DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: My live-in wants me to get a breast reduction. The word "cow" was mentioned! Now I don't even want to be in bed with him. We have a lease to the end of December. I am so upset and angry, I don't want to discuss it with him, and I don't know what to do any more. I just cry when he's not around. Please help. -- Love Me, Love My Breasts
Dear Love My Breasts: "Cow?" What an insult! You certainly don't need this guy destroying your self-esteem with his cruel words and demands for an operation. Imagine if you told him you wanted him to get a penis augmentation! There's no fixing this relationship, and the lease is the least of your worries. Call your landlord about the change coming up and advertise for a sublet to take over the lease. You might sign it all over to your soon-to-be ex, if he wants to stay. It'd be best psychologically for you to start over in a new two-bedroom (no memories) with a friend as a roommate. You might also move in with your family for a bit, if they are loving and willing.
Lots of men prefer full-breasted women and you started off liking the way you're built and feeling confident. You need to find your way back to celebrating love for your body exactly the way it is. You also need some counselling to rid yourself of the insecure feelings this guy has caused -- and you might prefer a woman for this issue. Friends are well-meaning, but debriefing happens more quickly with good professional help.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Could I have been strangled or hanged in a past life? I can't wear anything close to my neck, like necklaces or scarves that tie up, or I get panicky. It has been this way as far back as I can remember. I can zip up a jacket to my neck, but I can't have anything that ties. People try to explain this away with "past lives" -- but it sounds goofy to me. What else could it be that causes it? -- Freaked Out, St. Vital
Dear Freaked: Ask your doctor to check for neck and thyroid issues. Nothing physical? Then look back into your past for a time where somebody choked you in a fight, even as a kid, or threatened, "I'm going to choke you until you're dead!" You may have blocked that terror, but the fear returns when something comes near to your neck. Did anyone say, "I could just throttle you!" as an angry expression, not meaning it? But how were you to know when you were young?
Hypnotism can help people regress to the beginning of a trauma. If you may have repressed the memory, you might go that route with a psychologist who can help you deal with the results. There is an answer somewhere, and it doesn't have to be that you were strangled or hanged in a past life.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I threw up on my boyfriend's dad's boat, all over the cushions. His mom washed the cushions and was very nice. I thought we had gotten by that, but when we go out in the boat now, his dad always has to make some dig in front of people like, "Don't forget the barf bags, heh, heh!" I don't know how to reply, when this is the father of my boyfriend and I should be respectful. He is not grown-up or respectful to me. -- Not Amused, North Kildonan
Dear Not Amused: This man is not your father, or any kind of relative. You are on a different level with him. Your boyfriend doesn't have to speak for you, either. In fact, he may feel he can't, if he's young. So toss the ball right back at his dad. Next time he makes one of these cracks, look directly at him and say in a medium-loud voice, "Why do you continue with these digs at me?" If he says, "What's the matter? Can't you take a joke?" you say calmly, looking right at him: "It doesn't come across as a joke to me." Then get in the boat. His wife will take it from there, once you're gone, and he will hopefully have learned not to bully you using fake humour.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg R2X 3B6.