DEAR NATALIE: For the last three months, I have been dating a woman who wanted to be exclusive. So we were – or at least I thought we were. We had been intimate during these months, as well. To make a long story short, she has been seeing another man and has gone away with him. She has paid for these trips. Even on my birthday she was away with him in Florida and did not even call me. She asked me if I wanted to go with her to Florida with her this winter and to split the expenses with her. (We are what you would call “snowbirds.”) When things didn’t add up, and I was asked to share expenses, I felt I had a right to ask questions directly to her about my suspicions of her cheating. I also was told stories from her friends that were inconsistent from what she was telling me. Through it all she denied any wrongdoing. This past weekend, my suspicions became true when we ran into “the other man” and his friends at an event. She asked me not to leave her and admitted her lies. My heart tells me everyone deserves a second chance, but my common sense tells me to run. Do I run ? -LOST IN LOVE
DEAR LOST IN LOVE: While I understand that you care for this woman, you also need to care for yourself. She is clearly manipulating you – and possibly the other man in this situation – to get what she wants. I do not recommend that you take her back. I do recommend that you cut off communication with her completely so that she can’t wiggle her way back in. While she may genuinely enjoy spending time with you, you can’t build a foundation on sand. She isn’t trustworthy and doesn’t respect you. There are no red flags to note here — only the cold, hard truth. I wish you luck in love. Know that you are worthy of finding a love that is true and real.
DEAR NATALIE: My brother and I do not see eye to eye on anything that is happening with the Supreme Court. I am vehemently pro-choice and he is in the camp of, “It doesn’t impact me personally so why should I care?” My mother has tried to talk to him, too. We are so frustrated by everything that is going on and we ended up in a very heated debate that left him slamming the door and swearing at me. That was four days ago. Normally, we talk every day, so the fact that we haven’t spoken is upsetting me. My mother told me I just need to give him time. I am agitated because why should I have to worry about HIM speaking to ME? Any idea on how to navigate through this? I am hurt and angry. He owes me an apology. –ANGRY SISTER
DEAR ANGRY SISTER: No matter what laws may be written, we have intrinsic value. Without bodily autonomy, we have nothing. Give it space. You don’t have to agree – and you may never agree – but he also can’t swear at you and slam doors because his emotions get the better of him. It’s also hard to think about making concessions to someone who doesn’t believe you have the right to your own body. So don’t. If you can handle not speaking to him, so be it. If and when he is ready to apologize, you can hear him out. You are under no obligation to work on this if he won’t. I know that isn’t the answer you want to hear, but since you’ve made it clear that you feel as though he owes you an apology, what other choice do you have but to wait it out? Just be prepared for it never to happen. Then you have to decide whether you can move forward without one – or put more distance between you for your mental health.
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