Ask Amy: Phone bill reveals hidden charges

October 29, 2011

DEAR AMY: My 24-year-old professional daughter has been living with a man about her own age for one year. I pay her cellphone bills. Going through bills, I have discovered that she is talking to and texting another man at all hours of the day.

I don’t believe the relationship is platonic because I also discovered (through a package sent to our home instead of to hers) that she also spent a weekend with the other man.

I want my daughter to be happy and make the right decisions in life.

Should I say anything to her or keep my mouth closed? I have not told my wife or anyone else. It worries me that she will marry the man she is living with but will never be happy because she is already having an affair. What should I do? -- Disappointed Dad

DEAR DAD: This situation calls for a father/daughter conversation. The best setting for this talk would be a diner booth, away from both your homes.

Be honest, be open about your concerns and tell her you cannot live her life for her, but you won’t be a party to her dishonesty. Ask, “Do you want to talk about this?” Do not supply answers for her unless she asks for your opinion.

In addition to your compassionate honesty, you can give her a further gift. Tell her you’ve been paying for her phone long enough. It’s time for her to find her own “family plan.”

I’m not sure why you would keep this from your wife — it’s a judgment call, but this seems like a matter she should be aware of.

DEAR AMY: Over a year ago, I broke up with my boyfriend. We had been together for 18 months. We started dating shortly after I graduated college. I was overwhelmed by entering the workforce, shocked by the transition away from friends, and living in my parents’ basement.

He was finishing his senior year in college more than 200 miles away. We were each other’s first long-term relationship and in many ways we were a great couple.

We tried to make things work, but the distance between us, insecurity, jealousy and eventually deceit came between us. After our breakup, things turned ugly and painful. He was hurt by my words and actions. He decided to take a job overseas on a two-year contract, and he has been away for almost a year.

I had a somewhat wild streak. I dated many people and threw caution to the wind. Now I am in a more stable situation.

My feelings toward him continue to grow stronger and my intentions are more genuine. I’d like to reach out and contact him (via e-mail is the only way), but I am unsure of how to even start the conversation. I’d like to mend this relationship. Is this even possible — or worth it? -- Unsure

DEAR UNSURE: Any relationship is worth mending. You should contact your ex in order to apologize for your actions and ask him for his forgiveness.

Don’t swing for the fences. Tell him you’ve grown up a lot and that you have many regrets for how things ended between you. Tell him what you’re doing and how you’re doing, and ask him a couple of questions, which you can hope he will answer by clicking “reply.”

DEAR AMY: “Upset Husband” wrote to you, upset because his wife talked to a guy at a bar and let the husband sit there like a lump on his bar stool without introducing them.

Your advice was half right. Introductions should be made. This husband should not have to hoist himself off a bar stool. A spouse should introduce the other spouse out of respect and just good manners. It matters not if the stranger is a man or a woman.

Respect is what’s called for, and the wife didn’t give it to her husband. -- A Reader

DEAR READER: I agree that the initial introduction should have been made by the wife, but she didn’t do this. Instead of nursing his hurt feelings (and his beer), the husband should have introduced himself.

Write to Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribune.com or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

2011 by the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by Tribune Media Services

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