Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I am in a long-term relationship, and my partner and I are beginning to discuss birth control options (in particular, the pill). Should I ask my partner to help me pay for birth control? I feel it should be our combined responsibility, as it benefits us both. But how do I handle the situation if he should refuse to split the cost with me? I’ve received many different perspectives on this issue, and would like to hear yours. Thank you so much.

Conflicted

DEAR CONFLICTED: Your partner should share in your birth control decisions, and he should also share in the cost. Regardless of who pays for it, birth control (like birth) ultimately confers a disproportionate burden on a woman — you have to remember to use birth control and you also tolerate the physical side effects of whatever method you use. Your partner should do his best to share this responsibility, out of respect to you and the mutual choice you are making not to get pregnant.

If you were not in a committed and exclusive relationship (i.e. if you had multiple partners), then you would take sole responsibility for your birth control choices (as well as the cost).

Acting like true partners regarding this very intimate and important question can enhance your overall relationship. If your guy refuses to share the cost with you, then you should probably find another guy.

DEAR AMY: My best friend and I have been together for a very long time. I recently found out that she and my boyfriend were communicating behind my back. Both of them said horrible things about me. My boyfriend’s email account was open one day, and I happened to see these awful exchanges. My friend and my boyfriend talk on the phone and text back and forth. I’m all for friends of mine getting to know my boyfriends, but this went beyond those boundaries. My girlfriend and I have been friends since long before either of us knew him, so I’m dumbfounded as to what to do. I’ve cut them both out of my life for now until I have a better idea. When I confronted them, they both denied what they had done and turned on me. I suppose they are two miserable people who deserve each other. I was thinking about telling my friend’s husband about what she had done, but I don’t want to involve myself further. I do believe in karma. I believe that what goes around comes around. What should I do now?

Confused

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DEAR CONFUSED: Your friend and your boyfriend violated an important boundary by communicating secretly.

Generally you should only pay close attention to critiques delivered personally — not those things whispered behind your back. While you don’t outline whatever horrible things these two might have said to each other about you, if there is anything embedded in this content that is important for you to know about yourself (for your own personal growth), I hope you will pay attention to it.

I agree with your choice not to independently reach out to your friend’s husband, but if you are asked about the dissolution of this friendship, you should be honest. Otherwise, you need to focus on healing from this betrayal. Keep in mind that anything you communicate with them individually will likely be shared. I hope you have other friends who can support you through this. You should assume that your relationship with each of these people is permanently over.

DEAR AMY: I was touched by the letter from “Pained Mother,” who was very worried about her son’s imminent move overseas. Our family had the same experience. In our case my daughter, her husband and two grandchildren moved to Dubai for three years for a job opportunity. It was difficult and, of course, we missed them terribly, but they had the experience of a lifetime traveling to exotic places, meeting people and gaining a wonderful understanding of other cultures. I suggest that Pained Mother set up Skype calls with her family at regular times and make these interactions positive. She will soon see that her fears were not realized and be reassured they are doing well.

Been There, Skyped About It

DEAR BEEN THERE: One of the benefits of having a family member move overseas is that it can broaden the entire clan’s perspective. Many people have written in with overseas experiences and all report that Skype calls can really help to bridge the distance and keep people connected.