Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

New Beau Shows Many Red Flags

DEAR HARRIETTE: I joined a dating app a couple of months ago, and I connected with a really nice man who met all of my requirements. It wasn't until about two weeks ago that he started showing serious signs of instability. For example, if I’m busy and cannot answer my phone, he will call and text me incessantly. He’s even gone as far as to call my work number and make sure I’m there. On one occasion, he showed up at my house unannounced and practically begged me to let him inside. We are not even officially in a relationship -- we are only casually dating. I don’t know if I can look past this behavior. Should I have a talk with him or just cut him off altogether? -- Online Dater

DEAR ONLINE DATER: This man sounds dangerous. You definitely don’t want to keep dating him, but because he knows where you live and work, you have to be careful in distancing yourself from him. If possible, have a conversation with him on the phone and let him know that while you have enjoyed getting to know him, you do not want to go out with him anymore. Assure him that he is a nice guy, but you have decided that you do not want to continue this relationship. If he asks why, tell him that you don’t think you two are a good fit. Before you get serious, you want to stop.

Chances are, this won’t be enough. You should alert your neighbors, friends and job that this man may decide to lurk around, and you need them to have your back. You can contact the dating app and let them know that this man has some stalker tendencies. If he crosses the line -- as in trespassing or threatening you -- call the police.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My sister is a year older than me, and we grew up very close. We were roommates in college, and our kids were even born within the same year. When I moved away to a different state, we gradually grew apart.

When our kids were younger, we would spend holidays together, but now our kids are older and they all have their own lives. There's a lot of tension between my sister and me because I know she feels a bit excluded. What makes things more challenging is that when I do reach out to her, she seems to be upset with me. I would like to rebuild and strengthen my relationship with my sister. Life is too short to fight with the people you love. How can I fix our strained relationship? -- Sister Problems

DEAR SISTER PROBLEMS: Ask your sister to have an honest talk with you. Invite her to tell you what’s going on with her. Point out that she always seems to be upset with you when you talk, and you want peace in your relationship. Coax out of her what’s really going on. Whatever comes up, try to address it head-on. Remind her that you love her and her children and want more than anything to work together to release the tension and reclaim the tight bond you once shared.

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