DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I’ve been in love with this gorgeous, sweet and lovable guy at my summer job and he loves me back. Now we’re about to be separated by a province and our families live so far apart, we won’t see each other again until next year. Neither he nor I want to hear about each other dating other people, but it’s a long, long year before we’re back together again. We don’t want to lie to each other, but we don’t want to be alone all year, until we’re back together again next summer. Neither one of us wants to "break up." What can we do?
— Big Hurt Coming, Lake Country
Dear Big Hurt: You may have to "take a break" in being a one-on-one couple, with a hope to work together and become a close exclusive couple again next summer. That’s different from a breakup, which feels like rejection and rips your heart out. Things can be said that cause the relationship to die very painfully. When you "take a break," you can still phone and have online contact, though not every day. But you don’t flaunt other dates. You must agree that if either of you become seriously attached to someone, you’ll confess, and then it is definitely time for the big hurt.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m writing about Hating My Birthdays, the woman who wants to quit having birthday celebrations at 62. I like your suggestion to the "lady of a certain age," who doesn’t want to celebrate her birthday to make a ritual of taking a fun trip in the weeks surrounding her birthday.
I have an idea for her dislike of gifts, because some people do love to honour people with gifts. The birthday lady can always suggest that if someone really wants to give her a gift, that person make a donation to a charity of his/her choice. The birthday lady doesn’t get items she doesn’t want or need, the charities get a boost and the lady’s friends get tax receipts.
— Hoping This Helps, Winnipeg
Dear Hoping: I have always found instructing people to go send off money to a charity, when they really just wanted to give you a gift of love or friendship they pick out themselves, to be a cold substitute. It feels like a hand slap, with a suggested different place for you to go with your gift.
It feels like they’re saying, "I don’t want your personal gift, so send your money somewhere else, where it will do some good." Not many people go for that. If their gift isn’t going to be received personally, the friends and relatives don’t want to be pushed into a donation to some other place.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m writing in regard to Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place. I want to address the issue on what to call the woman who has the baby and places it for adoption, and what to call the woman who raised the child.
I’d like to offer some substitutions in language regarding adoption. First, a suggestion for the adoptee saying they met his/her "real" mother. As you used in your answer, the more correct term is "birth mother" or, in some families, "tummy mommy." The real mother is the one who raised the child.
Second, you ended your response with the phrase "the reasons your birth mother gave you up for adoption." I suggest substituting "placed you for adoption." For most women, placing a baby for adoption is one of the most difficult, selfless decisions she will ever make. The baby is most definitely not a giveaway.
— An Extremely Appreciative Real (Adoptive) Mother, Winnipeg
Dear Real Mother: This is tricky language. It’s understandable the adoptive mother feels herself to be the "real" mother because she has been in that active, loving role, bringing the child up.
It’s hurtful when the birth mother or, as you say, "tummy mummy," comes back into the picture and people in the family and friend group wrongly mention her as the "real" mother. But the thing is, the birth mother who carried the baby, and perhaps lovingly for those nine months, may also think of herself as the real mother, not just the baby producer, who placed her baby with an adoptive mom for a better chance in life.
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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.