Dear Carolyn:

I dated a woman for three years. Recently, I sat her down to talk about our lack of intimacy and her desire (or lack thereof) to keep our relationship going. She assured me we were okay. However, she grew distant, stopped calling from work and would sometimes receive mysterious phone calls. ("Hello, I'll call you back later.'') One day she went out with co-workers after work. I didn't hear from her for four hours, which is out of the norm. Later that night, we had a big blowup. The next day she said I overreacted and we eventually agreed to touch base whenever we are out with friends. Less than a week later she did it again. This time it was six hours, and whenever I called her cell, she did not answer. I decided to end the relationship. My family thinks I did the right thing, some friends think I should've been patient to see if she was really cheating. I didn't want to wait for a heartache that was inevitable. What do you think?

Drawing the Line

You "sat her down''? Are "drawing the line''? "Agreed to touch base''? Called her cell multiple times?

I think you need to realize that tightening your grip on a relationship isn't the way to hold on.

Also, I think that if you wait till somebody cheats before you end an unhappy relationship, you're going to be in some really unhappy relationships. You were dissatisfied, you were honest about it, you were making each other crazy, and you had plenty of signs from her that things weren't about to improve. Even if you could prove that she had been faithful, is this a relationship you would want back?

Dear Carolyn:

I have had the most depressing time of my life. My best friend, "Patti," recently began to have feelings for my boyfriend, "Marc." He has loved me dearly within our relationship but now he seems more fascinated with her! I don't know what to do because I love Marc incredibly and I have been so close to Patti. How can I tell her this is not right and that Marc belongs to me?

Torn Apart in Twin Falls

There's no way to tell her Marc belongs to you because it's not true. And it's politically incorrect.

You can tell her it's not right, but why not just say what you mean? Paranoia is common here, so be patient in ruling it out -- but assuming you're right about this snowballing attraction, your feelings say more than your judgments. "Watching this happen has been the most depressing time of my life."

She should know what you see, and she should know what it's doing to you. Feelings happen, but there's no scenario that makes her competing for Marc okay.

And Marc should know that if he's more interested in Patti than he is in you, then you need to know so that you can get out of the way.

But only if you agree with me that the emotional equivalent of disemboweling yourself with a ballpoint pen sounds appealing -- when your alternatives are being the girlfriend of the guy who palpably wants someone else, and having to protect yourself from your own best friend.

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