DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: You always hear about women being abused by men, but there are also men who are abused by women. Either they're put down, or berated verbally for never doing enough, never bringing enough money home, the list goes on. I was one of those men. Just because there is no physical abuse involved doesn't mean it doesn't do damage over the long term. Thankfully that relationship ended many years ago and I am now with a wonderful woman who appreciates everything about me, but I suffered for years and it still affects me to this day. My ex now has a terrible illness. I heard she's in the last stage. My friends think I need to visit her and forgive her. Maybe I should, but the thought makes my stomach turn. I hear she hasn't changed. If she were healthy, there'd be no reason to go, so why should I do it now? Everyone is giving me the gears about it -- Feeling Guilty, St. James
Dear Guilty in St. James: Your friends have been watching too many soap operas and skimming a lot of self-help books. They think forgiveness helps the wounded person "let go." Not so in every case. This abusive woman hasn't called you to her bedside to apologize, so why should you go see your former abuser and say you forgive her, especially when the thought turns your stomach? There's no reason to believe your ex has changed at all. Just because someone is ill does not mean they are ready to admit to anything. It doesn't mean they want to be forgiven (or think they've done anything wrong) and it doesn't mean they want atonement. Some people go to the very end as the nasty, negative souls they have been all their lives. Don't be bullied into doing something that huge, unless it can help you.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My girlfriend paid for the furniture in my apartment a couple of years back. I told her I would make payments, but didn't. We've been going out for a few years and haggling over money had never been an issue, since we figured we were going to stay together and one day live together. But recently she broke up with me, and on top of that, she now wants her money back for the furniture. Double whammy! Even though I'm working and living at home, I'm still a student. I don't want to pay her back as I'm going on vacations this summer and I need the money. Do I have to pay her back? Shouldn't this be considered part of being a couple at the time? Besides, she broke up with me. -- Broke and Broken-Hearted
Dear B&B: You owe her the money BEFORE you take any vacations. Loans don't just disappear if you break up. It isn't the price she pays for hurting your feelings. Breaking up is her right and you still need to honour the financial deal you made. It doesn't matter to a small claims court if she dumped you; it's all about the loan and the promise you made to repay it. So far, you haven't made one payment. Either borrow it from your parents, take out a loan, or get a second job and stay home from your vacations -- or you may end up in court.
Questions or comments? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send letters c/o Miss Lonelyhearts, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg R2X 3B6