You’ll have to ask her the tough ques­tions

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS & LIFE - MAUREEN SCURFIELD

DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I found some­thing in my wife’s jeans pocket when I was do­ing some wash for our fam­ily. It was a note, and it looked like an old one. It had heavy hand­writ­ing — looks like a guy’s script and read, “Al­ways re­mem­ber I love you.” Do you think it be­longs to one of our teenagers, or is from a guy to her? Why would she be car­ry­ing it? I don’t want to bring it up, if it’s noth­ing. I love her so much, but this is driv­ing me crazy. I can’t keep silent for­ever. I have con­fis­cated the note and now it’s burn­ing a hole in my pocket.— Up­set Hus­band, Win­nipeg

Dear Up­set: If the note be­longed to one of your teenagers, your wife prob­a­bly would have men­tioned it. So just lay that lit­tle love note down in front of your wife, and wait for an ex­pla­na­tion. Or, if you can trust your­self to speak, say, “I found this in your jeans pocket. Is there an­other man?” Then search her face like you’re read­ing a map. This is not the time to start cry­ing or to look away, and miss her ex­pres­sion. You’re look­ing for the vi­su­als and sound of truth. Fur­ther ques­tions, if she ad­mits to an af­fair, should be: “Is this on­go­ing or is it in the past?” And, “Was it when you were with me, or be­fore?” Then you need to ask, “Are you in touch in any way — phone, let­ters, com­puter, at work?” Ask the al­ter­na­tives slowly. There is of­ten an in­vol­un­tary jerk­ing mo­tion when you hit the truth, un­less the per­son is an ac­com­plished liar. And fi­nally, ask this: “Why are you car­ry­ing the note? Are you still in love?” Any­thing you’re imag­in­ing now could be true, or false. So face the truth. If you’re hop­ing an af­fair will blow over if you say noth­ing, you may be right. But, you will go through mis­ery un­til it tires out. Or, it may al­ready be over, with lin­ger­ing feel­ings. That’s what it sounds like to these ears, and it sounds like she may have ended it her­self. The rea­son she had an af­fair, if she did, might have to do with you, or solely with her, or it may have been some­one who came along at work and bowled her over, or some­one from the past who came back.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I’m in love with one of my teach­ers and am sen­tenced to spend­ing 10 months un­der the same roof with him again. I’m a brainiac and I have to take his class to get where I want to go in my ca­reer. He doesn’t know about my feel­ings, I don’t think. He’s not young as you might sus­pect — not in his 20s — but he’s ev­ery­thing I want in a man. I have this one year to go be­fore I grad­u­ate and go to univer­sity. Last year was tor­ture. This fall will be worse with his dark tan, and those eyes, and he’s so smart and nice, not a jerk like guys my age. How do you get over a crush that’s so bad it ruins you for guys your own age? — Crazy About Him, Win­nipeg

Dear Crazy: The best way to im­press a teacher is to ex­cel in his class. This may be the only con­struc­tive way you can han­dle the ex­tra en­ergy you feel in his pres­ence. Crushes on teach­ers most of­ten hap­pen in Grade 11 and 12, but some are even ear­lier. No mat­ter when it hap­pens — even lose to grad­u­a­tion — no good can come of men­tion­ing it to the ob­ject of your love, or to your school friends who will let it get around. That’s just too juicy to keep quiet. What you can take from this ex­pe­ri­ence is a tem­plate of the kind of man you want one day. Be­come aware of what it is about him that you re­spect and ad­mire. Then look for that kind of guy in an age group slightly older. Since you are a brainiac, you might take a friend and do some study­ing on a univer­sity cam­pus this year, and have a lit­tle look around. If older guys at­tract you, these will be older but in their late teens and ’20s for the most part, and some are quite grown up.

Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: My boyfriend and I play this sick game of steal­ing from each other to see if we can get away with it. We al­ways give the stuff back within a few days but lately I think he is us­ing this game as an ex­cuse to go through my stuff. I couldn’t care less about go­ing through his things, but he re­cently went all through my draw­ers where I keep pri­vate things. Am I over-re­act­ing? — Se­verely Ir­ri­tated, Bran­don

Dear Ir­ri­tated: No, you’re not over­re­act­ing. You’re just feel­ing a bound­ary, and act­ing on it, which is a good thing. If he in­sists on keep­ing up this silly game, ques­tion him on his mo­tives. He may be in­se­cure and like to snoop to see what’s up in your life, or he may even like try­ing on your clothes. An­nounce to him: “OK, the steal­ing game has got­ten old and a bit ir­ri­tat­ing. I want my pri­vacy back. So, no more go­ing through my clos­ets and draw­ers and I will re­spect your pri­vate spa­ces, too.” If he se­ri­ously balks, it’s time to move on. This is not a healthy game.

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