Is he really

Dear Sherry:

I discovered that a woman has emailed my boyfriend of five months -- the message went something like this: "Hi, just wanted you to know I am moving, here is my new telephone number and a picture so you won't forget what I look like." He responded "What a sweetheart! ... blah blah blah ... when I get back from out of town, I'll give you call and come by and see your new place." BOY, was I shocked! He dated her for one month before he met me and dumped her cold for me. Never gave her an explanation, just ignored her until she went away. When I asked why he didn't just tell her the truth, he said he didn't want to hurt her because "she really, really liked me."

My question is: should I admit to seeing this email? Is it out of line for him to go visit her? I want to ask him if he's heard from her but not sure how to approach him. I am afraid he will lie about it. And since I happen to know the truth, THEN what will I do? I know that he would be most unhappy to discover me making plans to see an old boyfriend, but I doubt he will admit that there is anything wrong with his doing it. Should I accept this double standard? He says we'll get married soon, though I don't have a ring yet, and things have been a little strained of late because of his stress with work, but we do seem to love each other. I have a feeling that I can't trust him now. What to do?



Sherry Amatenstein

Sherry is the author of The Q&A Dating Book and Love Lessons from Bad Breakups. She has taught dating seminars, appeared as an expert... Read more

Dear Kimmie13:

What's good for the goose can get your gander cooked if you're not careful. Kimmie, consider the possibility that if your plans to see your old boyfriend are innocent, the same is true for him and his ex. Has he given you reasons to distrust him, or are you just feeling paranoid, especially since things seem a little strained lately?

Don't admit to reading his email (snoopers rarely prosper); do have a cleansing conversation. Start by asking whether anything is wrong or whether he feels the same as always towards you. If things are status quo on his part, say you love him as much as ever also. Then ask if it would bother him if you visited an old boyfriend. Assure him the visit would be purely innocent. Whatever his answer, you have a natural opening to ask if he's heard recently from so-and-so. If he lies, hello Houston, you've got a problem. Confess what you've done and see what he says. Much as he doesn't want to date a snooper, you don't want to date a liar.

Hopefully the results of all this emotional bloodletting will be the beginning of more honest, open, trusting communication between you and the man you love. If not, it's better to know before you get in even deeper that your boyfriend isn't the man you thought he was. (A cautionary note about this fellow: Any man who dumps one girlfriend by "ignoring her until she goes away" can use that same wimpy strategy on another one.)

Good luck, and keep your cybermitts off other people's email!

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