My girlfriend is a born flirt. It’s how I met her three years ago, so I shouldn’t be surprised.
She walked up to me at a party and said, you’re cuter and more fun than my date, so let’s just leave this dull scene.
I fell in love fast, because she’s so upbeat, she even wakes up smiling and laughing!
But the flirting whenever we’re with a group (AND her cheating on her last serious boyfriend which she only revealed after we moved in together), are now getting to me.
I’m doubting her when she periodically comes home all flustered, two to three hours late after work.
She blames it on pressure from a demanding supervisor who’s “on her case” to finish a project.
Should I confront her? How else can I handle this? If she really is just “working,” will my suspicions ruin everything between us?
Calm yourself while you think this through. How did you handle the story of her having cheated in the past? And were her reasons for doing so, in that other relationship, something you felt was understandable at that time… or a warning signal you ignored?
Then, consider her flirting: Does she ever leave you on your own for another as she did to her date when you first met?
Then, reflect on how the relationship’s been since you’ve been living together - still loving, intimate, sharing confidences and good times?
Or has there been distance, and pressure between you two?
“Working late” is not always a synonym for cheating. But a cooled relationship, plus pressure at work, can add up to trouble… if not in this case, but soon, if you don’t communicate about it.
Tell her that you feel “uncomfortable” about her late nights. If she becomes defensive, you’re headed for a much-longer talk.
Instead of accusing (without any real evidence), state your own boundary: e.g. “If there’s something more going on, I need to know what. Trust is either still there, or it’s gone for both of us.” Mean it.
Reader’s Commentary More information on helping an exhausted mother find support raising her disabled child (Oct. 28):
“There are a lot of on-line networks for families. It can be a big boost to parents to share ideas.
“In my long and professional experience, what’s most important is to find someone who really values your child and helps you see that s/he has something to contribute, and is not just a burden.
“Andrew Solomon, psychologist and author of Far from the Tree, has written how much a very slight change in others’ responses can be so helpful: (Adapted from the foreword to the new book, About Us: Essays From The Disability Series of the New York Times:
“The mother of a man with diastrophic dwarfism, a very disabling condition, described to me how for the first year of her son’s life, every doctor she saw rattled off a catalogue of what was likely to go wrong and asked her if she was prepared to deal with it all.
“When her son was a year old, a different doctor, who specialized in skeletal dysplasias, lifted the baby up, held him aloft in the light, and said, “Let me tell you. That’s going to be a handsome young man one day.”
“The rewarding life she was to have with her son began that very day, a fact she reflected on when we chatted at his joyous wedding years later.”
When underage teens bring alcohol/drugs to a friend’s house or parent-hosted event, how can a parent act responsibly (Oct. 30):
Know the law. In Canada, there are strict laws regarding underage alcohol abuse, and alcohol-related driving after leaving the party.
If the illegal alcohol use occurs in your home, you’re likely responsible.
While underage drinking is sometimes permitted under the child’s parent’s supervision at home, it doesn’t allow drinking for minors who are guests.
Eight US states hold parents liable if underage guests are drinking, even if no harm comes to anyone. In 16 other states, parents can be held responsible if an underage drinker drinks at their home and then causes injury to another.
Stay home when you host teens. Enforce backpack-checks: Take out contraband, put it away securely and keep all the packs in a safe/locked closet.
You’re protecting the teens and yourself from contributing to a crime. You may even be saving a life.
Tip of the day:
“Working late” doesn’t always signal a cheating-alert. But a non-accusatory chat may be needed to explain the change.