DEAR NATALIE: I just found out that my boyfriend has been cheating on me for the past three months with a “close” friend of mine. I am LIVID. I don’t know what to do. My friend and I are no longer speaking, and my boyfriend thinks this will blow over, as he has promised not to see her anymore. He is being all apologetic but I am so over it. I don’t believe him, anyway. We share an apartment and I want to move all of my stuff out, but my friends said I should trash his stuff and throw away his favorite clothes/ shoes/ movies/ etc. They even said I should key his car. What do you think? —I AM SO MAD
DEAR I AM SO MAD: Before you turn this into a Carrie Underwood “Before He Cheats” video, take a breath. And then another. While trashing his things may feel good in the moment, it won’t change what he did. You need to decide what you want to do. Two choices: You figure it out together or you dump him immediately. If this was me, I would be more inclined to leave him. If he’s willing to cheat on you with a “friend,” who knows what else he is capable of. The truth is, the lying is worse than the actual cheating. If he could look into your eyes, lie to your face for three solid months, that just shows what little care or concern he has for other people. He’s selfish and only concerned about his own happiness. You don’t want to set a precedent where you are allowing this bad behavior. Drop him like a bad habit. And make him move out. Why should you have to couch-hop when he was the one that started this mess in the first place? Next.
DEAR NATALIE: Why is it when I want my boyfriend to do something that I want to do, he comes up with a million excuses not to go, but he expects me to attend every work function and party that arises for him? This doesn’t seem fair. Last week, there was an arts festival in town, and I thought it would be fun. He didn’t think so, but later in the week he asked me to go with him to a work dinner! When I said “No,” we got into a big fight because he claims I don’t support him. Isn’t support a two-way street? —NOT BUDGING
DEAR NOT BUDGING: Often in relationships, we think everything should be a 50/ 50 split, but in reality, it rarely is. Sometimes you give 90%, and they give 10 and vice versa. However, when it seems like you are always giving and it always feels as though they are taking, it is time to reassess the relationship. His interest in work-related functions to help serve him and his career are not surprising and even understandable. But, when you mentioned doing something fun, like an arts festival, and he wasn’t interested, it makes me wonder if it is really because of work stuff or he just can’t be bothered unless it is about him. He is acting really self-absorbed. You are both in this relationship together. Stick to your guns on this one. Either he needs to make more time for the things that you want to do together outside of work functions, or he can go to the events solo. And while we’re on this topic of reassessing dynamics, look at the rest of the relationship, too. Is he selfish in other areas? Expects you to do for him but doesn’t give in return? Is he thoughtless or careless in his behavior? Take note of the bigger picture and decide what kind of relationship and partner you want. Sometimes, it’s not enough to love somebody if you don’t have the same vision of the future.
Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Having a one-on-one meeting with a potential future employer? Do your research. Learn about the company as well as the position you are interested in. Smile, be polite and be on time (or 10 minutes early for good measure!)
Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci
(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)