Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My younger sister and I just barely tolerate each other — lots of problems. So, last week she and her two friends moved her single bed and dresser out of our room and down to the basement when everybody was out of the house. She took the only lamp and left me with the crappy ceiling light.
Now I have no reason to talk to her, and I don’t — not a word. I started taking meals to my room. My mom is crying all the time. She said yesterday, "It was always my dream to have two daughters who’d be best friends!"
We’ve never been best friends. My sister thinks she’s so hot and says I’m just a "nerd." I think she’s in training to be a little tramp. Mom is begging us to move back together. Dad says nothing, as usual. I decided to write for your advice. It is so…
— Tense Around Here, West End
Dear Tense: Sharing a room is hard for teenagers in a family. You two are not close, but have been forced to share a small space with no privacy. Appeal to your parents on that basis. Maybe they could build a few walls to enclose a space for your sister in the basement.
As for your mom and "the dream" for her girls, if you have two girls with similar or semi-compatible personalities, you can sometimes make it through the teen years with them both in one bedroom and few fights.
You might explain that the only hope for you and your incompatible sister to become friendly is for your parents to sort out how you can have your own spaces. In fact, you might be able to broker a peace in the house by lobbying for your sister to have her own bedroom in the basement.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My boyfriend and I, who fancy ourselves "not-ready-for-prime-time" chefs, had been having exciting fights when we were cooking, and would hit each other with things that don’t really hurt much — like snapping a dish towel (he did that) or smacking his face with an uncooked steak (I did that recently).
Then we’d start laughing, get turned on, and… you know what. But, the other night we’d been drinking a lot of wine as we cooked, and got into a serious fight, and he called me a really dirty name. So, I slapped him hard across the face with my hand — and it looked like his eyes went insane, for a second. Then he belted me back twice as hard — and almost dislocated my jaw. He slammed out of my place and said he’d never be back.
I thought he’d get over it, apologize and come back. But he hasn’t called, and I won’t call him, as he really hurt me. The trouble is I still love him. What now?
— Feeling Heartbroken, Winnipeg
Dear Feeling Heartbroken: Don’t make contact again. This relationship needs to be over. The man totally lost control, called you a vulgar name and "belted" you hard enough to possibly break your jaw. That was no longer play-fighting or rough foreplay. The situation morphed into serious violence.
Perhaps he’s been there before. At any rate, this was the night he "came to" and saw the red mist. If it can happen once, it can happen again. He knows that.
You may think on some level you deserved it, after slapping his face. But, he appeared to lose sanity for a spell. The vulgarity and intense violence of his response went to a far darker place than normal. He may have "woken up" after losing it and saw the inevitable prison bars in his future one day. So, he’s gone from you.
Let him stay gone. You must also keep your fists to yourself in all further dealings with people — men, women and children — or you may find yourself in legal trouble.
It’s clear you like to wind yourself up sexually by "play-fighting," but it’s dangerous, because some people (both men and woman) have snapping points and can lose their minds completely.
Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.