Let’s say hypothetically that you secretly went through your boyfriend’s phone. You know this is a terrible offense, and you don’t find anything upsetting, but now you can’t stop. You’re compulsively checking his text messages every chance you get. How do you break the pattern? Can you do it without admitting your mistake? — Julie
Julie: There’s no hypothetical here. I can sheepishly admit I’ve done it and more than one third of those in relationships have snooped on their significant other. So how do you stop? In your case, you recognize that you won’t be able to quit willingly. My advice is to casually recommend that you and your boyfriend both install passwords on your phones, using the excuse of a stolen/lost phone could means private information accessed. Whatever you do after that, do not attempt to learn his password for any reason. You don’t need to know. Everyone deserves a level of privacy. If you’ve looked already and there’s nothing there, be happy. You have a good guy.
My girlfriend’s mother is not particularly fond of me. I know this because my girlfriend relays the things her mother says to her, to me. I comfort her, but now when I see her parents, I’m uncomfortable. I’m a good guy. Angela, I care about her daughter. Will time change her mind? — Nate
Nate: I’m puzzled by the fact that your girlfriend would divulge her mother’s disapproval of you. It sounds to me as if this information only provided hurt feelings rather than determining the real issue of why you are not No. 1 in Mom’ s heart. I believe your declaration that you are a good guy—if you weren’t, you wouldn’t need Mom’s blessing.
Sometimes people don’t like us for reasons we can’t control: jealously, preconceived biases, and numerous other trivial reasons that are their own issues.
If you need the approval of your girl’s parents, my advice is to spend some time with them. Maybe suggest dinner together. Let them see for themselves how much you care and respect their daughter. Don’t be afraid to verbally tell them as well! Eventually, you will win their hearts, and if for some reason you don’t, it’s their problem, not yours.
Do you have any advice/guidelines for getting back together with an ex? When is it OK, and when should you keep the cord cut? — Lilly R.
Lilly: Everyone from the Backstreet Boys to Jessica and Justin end up staging a reunion. (Well, everyone except Taylor Swift. She swears they are NEVER getting back together!)
It’s certainly common to have feelings for an ex. Over 60 percent of people surveyed said they have at least once reconnected with an old flame. Your question made me take a look at my own dating history and realized I’m included in that statistic. Of the four significant relationship I’ve been in, I rekindled the romance, albeit briefly, with all of them.
There’s no one scenario that determines whether or not any one relationship is worth trying again. It varies from person to person.
If you are leaning toward giving a former relationship another try, here are my four tips to consider:
1. Make sure you’ve thought this through carefully and nostalgia is not ruling your decision. Have the issues that caused your initial break-up been repaired? If not, you will certainly run into them on a second try.
2. Go slow. It’s tempting to go full throttle into relationship mode again when you are familiar with each other, but resist the urge to make up for lost time by immediately jumping back in head first. Both of you have changed and grown while apart. Take the time to get reacquainted.
3. Start your relationship fresh. Rather than a picking up where you left off, treat this as a new beginning. Don’t just fall back into the same routines. Make the commitment to know each other in different ways and on a deeper level than you did previously.
4. “It beats being alone” is not the correct answer. Don’t go back to a former lover because you dislike being alone. Learning to accept alone time after a breakup is one of the hardest, but most rewarding, challenges we face. Don’t sell yourself short by rushing to get back into the relationship because not being in one is painful. Make new friends. Take on a new hobby. Personal growth is a great side effect of a break up!
Do you have a question for Angela? E-mail NakedTruth@bocamag.com!
About Angela Lutin
On her popular blog, www.essentiallyangela.com, divorced single mom Angela Lutin dispenses musings on life, raising a teen, navigating the single scene, and tips to stay sexy regardless of your age or relationship status. A social media addict, she recently launched her new weekly Twitter conversation @essentiallyang—aptly titled #sexychat—that answers dating, sex-related topics and anything in between. Angela’s “Naked Truth” dating advice column appears weekly on Bocamag.com and also exclusively in Boca Raton magazine. Follow Angela on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/EssentiallyAngela or Twitter, https://twitter.com/essentiallyang.