DEAR AMY: I am a 26-year-old woman. I’ve been in a relationship with a 29-year-old man for almost five months. We love each other and are very happy together. We believe in total trust. He said when we first got together that trust is vital in a relationship. We are in an exclusive, committed relationship. This weekend we had a small fight and I felt a little insecure. I checked his phone (we have checked each other’s phones before — total trust, right?). Well, I looked at his messages and there are all these girls that he has been texting and talking to. One of them was his ex. He was calling these women “Baby” and “Honey” and sending them kisses. I felt heartbroken and couldn’t stop shaking, I couldn’t even look him in the eye. I told him how I felt about it. We talked about it and he said he didn’t realize it would bother me. He assured me that it would stop, and I believe him, but I can’t 100 percent forgive him. I asked why he thought that it was OK to talk to other girls while he is with me. I want to make it work. I love him and don’t want our relationship to end.

Trust Challenged

DEAR CHALLENGED: It seems to me that by age 29, a man would know that flirting with other women would bother his exclusive, committed girlfriend.

You don’t say how your boyfriend responded when you asked him why he was communicating with these other women.

But the fact that he has agreed to stop tells you that he agrees that his behavior was wrong — or at least, wrong for you.

Why is he still in touch with his ex? What do they communicate about? If he has an ongoing friendship with her, then is he willing to include you in this friendship? If not, why not?

The other women he has been texting — does he know them personally? How did he meet them? What do they talk about?

These are all questions you two should ponder, as you figure out whether you want to move forward in this relationship.

It is impossible to have a healthy, committed exclusive relationship if one of you maintains secret contact with others. Either this episode is a glitch, or it is a pattern. Only you can decide if you want to invest the emotional energy and the time to find out.

DEAR AMY: Recently my wife and I had a pool party where we invited three families with small children. One of the kids (2 years old) took off her swimming vest. The child’s parents were poolside, but did not see this happen. The child strayed off the step and started to go down. One of the other parents jumped in and pulled the child out. The child was fine — just a little scared. The parent who jumped in had an iPhone in his pocket. It no longer works. The phone cost $600 when it was bought new. I have an ethical question: As the homeowner, should we pay for a new phone?


DEAR HOMEOWNER: This parent chose to jump into your pool to save a child. This is a laudable choice, to be sure. But the parent’s damaged property is not due to anything connected to your house or hospitality.

As the host when this near-tragedy occurred, it would be kind and generous of you to offer to replace this phone, but it is not your ethical duty to replace it.

In my mind, the parents of the rescued child should pay for the phone, any damaged clothing and college tuition for the rescuer’s children.

You might contact this phone’s manufacturer (or his carrier), tell this great story, and ask if they can reward this instinctive everyday heroism by granting him a new phone. I hear the newest version is solidly waterproof.

DEAR AMY: I did not like your answer to “Confused Parent,” whose young son was playacting a “wedding” ceremony with another little boy. You suggested this mom say to her 4-year-old son, “We hope you choose to marry a girl rather than a boy, but when you are a grown-up, you get to make your own choice.” If this boy turns out to be gay, having this rattling around in his head will be damaging to him.


DEAR DISAPPOINTED: Many readers responded the same way. Thank you.


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months