DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I just heard the saddest news in the world. My boyfriend from when I was in university -- probably the one I loved the most in my life -- is sick and dying. I have heard he would like me to come and see him before he gets too ill to see anyone. When I asked if I could go and see him, my husband said no. My strong desire is to go and visit him. Should I tell my husband? We already have a strained relationship. What if it makes things worse? I couldn't stand myself if I refused my old love's request for a last visit. He is married and his wife may be around at the hospital and that's OK. It's not like we'd be getting together to have anything but a talk. At this point, it's not that kind of thing; it's a goodbye with someone who meant a lot to me on this Earth. Some things need to be said and forgiven. What do I say to my husband? -- Determined To Go, Winnipeg
Dear Determined: Refusing your ex's request to see this man before he dies feels wrong and totally against what you want to do. You will hold it against your mate, perhaps forever. So, quietly go and have your visit without asking for permission again. Do not beg. This is a big picture question. If you don't go because of your husband's jealousy, things will become more resentful in your marriage, from your end. You are an adult and can make your own decisions, and in this country you don't belong to your husband as a possession. This has been a decision for you to make. After you have been to visit the hospital, tell our husband you went and report on the visit. That may be as much honesty as you wish to give this situation.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm a playful person. I like to swat certain peoples' bottoms when they go past -- my old buddies from work. I should tell you I'm also female. Most guys like the attention, but I made the mistake of not looking carefully to see who I was swatting last week and I smacked one of the new middle managers in the office who looks just like an old friend of mine, from behind. Grey pants, same build. He was not impressed. In fact he had personnel call me in and give me a warning. Some guys are sniggering about him, but others see this as a sad end to the casual fun we've always had at our office. Should I try to explain it to the new guy? -- Services No Longer Wanted
Dear Service Lady: If you do try to explain, what words could you possibly use to justify this behaviour? "Please sir, they want some more!"? Offices, except for yours situated in the time warp, have become quite proper in recent years and it's surprising you haven't been in trouble with management before this. The fun is over in this setting. You've already been written up, so there's no point in pushing it further. You could try to reprise this adult entertainment at a party with old friends from the office but it's doubtful their wives would enjoy it. No, it looks like your spanking days outside the bedroom are over. Back to work, Mistress.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I just came up the steps of my house and saw someone in my porch carrying a letter. It was my bio-dad who hasn't been around to visit for the last eight years. I invited him in, but he said, "No, please just read the letter." It seems he's quit drinking "for good" and wants to make amends for being an absent father. I don't know where I stand on that. Why didn't he come in when I asked him? Absent again! I could have read the letter while he was here and we could have discussed it. Now what should I do? He left me his phone number and address. -- Confused Bio-Daughter, Winnipeg
Dear Confused: How close do you want to get to talk to him -- because the time will come sooner than you think when you want a discussion. You could meet him for coffee in a place that's got booths and is semi-private or you could invite him over for dinner and a talk. My guess is he was hoping not to run into you until you'd read the letter and digested it. Now you've had time to do that, how about going for the booth meeting so you can easily leave if it doesn't go well, or you feel too emotional or you're just confused and need to go home and think. If you're not ready for a meeting yet, but you might be, just let him know you're thinking about everything and you appreciate that he wrote you that letter. If he's in any kind of program, he won't be expecting instant forgiveness, just hoping the time will come.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Wpg, R2X 3B6 or email firstname.lastname@example.org