Dear Carolyn:

I've been with my boyfriend for several years. I met a guy a few months ago and began talking to him online (he lives several hours away). Although I was secretly attracted to him at first, now I just consider him a friend. My boyfriend found out and wants me to stop talking to him. I've continued talking to the guy because it's not leading to anything, but I've had to lie to my boyfriend about it. As long as I don't do anything with this guy, is it okay for me to talk to him? Or should I stop talking to him out of respect for my boyfriend?


If not talking to the e-guy is a gesture of respect for your boyfriend, then talking to the e-guy is a gesture of disrespect for your boyfriend.

Your behavior isn't "okay" just because you've chosen not to connect the logical dots.

And, yoo-hoo, you're lying. Sure, it's possible your boyfriend overreacted. It's possible he was justified. It's possible cows speak to aliens via their spots. None of it means squat when you're lying.

A handy test for "okay'': If you have to hide it, it's not. Either stand openly behind your decision or decide something else.

Dear Carolyn:

I am in a serious relationship with a woman who desperately misses her hometown and looks for opportunities to get back there whenever possible. This includes times when I cannot accompany her and when there is no specific reason to be there. When I have expressed that her clear enthusiasm to get away hurts my feelings, she responds that it has nothing to do with me and that I should not be so sensitive. It is not exactly an issue of not seeing each other enough, because, fortunately, we have had a good amount of time together. But am I wrong to feel that her desire to leave town without me is a bad signal about how she really feels about us?


Probably. From here it just looks like a bad signal that you've never had a place get into your DNA.

Or, a worse signal that you can't conceive of her having feelings that extend beyond you you you -- but since I have no grounds to choose one of these over the other, I'll err on the less snarky side (grudgingly, of course).

There's nothing unusual about having a strong, even visceral sense of home, be it a house, a street, a town, a region, a climate or just a smell. She has managed, according to you, to get serious with you, spend a good amount of time with you, and still keep the tie strong to her home; sounds like she's making this work, both logistically and emotionally.

If you love her enough to see a future with her, then you'll be a much happier guy -- i.e., less insecure -- if you find a way to love this about her, too.

Even better if you can develop your own affection for her hometown, since you can expect at least a lifetime of weekend trips there -- and that's only if she doesn't actually want to relocate there when it's her turn to form her own family. Come future-discussing time, it's worth a sidebar or two.

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