Dear Abby: Is it cheating if nothing physical ever happened?

Girlfriend insists her secret visits and conversations with another man don’t count as an affair.

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DEAR ABBY: My longtime girlfriend and I broke up recently. One of the reasons was because we didn’t agree on a definition of cheating. She met a friend through work whom I met once, and what I saw and heard during that interaction screamed he was a sleaze who wanted to move in on my girl. I voiced my concerns and asked her to stop seeing this friend, and she agreed.

A week later, she renewed the friendship, communicating through Snapchat. For six months she would have drinks with him, go places with him and have conversations with him without telling me. She swears they never did anything physical. I had seen the signs — from time to time I’d notice she wasn’t where she said she would be, the car would smell like smoke, and we were growing apart.

One day, I finally had had enough and we agreed to separate. Since our first day apart, they have been together. I have told her she cheated on me and I couldn’t trust her. She insists she wasn’t cheating and I should have been more self-confident and trusting. When two people’s definition of cheating differs, what do you do? Who is right? — WONDERING IN WYOMING

DEAR WONDERING: YOU are right! Your former girlfriend was sneaking around seeing someone on the side and lying about it. That behavior is the DEFINITION of cheating. Stop arguing with her, and be glad that the relationship is over and you are free to find an honest woman to love. I hope the two of them wind up together because they deserve each other.

DEAR ABBY: My ex-husband died three years ago. We have three grown daughters. He wrote in his will that I was not to be at his funeral, which was hurtful, as we had been married for 30 years. My two older daughters felt it necessary to abide by his wishes. This happened during the pandemic, so not much was done except his burial. He didn’t remarry, but the woman he left me for was very much a part of all the planning.

My two older daughters are now planning a celebration of life for him. The problem is that they live out of state and they want to stay with me. I do not want to be involved in any of this “celebration” or even host them. Their relationship with their father during their growing-up years was turbulent because he was an angry person most of the time. Now he’s their hero, which I also find painful because I was always their “protector.”

Am I looking at this all wrong? What’s your advice in dealing with this situation? — SURVIVOR IN THE WEST

DEAR SURVIVOR: You had a long, unhappy marriage and a difficult divorce that involved another woman. You can’t change the way your two older daughters feel about their “hero.” Tell your girls they’re welcome at your home any time they visit, BUT because there are so many unpleasant memories associated with this particular event, you prefer they bunk elsewhere this time.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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