DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I had a baby in my teen years and went away to "my auntie’s" in another province, and the baby was put up for adoption. I never looked back. Now I have a man in my life who thinks he wants to marry me, and he told me the story of his life last night. It was not all pretty. I was silent. We are both in our early 30s now.
He asked me about my childhood, and I was OK, until we got to the high school years. I said, "I don’t want to talk about it," and tried to cut it off. He said he was wondering if I was going to tell him about the baby I put up for adoption! I said, "How did you know? Were you testing me?" He told me one of my high school friends he knows was gossipy enough to mention it. He said, "I thought she was mean, so I just filed it away."
I asked him what he thought of me now that he knows, and he kissed me and said, "No different." Then he said he needed to tell me he spent a short time in jail when he was in his early 20s, for drugs.
I think the jail thing is a much worse secret than mine, and I’m thinking about telling him it’s not going to work. Like my mom used to say: "Never trust a jailbird." What do you think?
— Thinking Twice, West End
Dear Thinking Twice: You should set this guy free. You are short in forgiveness and generosity of spirit, with both him and yourself. He needs someone who is accepting, just as do you. But you can’t do it, and it’s clear you don’t love him — no mention of that.
This man wasn’t shocked or disgusted about your secret, and he revealed his own to you. Lots of people did unfortunate things when they were young and stupid, paid the price and are now way past that point in life.
You both withheld the whole truth about your pasts, probably due to fear of losing the other’s respect. You held yours with him, but he lost your good opinion.
P.S. Are you afraid a man will want you to try to make contact with the child you gave up? It would be a real possibility, and it could happen when your child turns 18.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: The holidays are coming and I’m afraid of the family fighting. It happens every year. I told my younger sister my husband and I were thinking of going to Mexico for Christmas, and she lost it!
Except for me, the whole family fights and brawls and calls each other names. They drink and squabble, and make up and fight again. I am totally exhausted by Boxing Day from being the referee.
I feel like I have to give in and stay home, as I’m the peacemaker and the whole family could blow apart while I’m gone. Should I go or should I stay? My husband said loudly he has had enough! What should we do?
— Dying to Escape, St. Boniface
Dear Dying: Buy your tickets and boot it to Mexico for the first calm, happy Christmas of your life. It can be quite fun and not lonely. I know from personal experience. I spent one Christmas in the Dominican Republic and had a great time with my friend and all the new people we met. Christmas Day came and went with a big dinner with the people from the many sailboats in the harbour and it was very friendly.
Another peacemaker will probably rise in the family dynamic while you are away, or the siblings will be too scared to fight when no one is there to put out the fire. So be it. Time for you to pump the brakes. Turn around and go live your life the way you want to!
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