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home : columns : dear harriette January 25, 2020

12/6/2019 7:43:00 AM
Boyfriend acts cagey after business trip

DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend told me that he was going on a business trip last week. When he got home, he dodged any questions about his trip. I did something I know I shouldn't have: I looked at his phone and went through his text messages. While I can't be 100% sure, it looks to me like he is seeing someone else. Maybe it's a colleague or another person, but some of the messages while he was away seem personal and intimate -- and they are not written to me or by me. I'm not sure what to do about this. I fear that if I ask him, he will just lie. But the words on his phone definitely point to something fishy going on. How should I proceed? -- Finding the Truth

DEAR FINDING THE TRUTH: You can sit and agonize about this, or you can ask your boyfriend directly what's going on. Come clean and tell him that you looked at his phone because your gut told you that something was wrong. Apologize for breaking his confidence by looking at his phone. Make it clear, though, that you are concerned about where you stand in your relationship. You are not interested in second-guessing him or worrying about your future. Ask him to give you the respect that you deserve and tell you if he wants to be in this relationship with you anymore. Urge him to be honest with you, even if it is hard to tell the truth. Tell him that you believe you deserve to know what's really going on.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am friends with a neighbor. We have grown close in part because we live in the same building and it's easy for us to get together and talk. I have noticed that some things about her really bother me. The biggest thing is that she talks too much. Even though she seems to be sweet and has good intentions, she shares too much about other people's business. This makes me pretty sure that she does the same about me.

Because we talk a lot, I have told her some personal things about myself that I would rather not have other people know. I'm beginning to think that it isn't safe to tell her my business. I'm not quite sure how to avoid that if we continue to spend time together. At the same time, I don't want to nix her as a friend. I like her. I just think I shouldn't tell her everything about my life. How should I handle this situation? -- Mouthy Friend

DEAR MOUTHY FRIEND: People who talk a lot, talk a lot. This friend has already proven to you that she has loose lips. Believe her. You are right in trying to figure out how to manage this friendship. When you talk to anybody regularly, it is natural for you to let your guard down. You probably need to limit your interactions with this woman, especially when you are feeling vulnerable. More, you should do your best to be a good listener rather than a talker when you are together. It can be easy to spend time with a talker without talking much yourself. Even so, you should limit your engagement if you don't want her to spread your business.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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