DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My neighbour's kid called me an "effing c" (he said the real words) and I whacked him right across the face and sent his glasses flying. They broke on the sidewalk. He went home and his mother came over, and demanded I buy him new glasses or she would go to the police about assaulting their son. I did what any normal red-blooded Canadian woman with any guts would do when called a name like that. The brat deserved it. You may ask why he called me that name. It just so happens he was stripping my garden into a big garbage bag when I caught him and his pal an hour after sundown. I told them I was calling the police and the ringleader's father, who would give him a beating. I know him well. That's when he called me the name and he was two feet in front of me with his smart-ass face turned up defiant as all get out, so I clouted him. I'm not paying for the glasses, even if I rot in jail. -- Lost Whole Garden, Elmwood
Dear Not Paying: Everybody's violent in this mess -- you, the dad, and the boy who's verbally violent. How is this situation going to improve if everybody's violent? You hit the kid because you were stronger and bigger than he is. The kid called your dirty names because you threatened him with violence from his father -- a beating he's sure to get -- although maybe not now that the glasses are broken. Did you think of that? In a normal situation, the person being robbed of all their garden would yell at the kids to get out, threaten to call the cops and phone the parents. You escalated the situation and changed the focus of the wrongdoing. It's hard to feel sympathy for any of you. Tell the mother the glasses are payment for the wrecked garden and you'll call it even. See how that flies.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have broken trust with the woman I love and care deeply about. She claims I don't respect her, and never did. I have confessed every sexual indiscretion to her, accepted responsibility and want to make things right... desperately. Aside from the sex, I admitted I did play down the seriousness of the sexting. But I now realize an emotional betrayal is just as serious as sexual betrayal. I've learned, and hopefully not to late. For the past two weeks the discussion goes round and round and every past indiscretion is brought out again and makes her raw again. She has a few other hurts from men in her life (and) she is talking with a counsellor. I want to work this out somehow, but she's telling me that what I want is, "Let's ignore what I've done and how I treated you, forgive me, forget it and allow me to treat you that way again." And she says "Just because you're sorry doesn't erase it." This isn't the case, Miss L., I know couples can work out these types of problems and move on in a healthy, loving relationship. We love each other. Is this irreparably broken? -- God I Hope Not, Winnipeg.
Dear Hope Not: You can't send to the Love Factory for a shiny new part when you break the important trust component of a love relationship, and have the whole thing run perfectly again. You have to keep the broken part, and try to glue it together. It often doesn't work, in a situation like yours, because the betrayed person knows you to be a liar. It's interesting that you say you know other couples can work these things out and move on in a healthy, loving relationship." Maybe this idea is what allowed you to be so cavalier about cheating. After many years of counselling relationships with cheating and broken trust issues, I find there are very few that can withstand more than one indiscretion. A drunken mishap can sometimes squeak through the trust gate. This was not one indiscretion; it was many. Your only hope is to hang in there, behave yourself 100 per cent and hope your lady heals.