Dear Abby: I am 21 and confused. My boyfriend, “Ethan,” and I broke up five months ago, but we recently got back together. The problem is, he hides the fact that we’re together. I’m not allowed to put anything on Facebook or even comment or “like” anything on his page. He hardly even talks to me or comes to see me, and when we do talk or see each other, we end up in a fight. We used to be great together, but things are no longer the way they were.
Ethan insists he’s not cheating on me, but it’s hard to believe him, because when we got back together he had been talking to a girl who lives a few miles away from him. I don’t want to end our relationship. Ethan says he loves me and doesn’t want to leave me, but I don’t know what to think anymore. Any advice?
— Drifting in Ohio
Dear Drifting: Yes. Wake up, honey. The relationship you cherished with Ethan is over. A man who is in love with a woman sees and talks with her often, and doesn’t hide her from the world or get into a fight with her every time he sees her. That he would forbid you to mention that you are back together on Facebook and refuse to permit you to comment on his posts is a huge red flag.
You asked my advice, and here it is: Take a giant step backward and see Ethan for who he is — a person who doesn’t tell the truth and is very likely a cheater. If he was sincere, he’d be telling the world the happy news about your reunion.
Dear Abby: I’m a 16-year-old girl and a junior in high school. I love my best friend and we are very close with each other. How do we maintain a strong friendship when we go to college? We are planning on going to different colleges, possibly in different states. We don’t want to lose what we have right now.
— Good Friend on the West Coast
Dear Good Friend: Do it the way everyone else does — through instant messaging and social media. But understand that both of you will have new responsibilities that will occupy your time, and you will be meeting new people and forming additional relationships. It doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your close friendship if you both approach it with the right attitude. College is a time for growth and expansion. When you see each other during vacations from school, you can share that with each other.
Dear Abby: While driving with my son when he was in fifth or sixth grade, I spotted a bumper sticker on the car ahead of us at a stoplight. It had the “My child is an honor student” message with his school’s name on it. I said to him, in a not-too-subtle hint about his grades, “I’d like to have a bumper sticker like that to put on my car, too.”
I realized he was developing a wicked sense of humor when he replied, “I’ll see if I can steal you one.” It’s one of my favorite memories.
— Oh, The Memories in LaGrange, N.C.
Dear Memories: Funny! And what has he become? A lawyer, a politician or a comedian?
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order “How to Be Popular.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)