DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I met a guy -- everything I ever wanted. He treated me like a princess, doting on me. We went out a lot, and had a great time. I kind of started to miss my friends. One night I told him I was going to go to my friend's house. He looked so sad, and said he had something "special" planned. I cancelled on my friend. This happened a few more times.
One day I stayed home from work because I had strep throat and an ear infection. I saw he had called, but was feeling so sick I just let the calls go to voice mail. He called nine times within a few hours! The messages went from concerned to impatient and then angry. By the last one he was yelling into the phone and accusing me of cheating and calling me names, because I wasn't picking up.
I was able to talk to him a little later, and he said he was really sorry, and that he loves me so much and was scared he could lose me. I've never ever given him reason to think I'd leave him. He's wonderful to me. Was his reaction normal? -- Confused by his Love
Dear Confused: This is already mental abuse. It's also the way physical abuse often starts -- with constant attention, demanding your time, isolating you from friends and relatives. Unanswered phone calls go from concern to crazy, quickly. Then you get the big apologies!
New fights go from pushing to slapping, punching, kicking and full-scale beatings, death threats, and sometimes murder. The abuser's mindset is, "If I can't have you no one's going to have you." It's scary to know you are on this path. In early stages, you can get rid of a guy like this by boring him to death, becoming non-sexual and no fun to be with. But, if that isn't working, get coaching from crisis lines (like Osborne House 204-942-3052), and don't be afraid to call 911 for police help, or seek the necessary court orders. Sometimes people actually have to go into hiding and/or move province.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: For the couple thinking of planning a surprise wedding during their social, I attended a Halloween wedding social years ago. Everyone was dressed up. When the couple arrived, they were dressed as a bride and groom and the guy who we all thought was dressed up as a priest, was actually a minister officiating the wedding just before their first dance. I have always thought that it was a great idea. -- Fun Alternative
Dear Fun: This is a great idea for a couple if they can include younger and older people at the party, or if they're from out of town and just know people their own age who would participate freely. Otherwise, they need to make a pointed effort to whisper to the family what's really up and that it's important to come to this wild 'n crazy "surprise" party on time, prepared for a real wedding.
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.