DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I'm just decimated! My husband has decided to leave me for his former wife. She has never been an "ex"-wife emotionally. He has never said a bad word about her, ever. She left him because he cheated on her (though not with me). Now he has been cheating on me with her and moved back in with her, leaving me a note. I phoned her last night and pointed out the fact he's still a cheater and she seemed shocked -- she had never seen it that way. He just phoned me and yelled at me for "interfering" by making his renewed relationship turn shaky. What did I do wrong? Everyone has stolen from me -- he stole my peace of mind and she stole my husband. I just evened the score a little. Last night he had the gall to say: "I'm back with my wife and kids where I belong and you're trying to wreck it." Should I feel guilty? Not. But, I am furious and feel like wrecking something. What do I do now? HELP! -- Furious and Hurt, West End
Dear Hurt: It's time to get out of Dodge. Your emotions are at a dangerous level and your self-esteem needs the tending of a good friend or relative who loves you and can talk sense to you. Back off this fighting and dump your arsenal. Yes, there may come a time when "she" kicks him out again -- because he still hasn't learned not to cheat on the woman presently in his life. But you won't be taking him back (hopefully) because you know clearly she is ahead of you on the list of people who have his heart. Do you have someone who lives hours away by car, or out of province, or know someone at a travel company who would search for the best end-of-season deal for you and a friend? It's important right now to see there is more to the world than the three of you. Even a week would help to calm you down, get you off the phone, help you stop emailing and breathe again. Then you should come back to get some counselling help because you have a lot to deal with emotionally and it's not good to lean too hard on family. You don't need to be here for anything right now. He's gone back where he wants to be. That means you're finished as a couple and you need to look at that hurtful fact and absorb it and start forming a Plan B for yourself. Please see a domestic lawyer, get advice, and attend to money matters before you go anywhere.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I hate my mother. She is mean and vengeful and old -- and defenceless. So, I can't leave her. She's says "I'd rather be dead than go into an old folks home with a bunch of crazies sitting there yelling for their mommas." She's crazy, like a fox, age 76, got all her marbles but can't walk. She knows how to twist my emotions. I am her youngest and her only unmarried kid. I could never marry anyone with her as the mother-in-law, unless she had died or I had moved far away. I have three sisters who married and moved out of town. I was born 10 years after them. So here I sit, miserable and lonely. I had one beautiful girlfriend who saw me, on the condition she never had to see my mother after the first visit to our house. That went on for four years and I lied to my mother about her, acting as if she weren't my girlfriend anymore. Anyway, I feel like I'm going to lose it. I can't keep living with mom, nor can I dump her in a personal care home and hear her screaming in my brain. Help me escape, please. I'm in my late 30s and don't know what to do. -- A Broken Man
Dear Broken: You need to start having a life, and there are several routes out of the situation where you're trapped with your abusive mother. There are many services, agencies and living situations to recommend, and I will send you a list. But it'd be most helpful to hear from readers who have had the default caregivers experience after everyone else in the family has moved (or run) away. This happens fairly regularly when the aging parent is abusive, like yours. So I'm asking people who have experienced this or are still going through it: What have you done and how have these strategies worked out? What are the best things to do and what are the worst? We will publish letters with help in an upcoming column. Please write or email the address below.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6, or email firstname.lastname@example.org