I’m 26, female, dating a man, 30, for two years. He’s thoughtful, kind, funny, and intelligent - the most positive and mature person I've dated.
Recently, I confided very privately that I believe my long-time best friend may be gay. I’ve since learned that he’d told his co-worker, who openly tried to tease me about it.
I was upset but forgave my boyfriend, who was truly sorry.
However, I later discovered he’d revealed family concerns deeply personal to me, to this same co-worker who sometimes joins our social group.
I’d shared these innermost aspects of who I am early on in our dating, including about significant insecurities I’ve had since childhood.
The co-worker’s response was to "casually" raise these subjects in taunting jokes, completely out of the blue.
I realize that it’s more of a problem with the co-worker than my boyfriend, however I feel betrayed and hurt by all of this.
I’m worrying about what else my boyfriend has told him/others, and nervous for our future that is now sadly lacking in trust.
My boyfriend has apologized, saying he never intended anything to be misconstrued as malicious. I feel that he’s continuously given this other person the fuel to mock me behind my back, and it feels awful.
Is this something to work through, or a deal-breaker?
It’s not a good signal. Not in keeping with the intelligence you say he has and the kindness with which you credit him.
It’s up to him to prove himself now.
He must be clear with this co-worker that he’s crossed a line of trust and friendship. And he needs to retreat from sharing personal information with him.
If you two become seriously attached, there’ll be your personal disagreements, details of intimacy, and other matters up for grabs if loose-lips keep sharing sensitive matters.
To keep his friendship AND you, your boyfriend needs to act smarter and say less.
Your trust now depends on his accepting this, and you believing him. You want to, so will likely give him a chance. But only one…
We’ve been close friends for many years. Then three years ago something happened – she started doing things out of character, including having an affair with a married partner.
That’s her business but it doesn’t mesh with my goals and morals. I was used as an alibi without knowing it.
Ultimately, she left the marriage and re-started her life. I was helpful, supportive, and giving.
But she changed from kind, giving, great Mom to her three kids, to selfish, risky, and borderline negligent. She used me only for baby-sitting or helping her run her life.
She’s now got several men doing things for her and keeps them at the ready. The affair’s ongoing, despite that he’s verbally and emotionally abusive to her.
She’s relied on alimony, child support, money from others, though she’s able to work.
Sometimes she couldn’t make the rent and had to sell her computer. When there was no food, I brought lots of it (but not money) and spent time with the kids.
I’m having trouble letting go of this once fantastic friendship. She was my maid of honor, and we called each other long-lost sisters.
You’re taking the right steps – creating boundaries (financial) yet staying interested and concerned.
Your long friendship calls for this response, but only to the point you can handle it.
Note: Awareness of ongoing child negligence requires you to report to authorities.
FEEDBACK Regarding How to Live with a Slob (April 28):
Reader – “My husband had very poor habits despite excellent personal hygiene.
“I was angry and negative about this. He wouldn't contribute to keeping an orderly house, nor agree to hiring cleaning help.
“So, I said I’ll do all the interior cleaning and general tidying-up, but must be paid.
“We agreed on an amount, put it in writing. It turned out to be win/win/win.
“I got extra money for "treat" shopping, and occasionally hiring a cleaning company for the heavy stuff.
“Our house was organized and tidy. I was much happier, there was less tension, and he didn't have to do anything.
“I agree that the writer should be responsible for her own car maintenance. But it’s off-limits to him, should his car break down.
“I asked our sons how they’d be willing to help. They each offered something, and earned extra privileges.”
Tip of the day:
If trusting someone with sensitive secrets has been disappointing, insist that it can’t happen again. And mean it.