Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Boyfriend Bullies Woman About Her Weight

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been dating my boyfriend for about four years. I am almost 5 feet 2 inches tall and about 125 pounds. My boyfriend always says I am gaining too much weight. He can be really mean. Last year I discovered that he cheated on me with a fat girl. I cannot understand that for the life of me. What is that about? -- Insulted, Cincinnati

DEAR INSULTED: You and your boyfriend sound a bit confused. He doesn't seem to know what he wants in a relationship. You have tolerated his belittling comments followed by infidelity. You two need to have a meeting of the minds where you speak very directly about your relationship. It is incumbent upon you to speak up about your concerns. Ask him why he constantly rides you about your weight. (If it is true that you have been gaining, take that to heart, by the way. He may be concerned for your health.) Confront him about the affair. Ask why he betrayed your relationship. Follow up with why he cheated with a large woman while, at the same time, he criticizes you for your body

Who knows why he has made these choices? You need to figure out if it is worth it for you to continue in a relationship with him. Mutual respect is necessary for long-term success. If you can rekindle that, you may stand a chance. Do yourself a favor: If he does not become supportive of you in ways that make you feel loved, walk away.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My son was offered a chance to go on vacation with his best friend for a week to Florida. I love the idea -- as does my son -- but we cannot afford to send him. I spoke with the mom privately to break the news, and she informed me that she was inviting him as a treat. She did not expect me to pay. That is very generous of her, but I know how expensive this trip will be. I can give him only a few dollars toward his trip. How can I say yes? -- Longing Mom, Washington, D.C.

DEAR LONGING MOM: Talk further with the mom and lay your cards out on the table: Tell her exactly how much money you can contribute to the trip. It really may be fine with her to cover your son's costs. If not, she will tell you.

If she still wants your son to go, allow it. Talk to him about his behavior and about being frugal. Give him a little pocket change, but give the lion's share of your contribution to the mom. Know that this is not an uncommon practice, for school friends to invite friends to vacation with them. On plenty of occasions, the host family foots the bill, but you are wise to ask. You would never want to assume. But if you feel comfortable with the offer, let your son have a great time. Be sure to write a heartfelt thank-you note upon their return.