Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: I am a 28-year-old, college-educated woman who has been in a serious relationship for the past two years. Last year my boyfriend’s job took him to a different state. I left my family and job and moved to be with him. We were happy and made do with what time he had after his long workdays. We had been in this new location for about seven months when I received a message from a girl, claiming that they had messed around. I asked for proof and she provided pictures of them posed together. I confronted him about it and he said that he hung out with her a few times. He apologized profusely, but was adamant that they did not sleep together. I thanked the girl for telling me and said that I would take it from here. A few days later, she (and a friend of hers) sent me more messages detailing the relationship and asking if I had left him yet. I asked him point-blank and he again told me no, they did not have sex. Not to excuse his behavior, but his work was not going well and as a form of escapism he would go out, which is how they met. Whom should I believe? I find it extremely fishy that she keeps adding fuel to the fire. I believe that he flirted and created a facade of a single life. I could work through that. I love this man, but I’m torn. I want to repair the breach of trust, but I don’t want to be made a fool. Advice, please?
Dazed and Confused
DEAR DAZED: Following is a list of reasons why a person in a committed cohabiting relationship would legitimately create “the facade of a single life”: Oops — there is none.
Lucky him — he became entangled with another woman who is obnoxious, creepy and tips the scales toward “Fatal Attraction.” Her behavior seems to have eclipsed his behavior. And so now you are blaming her and excusing him.
You seem to care the most about whether your boyfriend had sex with this other person. You obviously have a great deal invested in this relationship, and you can choose to believe him in order to stay in it, but repairing the broken trust is not your job — it’s his.
I hope you develop your own life, either at this new location or elsewhere. Waiting for your guy to come home after his long workdays and after-work partying doesn’t seem like much of a life for you.
DEAR AMY: I have been working long distance with a male co-worker for the past three years. We started talking after both of our relationships ended two years ago. We talk daily via IM, email, text or phone. For the last year our communication has not been strictly business. He comes up to a line with me, but won’t cross it in a close personal way. This last holiday weekend he said that he doesn’t have a life, and I said, “Neither do I.” I thought he was going to ask me to come and see him, but he didn’t. The last time I saw him was a few months ago, when I had to work with someone else in the office. Later he said he thought we would be spending time together, but he didn’t make a move. I really like him; he is smart, kind and sweet. Given the circumstances, dating would not be a problem at work. How should I proceed?
DEAR T: If being involved personally — or being gently rebuffed — wouldn’t have a negative impact on your working relationship, you should make a choice to be brave and go for it.
The next time you travel to his area — for work or otherwise — you should contact him and say, “Let’s make time to hang out in person. Are you interested?”
Suggest a specific activity. If he declines your idea and doesn’t suggest an alternative, it’s your sign that he’s not into you in that way.
DEAR AMY: Your advice to “Lonely” did not go far enough. Lonely described how her husband leaves her at home night after night and expects her to do all of the cooking, laundry and cleaning. She should hire a cleaner to ease the burden.
DEAR PRACTICAL: She can also cut down on the housework by doing only her own laundry. Once he runs out of clean clothes, he may learn how to operate the washing machine.