Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I have been together for about five months. He works from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. I've been friends with his brother for five years and with his sister-in-law for 20 years. His brother and I almost dated a few years ago, and his sister-in-law and my boyfriend dated in the past. Every time I go over to their house to hang out with them while he's at work, he seems to get upset about it. They have children around my daughter's age, so she can play with her friends. I've asked him what his problem is with me going over when he's at work, and he said he doesn't have a problem with it. I don't go over when he's home because I want us to have alone time then. I'm not sure whether to see them anymore or not. -- Torn, Shreveport, La.

DEAR TORN: It sounds like your combined relationships with your boyfriend's family are layered, to say the least. Your boyfriend may consciously or even unconsciously be a bit concerned that you being at their home without him may lead to some kind of intimacy. Is that a fair concern? Who knows?

Out of respect for him, you should honor his wishes and not go over there right now. Instead, go with him the next time you are together. Even though it seems counterintuitive, it isn't. Give up a little alone time to spend as a family with your daughter and all of them. Let your boyfriend get comfortable around everyone. Once he feels at ease, he may change his mind about being OK with you going there without him.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I just read your response to "I Am Not Even Hungry." Although the response was "sensible," I suggest that you investigate the 12-step program Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.

For those of us who have experienced compulsive eating, it has been the answer to our prayers.

If possible, the best use of your time would be to attend a meeting. There are no fees, weigh-ins or sign-ins, only a request for your first name so we may welcome you.

In the future, we hope you will want to include our website,, along with the recommendation to see a doctor. -- In the Know, Ann Arbor, Mich.

DEAR IN THE KNOW: Thank you very much for sharing information on dealing with food addiction. You are absolutely right that 12-step programs can be amazing supports to people who are struggling with a range of addictions. This is true for people with other eating disorders as well.

I hope that anyone who is reading this who is struggling with a food addiction would reach out for help right away. It is possible to beat this illness. Getting help is essential.