Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend, “Leslie,” who recently gave me some pretty shocking news. She found out that her boyfriend of four years has been cheating on her with another girl. Leslie told me about how she had her suspicions, but she wasn’t sure until a close friend of hers broke the news.

What makes this situation extra heartbreaking is how Leslie is extremely close to her boyfriend’s family. They treat her like a daughter. She even recently went on vacation to visit his family overseas! Leslie loves his family as much as they love her, and she does not want to tell them out of fear of breaking their hearts. She is going through a lot of stress and heartbreak from this situation. I am happy that she broke up with her boyfriend, but now she has to worry about telling his family about the breakup. Should she tell his family or have him tell his own family that he cheated? -- Split Up

DEAR SPLIT UP: Your friend is in a predicament that is not uncommon for couples in long-term relationships. Naturally, both partners get close to the other’s family. That is a sign of a healthy relationship. The challenge, of course, is that if there is a breakup, it affects more than the couple.

Your friend has the right to tell her ex’s family that the two of them broke up. She does not need to share all of the details, but it is OK for her to say that he broke her heart and that she is working through it. She can add that if they want to know more about what happened, they should talk to him.

DEAR HARRIETTE: There is no doubt that Instagram is a daily chore in today’s society. We use it to take selfies, make business connections, post our achievements, etc. My best friend is almost always on Instagram. I remember going to her house to hang out, and she spent the entire time on her phone. I had to tell her to get off her phone because I came over specifically for her. I was once in the middle of talking to her when she pulled out her phone and started scrolling Instagram.

I have told her constantly that it is rude to look at her phone when I am right in front of her. I am so irritated by her behavior. It makes me wonder why she even hangs out with me -- she seems to want to be on her phone instead. I am afraid to tell her my feelings since she usually gets defensive or says she “never” uses her phone around me. Should I tell her how I feel? -- Disconnected

DEAR DISCONNECTED: Do tell your friend -- very directly. Explain that you don’t want to hang out with her anymore if you have to constantly compete with her social media network. Request that she put her phone down or turn it off when you are together. If she refuses, don’t visit with her for a while, and see if your absence has an effect.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)