DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS -- I'm a difficult partner -- short-tempered and prone to sarcasm. My boyfriend (we're gay) is an easy-going sweet-tempered person who, until this week, put up with me beautifully. When I came home from work five days ago, to my shock and amazement, he was packing his bags and his eyes were red. He said he'd been secretly going for therapy so he could leave me and my bad temper. He had a small apartment already leased, and he had just stayed to tell me to my face. I begged him to stay with all my heart, and he said, "No, I gave you 100 chances. He's an accountant and had counted them over the last year, keeping a running tab in the back of his diary which he showed me. I was at 102, which he pointed out was... tantrums, or hurt his feelings with my mouth, or shooting him down. Then the cab came, and he took all his stuff and left. Just like that. I have been in hell ever since. Last night I broke down and sobbed like a baby.... I know I have to change to get him back. What should I do? -- Broken-Hearted
Dear Broken: People who wait a long time to leave a hurting relationship lose most of their feelings of love before they can crawl out the door. They're completely finished when they leave, and don't want to be pestered. So, don't change to try to get this partner back, because he's not coming back. Instead, change so you can control your temper, work out your underlying issues, and find an equally strong person who'll "call you on it" when you step out of line. Get your focus right off your ex and onto getting help. There's no better investment than fixing yourself, at any age. While psychiatrists are in short supply in Winnipeg, you can see a psychologist pretty quickly, and it could be on your group insurance plan. Meanwhile, here's some homework: Life, for another person, should not be about "putting up with you," as you're not the centre of the universe. That's the first thing you have to accept. The second thing you need to do is start working on this important question: "Why am I afraid to pick someone who's as strong as I am?"
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My young neighbour has a big problem, which is keeping her pants on. She has many boyfriends coming and going. I don't believe all these men are just friends, and I also wonder if they are paying. If she's keeping a common bawdy house in our neighbourhood, I should be calling the police. I've seen three different guys go in that house over two weeks and probably missed a bunch more in the middle of the night. My other neighbour is also worried, now that I've pointed this out to her. What should we do? We live in a respectable neighbourhood. -- Concerned Neighbour, St. James
Dear Concerned: Close your curtains! You're a one-woman spy team, and you're jumping to conclusions. You've seen three men visit this house over three long weeks. They could easily be one male friend, one boyfriend and a brother. This is not evidence of a "bawdy house" but most likely a young woman who has some friends and a social life. It's quite common to have platonic male friends in 2011, you know. You need to get out more and invite friends and family over to your house so you're not so fascinated with the life of a young woman next door. Poor thing.
Questions or comments? Write Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6 or email email@example.com