. This would be a good way to help everyone come to terms with a new arrangement. In time you can look for a woman who truly loves you, but court her long enough to be sure she loves your children as well.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My boyfriend gets on my nerves a lot and I sometimes hit him with things. He says he's going to call the cops next time I "beat' him. Ha! I don't beat him. He's way bigger than me and the cops would laugh. I just hit him with the telephone or a kitchen tool. Why does he go around saying I beat him? What a laugh! He deserves more than that, with the disgusting names he calls me. -- Hurt Feelings, North End
Dear Hurt Feelings: Hitting people with a hand or an object is assault, plain and simple. Since this man hurts your feelings (verbal assault) and you are committing physical assault, which can send you to the slammer, you two need to get help or get away from each other. Call about Evolve at Klinic, a support group program that can help people learn new ways of dealing with conflict, other than verbal and physical beatings.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm embarrassingly turned on by my wife's new best friend from work. She brought her home one night for dinner and I had a reaction I hadn't expected to feel for another woman besides my wife of only two years. My eyes followed her every move, and they were lustful eyes. I thought about her after she left and I'm ashamed to say I imagined her, instead of my wife, all night. It was straight-out lust. I am a born-again Christian. I don't know if I should confess to my wife or keep my mouth closed, so as not to hurt her. Which is right? -- Feeling Guilty, East Kildonan
Dear Guilty: Telling your wife could go one of two ways. She could say (in a dream world), "Thank you very much for telling me. What can I do to be a better wife and lover to you?" Or, she might more likely say, "Thanks for the information. Now I won't feel so badly about having the hots for my swimming teacher -- the man I see half-naked at the pool every week!" It would be smartest to keep quiet, but do tell your wife you'd rather not hang with her and this girlfriend anymore because you feel like a third wheel. Suggest they go out and you'll go out with a buddy. It's a dodge that could keep you out of trouble. People do find themselves attracted to other people, during the course of a good marriage. It's how you fight it that counts.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6, or email firstname.lastname@example.org