DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: We are once again involved in the cottage war. My mother-in-law rules like the matriarch she thinks she is. My opinion about my own children means nothing and she expects us all to go there every weekend -- her two sons, their wives and kids. We are given a list of what to bring to share the food bills, and she posts the weekend menus on the cabin back door and who's responsible for each meal. It's like being back in grade school and I hate it. She tells us how to discipline our children and chides us if we are not watching them close enough by the water. Last weekend I reached the end of my rope. My husband adores his mother, and she treats him like a demi-god, and me like kitchen help. I have refused to return to the lake. I just can't do it or I will tell her what a controlling witch she is. What now? -- Deadlocked, Wpg
Dear Deadlocked: You need a rental cottage at that beach as much as you need your next breath. Then you and your husband need to save up and buy one -- no matter how small -- for your own. It can't be next door, so Big Mama isn't popping in and out and ruling from 10 feet away. People who are used to being parents (like you) don't do well taking orders like children every weekend. Don't insult his mother, just let your husband know what YOU need -- your own domain. If you make this move or rent, do it quietly, making your own choice and present it as a done deal. Who knows? Your mother-in-law might be glad to get you out of her place.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I have two-woman trouble and the lousy, terrible feeling I'm going to get caught real soon. Over the winter I developed a relationship online with a woman in this town near our cabin where we shop for cottage groceries. We fantasized about what we'd sneak off and do at the lake this summer. You don't know how fast my heart was beating when I walked into her store last weekend. I ran into her by the milk shelves. She didn't show her excitement except for two red spots the size of loonies in her cheeks. I'm afraid I snubbed her, feeling awkward with my child in tow. How do I handle this? I'd love to be with her but I have a perfectly good wife and several children. -- Online Flirt, Lake Winnipeg
Dear Flirt: When you say you have "a perfectly good wife" it sounds like you're saying "a perfectly good washing machine." Try to imagine what it would be like if your perfectly good family no longer wanted you in their home and cabin. Imagine this: You're a lone unpopular ex-husband and father online chasing after this woman out in the country who may have a husband at home and more kids who'd suffer from an affair and fallout. Look, wedding vows don't mean you will never find another one of your "soul mates" in another situation down the line. What they mean is "I will make the choice to stay with you when these other perfectly good mates present themselves. I will invest in YOU and keep my investment in YOU. So, when the snub comes up online, say, "Sorry I realized I can't cheat on my wife and kids. I'm sorry I wasted your time by flirting with you." Then go elsewhere for milk at the lake.