DEAR AMY: My boyfriend of six months has really opened himself up to me. He gave me his social media account passwords, and has added my thumbprint to his phone (which I find really cute because I didn’t really ask him for it). I trust him. I noticed that his ex has been texting him. This wouldn’t really bother me if she had no bad intentions. But I know for a fact that she is still into him. My boyfriend never answers her texts — ever — she texts him on his phone number and also on WhatsApp. She still tries to talk to him, even when he doesn’t reply. She has even called him various times. My boyfriend tells me to go to his text messages and just reply to her, saying whatever I want. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. Should I say, “Leave my boyfriend alone?” I don’t want to start a fight because I’m too nice. He also wants it to stop. What do I tell her?
DEAR WONDERING: Back in the Cretaceous period, when I was dating, you’d wear a guy’s chunky high school ring on a chain around your neck to prove that you were a couple.
But it seems that in your world, sharing passwords and biometrics is a “we’re exclusive” litmus test. I think this is unwise. If your guy had given his previous girlfriend password access to all of his social media accounts, she’d have hacked him by now.
Even though you and your guy are aware of technology at a consumer level, you don’t seem to have figured out how to block someone from a phone.
Go to the contacts list on his phone, scroll to the contact card with his ex’s name, scroll to the bottom where it says “block this caller,” and press the button. The process is similar for WhatsApp.
When you block someone, they don’t know that they’ve been blocked. If they send a message, it will appear to have been received.
Her attempts to contact your boyfriend seem to trigger a desire in you to respond on his behalf. There is no need to play this “leave my man alone” game. That just leads to more drama.
DEAR AMY: I’ve been with my husband for almost five years; we’ve been married for about a year and a half. I love my in-laws. They seem to like me, but I don’t know what to call them. They live in Canada half the year and in the United States the other half. We see them only twice a year. They have been so nice to me, and I want to call them something special, but I’m not sure if “Mom” and “Dad” is right. My parents are no longer in my life, and I feel so lucky to have my husband’s family. So far, I’ve called them by their first names, but it doesn’t seem as loving as I’d like to be. Is “Mom” and “Dad” too personal? I haven’t spent much time with them and his siblings’ significant others, so I haven’t noticed how their other in-laws address them. I’m open to suggestions.
Terms of Endearment Needed
DEAR TERMS: Reframe how you view calling people by name. You call your husband by his name; your friends are addressed by their names. The sentiment and affection matters more than the form of address.
You could check with other in-laws or significant others in your generation group to see if these parents have expressed a preference with them.
Over the years, when I have addressed this in my column, people report that the very best way to settle this is directly, and early on in the relationship. You’re still technically in the “early” column, so I suggest that you frame a very warmly worded email: “... you have received me so warmly into your family; I truly feel that you are my family. I’m wondering how you would like me to address you? Would you prefer that I call you by your first names, or would it be OK with you if I addressed you as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad?’ ”
DEAR AMY: I was amused by the question from “Devastated Wife,” who actually blamed cellphones for her husband’s infidelity. Thank you for pointing out the obvious: that infidelity preceded this technology.
DEAR FAITHFUL: This wife was clearly still in the throes of her reaction to her husband’s choice to cheat on her. The guy, not his phone, is responsible.