Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Don’t Trust My Sister’s Boyfriend”

I am a late 20s woman with a sister five years my junior. She and I are very close and really consider each other best friends as well as sisters. She and her boyfriend have been together since they were young teenagers. They stayed together, long distance, throughout their college years. After college she moved to the city where I live for graduate school, and he followed about six months later after he found a job here. They do not live together, as my sister wanted to be sure their relationship was solid enough in close proximity, since the majority of it had been long distance for so long. Things appear(ed) to be really great with them, and for the past year they have both seemingly been enjoying being together-together again.

About a month ago, however, she got very upset with him. While at his apartment without him she got on his computer to check facebook, and when she pressed “f” in the browser bar, the first thing that came up was flirt.com. It was logged on, and he had created a profile. There were messages in his inbox, which she did not read, but she went to the sent folder and saw that he had not sent any messages. She was furious, obviously, and called and confronted him about it immediately.

He told her that it was spam or some kind of virus. She didn’t believe him because of small details in the profile she had seen (for example, he only sometimes wears glasses, and that was indicated in the profile). She told him that, if he had created the profile, she would be extremely angry but it would be something they could deal with; however, if he was lying/not coming clean, it would make things ten times worse. He insisted that he had not created the profile. She asked me to have dinner that night with her, so she could tell me all of this, but by that point she was basically already on the verge of believing him.

I did some research on this site as soon as possible and found that it’s free for you to join and make a profile, but in order to interact you actually have to pay for a subscription. I believe that her boyfriend created a profile and was browsing, but that he never went so far as to pay for a subscription to be able to reply to the messages he received (since, as mentioned, she had noted that he had no outgoing messages). I did not bring this up to my sister because already the next day she told me very firmly, first thing, that she “had decided to believe him” because of how upset he was over the whole thing and because doing something like that “is just SO not like him, AT ALL.”

I was torn over whether to tell her my discoveries about the site then or not, but I held my tongue because of how upset she had been the night before. In retrospect, however, I wish I would have told her then. It’s also crossed my mind that my sister made the same discovery I did, but just wanted me to drop it because she was embarrassed or something…but that would be very out of character for her. I sometimes think that because of the length of their relationship from such a young age that my sister is naive about his potential faults. I have also known him a very long time, and he has always seemingly been very good to my sister.

The reasons I’m writing now are: 1) She made a little quip about it the other day in passing. She wasn’t upset about it, but the fact that she mentioned it at all made me think there are still some lingering doubts at the back of her mind; and, 2) in a totally different conversation that I didn’t connect till later, she mentioned that for the last several months (i.e., starting before all of this) he hasn’t been feeling good about himself, physically, because he’s gained some unwanted weight since living in this area (it does not bother her at all, and she has made that clear to him). This just made me worry that there are bigger issues going on there with him, and therefore within their relationship, that she is overlooking, and that she should maybe take some kind of action to figure out what the deal really is.

So, I’m writing because I can’t figure out if I should bring this up again with my sister, now that it’s been swept under the rug. I’m afraid that I’ve done her serious wrong by trying to spare her feelings about my suspicions, but I wouldn’t want me not saying anything to end up causing more harm down the road. At the same time, I am just not sure if it is my place at all to intervene in any way. I’ve considered everything from just blurting it out to her, to going around her and telling her boyfriend that I suspect that he’s full of shit and should come clean on his own while he can. Please help! — Overprotective Sister


It’s not your place to intervene. This isn’t your relationship, and considering that your sister was wise and cautious enough to not move in with her boyfriend of many years until she was sure the relationship was ready for that, I’d assume she has the emotional maturity to handle issues with her boyfriend on her own, without the guiding help of her older sister. And even if she weren’t mature enough, it still isn’t your place to intervene.

The fact is, you aren’t privy to information that your sister isn’t aware of herself or able to find on her own. It’s not like you KNOW anything. You only have your suspicions. And, frankly, there’s a very good chance your sister has her suspicions, too, and has either decided to sweep them under the rug, file them away for future reference, or deny them altogether. Regardless, it isn’t your business. Unless your sister flat-out asks what your opinion is — and even then I wouldn’t necessarily advise spilling it completely – keep your mouth shut and your mind on your own matters.

I know it hurts watching people we care about making choices we might feel aren’t in their best interest. But unless they are in danger, it is better for us to retain a close relationship than risk alienating ourselves with well-intentioned but ill-received and perhaps unwanted “advice.”

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

106 comments… add one
  • JK

    JK January 7, 2013, 9:07 am

    WWS.
    I´m also wondering, how can LWs sister know this is “so out of character” for her BF after so long in an LDR? I mean of course if a guy wants to hide stuff from his SO he can do it even if they live together, but surely it´s easier in an LDR. So maybe the guy has been doing this kind of stuff for a while. Or (best case scenario) he heard about the site and decided to go on just for a laugh? I mean that´s still not OK, but preferable.
    But yeah LW try and stay out of it, and forget about it, as much as possible.

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    • theattack

      theattack January 7, 2013, 10:06 am

      It’s definitely easier to hide things in an LDR, but distance doesn’t prevent couples from knowing each other well, especially after so long together. If you can’t know what is or isn’t typical of your long distance SO, then your relationship is kind of useless, isn’t it?

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      • JK

        JK January 7, 2013, 10:11 am

        Yeah I didnt express myself well. And at 1st I took the online thing as being the out of character, thinking more about it I realized she probably meant the lying.

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  • avatar

    Amanda January 7, 2013, 9:07 am

    LW, I want to say this as kindly as possible, but please mind your own business. Your sister probably should not have told you about intimate details of her relationship, but clearly wants to move on from this incident.

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  • avatar

    bethany January 7, 2013, 9:22 am

    I don’t even need to finish reading your letter– Mind Your Own Business.
    It would be one thing if all 3 of your shared a home or something, which would make you directly involved in their daily lives, but you’re not. Your sister is a grown up- she was presented with the evidence. What she does with it is her business.
    You don’t need to ever like or trust this guy, but you have to respect what 2 grown ups choose to do with their lives.

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  • katie

    katie January 7, 2013, 9:25 am

    well, first off, i dont understand what the big deal was about telling her this *super-secret* info you know in the first place. you figured out how the website works- thats not exactly top secret stuff, you know? how did keeping it from her “spare her feelings” at all? yes, i would say, you should have told her this when she was going through the issue. that would be a very normal part of the conversation- “i am so worried.” “well, after you told me this on the phone, i went to the website, and i found out that you can just sign up, but you have to pay to talk back and forth with people… thats all i could figure out, though”. i just dont see how that would be devastating to her. that is pretty impartial information that is emotionless. its not a judgement, its just a fact of how something is run.

    so, yes, WWS, mind your own business. this is her relationship, not yours. there is a clear and defined difference between support and meddling- be the support she needs, but not a meddling family member. and in the future, if you are having a conversation with someone where you know something about the subject they might not know.. just tell them.

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    • theattack

      theattack January 7, 2013, 10:08 am

      I thought I had missed something because the LW’s “information” was so… just not information. I don’t know why she thinks she knows anything. She’s crazy if she thinks her sister hasn’t gone to the site herself anyway, and she really does not know anything more than someone who hasn’t been to the site. So confused.

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    • avatar

      Rachel January 7, 2013, 10:23 am

      Agreed. If she had brought it up at the time, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. If she brought it up now though, it would clearly be saying “I cant’ drop this, I don’t trust him, even though you do”, which is not her place at all.

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    • FireStar

      FireStar January 7, 2013, 10:24 am

      Completely agree. And I’d bet money the sister already knows exactly how that site works.

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  • avatar

    artsygirl January 7, 2013, 9:28 am

    LW – Don’t disregard your sister’s instincts because she has been in a relationship for so many years. I married my high school sweetheart after 10 years together and trust me, I was completely aware of his short comings, quirks, etc. We were well past the honeymoon stage of our relationship and blind passion was not distorting our views of each other.

    Now while your sister’s BF’s behavior was shady, there could be some explanations for it – not excuses but explanations. After all, he just located to a new city, started a new job, and he gained weight so is uncomfortable with his physical appearance. Your sister has you as a local support system but he probably has not yet established deep connections with anyone since he is new to town. If I were you, I would hold my tongue but keep an eye out for any other red flags.

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  • avatar

    ktfran January 7, 2013, 9:32 am

    I’m on the WWS said train.

    The thing is, sometimes close friends or family members or even people I’ve dated really piss me off. Or hurt me. Or upset me. You know what I do when that happens? I vent to either my best friend or my sister or my mom. I need an outlet. I usually just want this person to listen and let me freak out for a few moments. Sometimes they might throw in what a jerk move or something, but they understand I still care about this person, otherwise I wouldn’t have them in my life.

    It’s a fine line to walk with loved ones, but you have to let them come to conclusions on their own. If you say something to your sister, you risk her not coming to you in the future.

    So, WWS.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 12:16 pm

      but you have to let them come to conclusions on their own. If you say something to your sister, you risk her not coming to you in the future

      Really important point!

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  • Miss MJ

    MISS MJ January 7, 2013, 9:35 am

    I agree with Wendy. It’s a bit of a shady situation, but it’s not the LW’s situation, so she should mind her own business. I’m sure her sister can figure out how the website works if she wants to, and I’m sure her sister can figure out that a profile that matches up with details of her boyfriend’s life isn’t random spam. Yeah, it sounds like this is bad news, and, yeah, it probably won’t end well, but that’s the sister’s business, not the LW’s. Maybe the sister and the BF talked it out. Maybe the sister is ignoring glaring red flags. Maybe the sister is trying to sort things out, is scared of letting go of a long-term relationship over something that is in the gray area of cheating for some people and doesn’t want to talk about it with anyone else while she mulls it over. Regardless, the LW should drop it and just be there for her sister, no matter what happens with the BF. The last thing the LW should do is bring the issue up again. But if her sister asks her about it again, then I’d disagree with Wendy a bit and say the LW should be completely honest about how she feels. But only if asked. Otherwise, she’s just going to alieniate her sister at a time when her sister will need someone in her corner.

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  • avatar

    mochamadness January 7, 2013, 9:43 am

    I know how it feels to have people you love in relationships where it’s obvious the guy/girl isn’t good to them. It definitely hurts to watch, but unfortunately, they have to figure it out themselves. I’ve been on the other side of this as well. If you try to bring it up to her and she isn’t ready to hear it, she will reject everything you’re saying and defend him. This can cause a setback, too, if she was already on the verge of breaking it off. That said, you don’t have to pretend love the guy, just be nice and let her do her thing.

    I am curious, though. Is the website the only thing that makes you distrust him? Has he blatantly lied about anything else?

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  • FireStar

    FireStar January 7, 2013, 10:09 am

    I’m with Katie – I don’t see the point of telling. If you knew your sister’s boyfriend was cheating then that would be one thing. But all you know is how the website works and if your sister already looked at the site when she was upset about what she found, I’d be surprised if she didn’t already know that information herself. I think it would have been natural to say what you knew at the time but it is too late now since she has already told you what she has decided to do. She doesn’t sound like she is being wilfully blind – it sounds like something happened to upset her and she addressed it with the boyfriend and she decided to move on from it. So take the pressure off yourself. You don’t have game changing information.

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  • SixtyFour

    SixtyFour January 7, 2013, 10:13 am

    This letter reminds me of something I’ve been thinking about lately – how much information do ya’ll tell your families or close friends about problems in your relationship?
    I want to be able to talk to my mom and sister about things that are bothering me or weighing on my mind, but then I feel like all they end up hearing are the bad parts about the guys I’m seeing and start thinking that he’s not the one for me without ever really knowing him or all the good parts of the relationship.

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      bethany January 7, 2013, 10:24 am

      I usually only vent to my girlfriends/mom about little things my husband does that annoy me… And usually things that are “typical male” behaviors, like throwing his boxers next to the hamper instead of in it, or something like the other day when I walked into the kitchen to see the silverware drawer open, and a container of sour cream open, sitting on the counter, no husband in sight!

      Luckily, we haven’t really had many serious issues in our relationship, but I think if we were having problems I’d be selective in who I told, and how much I’d tell them. I wouldn’t want my interpretation of a situation or problem to taint their image of him.

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      • JK

        JK January 7, 2013, 10:29 am

        Yes! When Arturo and I were dating I did vent quite a bit to friends, now I don´t really at all.
        Some friends of ours went through a marital crisis halfway through last year (I actyually posted about it), and the guy told all the intimate details to EVERYONE (seriously everyone), and it is SUCH and awkward place to be put in! Arturo and I have been close friends with this couple for years, the guy is As business partner, and since then we´ve dialed way back on the friendship because it´s such a horrible situation to be in (apparently all is well now). I don´t even want to imagine what mere acquaintances thought of being dragged into the marital drama. It was so fucked up that the wife was talking to her ILs about her husband (their son) cheating on her! SInce then A and I have agreed that if we ever go through a crisis like that we´re going to keep it to ourselves until it´s resolved one way or another.

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        Beth January 7, 2013, 11:14 am

        I find it really awkward when people go all in on their relationship issues. I have a friend who will repeatedly do that, in front of her husband. Being at their home, and her asking him “Do you actually love me?,” Has caused me to refrain from spending lots of time with them.

        Personally, I am a private person.In August a relationship I was in ended, and when asked about it, I told people minimal details, because it was no one else’s business. Well, I found out that my ex told everyone everything- and some of it was quite personal and sensitive material. It was really painful.

        So basically, LW- I would keep the info to yourself. Your sister seems educated and if she knows how to use a computer, probably went on the site already. If she asks you about it directly, including wanting your opinion, it might be a good spot, but forcing her to see an issue that isn’t there will only alienate her.

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      ktfran January 7, 2013, 10:26 am

      That’s why I love my therapist. I don’t really need one, but it’s great having someone to talk to who now knows me and who is a third party. It’s just something I don’t want to give up.

      But honestly, I think your mom and sister know you well enough that you can talk to them about anything and they won’t think the person you’re seeing is a complete a hole. Just remember to tell them the good stuff too!

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      • SixtyFour

        SixtyFour January 7, 2013, 10:35 am

        That’s a point about a therapist. I saw one for a while last year after a big break-up, but stopped seeing her after we had worked through the majority of the issues that led me there. Maybe it would be a good idea to see one when I’m not in crisis-mode and I’d really be able to work through normal issues and think clearly.
        And yeah, I definitely don’t think my mom or sister are questioning my judgement or think the guys I’m seeing are assholes, but they just haven’t been shy with their opinions that “maybe this guy is not the one for you.” There’s only ever been one guy they really liked for me – my high school boyfriend. But he and I broke up after high school instead of doing the long distance thing through college. So maybe it’s really just that I haven’t met anyone that they also think could have been “the one” yet.

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        ktfran January 7, 2013, 11:08 am

        I started seeing one when I was going through major life changes, wasn’t being supported, and having trouble figuring things out on my own. Now, it’s more maintenance and to get things off my chest. I always feel better after seeing her and I’ve been able to work on myself. I feel very zen about life in general, and I attribute that mostly to my therapist. I use to be such a worrier and over analyzer. Now, I let things go and realize when I feel slighted, it’s most likey nothing to do with me.

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    • katie

      katie January 7, 2013, 10:33 am

      i think it depends on the people you are telling this to… like, my one friend- she had this stupid relationship with this guy who treated her pretty badly.. when we talked about it, i would try to show her how he was manipulating her, being a dick, ect. but, now, after a break/break up/something, they have gotten back together and my friend says that they have addressed the issues and the relationship is much better. i told her that i was happy for her and that if he really has changed, thats great. of course i will support her, but to be on the lookout for manipulation (he seemed to do a lot of it). and thats it- they have been going for quite a while now, and its great.

      so i feel like as the other person being told this information, you kind of have to go off of the emotions of the friend. are they just venting? are they trying to get through a serious problem? what is the end game? and then you, as the person with the relationship issue, have to be aware of how they will treat the problem. will they see venting as a serious relationship problem? are they meddlesome about things? will they not be able to move past issues the same way you can (like in my example above- if they move on, their friends and family need to move on too)? i think just being aware of people and how they will treat the situation is a good way to figure out how much info to give certain people.

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    • avatar

      GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 10:59 am

      I try not to talk “bad” about my fiance to anyone- my mom or my friends. Sometimes I slip up but usually if someting is bothering me I go to him.

      It really drives me nuts when I hear people say rude/bad things about their significant other to friends or coworkers. And I hate it when people say things like “well if my wife doesn’t divorce me!” Ugh, if you really think it might upset your partner that bad you should probably go talk to them and I don’t think it’s funny to joke about divorce if that’s the case.

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        kerrycontrary January 7, 2013, 11:13 am

        When people insult their spouse/SO (like a serious insult, not a minor “he didn’t do the dishes last night”) I want to ask “then why are you with them?” It’s like so many people are spending their lives with people they don’t even like. But whatever, to each his own.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 11:24 am

        I agree. I have this coworker who constantly refers to his wife as a ball and chain and complains about how she won’t let him do anything. I want to be like “either stand up for your self, leave or shut up!” but I’m too polite for that.

        And a few other ladies I know are constantly like “you don’t need to eat those chips” and “you don’t need another beer” to their husbands. I want to scream at them “He’s a grown man!! He can feed himself!!” but I don’t.

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        kerrycontrary January 7, 2013, 11:40 am

        omg the eating comments would drive me nuts. Can you imagine if a man said to his wife “you don’t need another piece of cake”. That’s so rude! My one friend still remembers when my college boyfriend didn’t let me have some tastycakes (like Hostess, but made in PA). It was like everyone could sense that he wanted me to watch my weight (even though I have never been considered overweight, was underweight for most of my life). I would flip out if my boyfriend said something like that to me.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 11:57 am

        Oh Tastycakes. I’m from PA so I know of their deliciousness. They are starting to show up all the way down in FL (Herr’s chips are too, which makes me jump for joy.)

        And yeah- it seems ot be like a gender double standard or something. It’s “ok” for women to their male partner to cut down on the food/drink but not okay for men to tell their female partner too. Blah. It all drives me nuts and I purposely never say anything to my fiance when we’re out in public (unless it’s like another beer and he’ll barf kind of thing) but I do politely say things to him at home. Like maybe remeber to pause and breathe before getting seconds!

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      • JK

        JK January 7, 2013, 12:03 pm

        So your fiance stops being a grown man that can feed himself at home??? Sorry, I just donpt get the appearances thing in public, but doing whatever at home (even if it is politely)

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 12:13 pm

        No. He is still a grown man and it’s not keeping up appearances. He will admit he is bad with portion control and stoping eating when full. I am already pretty good at both of those things, so I try to nicely at home in private help him work on that. But it is something we’ve decided to have open lines of communication about at home but not something I think I need to call him out on in public.

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        Eagle Eye January 7, 2013, 12:33 pm

        Heh, I’ve been known, in the privacy of our own home to remind my bf to slow down, I mean, he weighs like 3lbs but he eats so fast that I’ve started scarfing down my food because he’s sorta become my frame of reference.

        Then, all of a sudden, I’ve eaten more than I ever intended and he’s still hungry, if we were both eating slower I would hopefully watch myself better and he could eat whatever is left over…

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 12:35 pm

        Yea, I think there’s a big difference bw saying hey fatass, stop eating and just not wanting someone to throw up from eating too fast.

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        bethany January 7, 2013, 1:28 pm

        I say things to my husband at home too- He’s got a very large sweet tooth, and is actively trying to stop eating so much sugar… So when he east 5 cookies (his mom made about a billion for Christmas), I’ll remind him that he was the one who was trying to cut back on sugar, and maybe eating the cookies isn’t the best way to go about that.

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        lemongrass January 7, 2013, 11:56 am

        I’m guilty of the drink one. Not because I don’t want my husband to get drunk because I’m sure as hell guilty of that one! But because he never ever ever wants to leave his friends, they are all like that. The wives will be falling asleep on the couch while the guys keep talking or we’ll be late for dinner with my parents and it’s like tearing new lovers away. I’ve taken to giving him a pre-agreed time to leave and then 15, 10 and 5 min warnings and then leaving 10 mins late. So, yeah, I tell him that no, he doesn’t need another beer because we have to go. Seriously, if the guys had it their way we would all live together in a giant fun house with beer holders.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 12:02 pm

        I think that’s kind of different though. It’s more about time then consuming the beer, right? I agree with keeping your spouse accountable to pre-agreed upon departure times etc is okay but being their mom and nagging them about when they consume drives me nuts.

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        lemongrass January 7, 2013, 12:08 pm

        Really? Because I’ve definitely nagged him to chug it or pushed the bottle up to his lips. I “remind” my husband of things all the time though. I don’t enjoy it but he needs a fire under his ass. He even tells me that he LIKES it when I nag him because then he remembers things and is more productive.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 12:15 pm

        I think we’re saying the same thing differently. Bottom line is if you have a pre-agreed upon time to leave (or # of drinks or anything arbitrary) your partner/spouse should stick to it. And if they don’t it’s totally fine to remind (or nag if you want) them.

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 12:27 pm

        I’m in the not sharing boat, but its so funny you mention the beer thing. Its one of many things I realize I can be hypocritical about. I’m doing this biggest loser thing so I’m trying to get my SO to join in or at least be healthier (we’ve both put on some pounds and haven’t been eating well). He was having a few beers Saturday and I gave him grief about it and man he turned it on me quick…’imagine if I told got on your case last night when you had a glass of wine, you would’ve been so annoyed.’ And he was right. There have been a few times that I realize if he said what I said, I’d be furious.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 1:05 pm

        I’m sort of slipping into a bad habit with the food comments. My fiance used to be very athletic, built, and very in-shape. He really wants to get back to where he was in college when he could just lift weights and run whenever he wanted, but his desk job doesn’t really allow that. We made an agreement that I would try to have us eat healthier, and he would try to keep us exercising. We’re struggling with it big time. I try to make healthier foods, but he ruins it by eating twice the amount he should or eating three ice cream sandwiches for dessert. It’s so hard not to say something when he eats so much that it makes him sick for the rest of the night and then he gets down on himself about how much weight he’s gained. Like, don’t you see the connection? Maybe keep it down to three ice cream sandwiches over the course of a week at least! And although it’s “my responsibility” to keep us eating healthy, I don’t want to hurt his feelings by calling him out on his habits, and he is sensitive about me saying things about it. It’s like he has no concept of portion control, and he thinks he’s still an 18 year old bottomless pit. I’m trying to watch my comments, but I don’t know if it’s better for him to feel bad about himself when he gains more weight or to feel bad when I point out what he shouldn’t be eating.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 1:09 pm

        I think our fiance’s might be twins too! Mine does the exact same thing!

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 1:17 pm

        How do you manage to not say anything about it? I’ve thought about fixing both of our plates instead of spreading out all the food on the table, but that’s way too controlling and helicopter-ish. I am seriously considering purchasing some portion control plates though.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 1:26 pm

        Yeah. It’s a lose – lose situation. You don’t say something when he eats an entire bag of chips in one sitting but then two days later when the “ugh my clothes don’t fit! I’m so fat! I hate this!” breakdown happens you 1- have to listen to it and 2- they even get even more pissed when you point out it’s because they ate the whole bag of chips!

        We make our plates in the kitchen. I usually make up both plates with him right there. I try to give us similar portions of the sides then more of the meat for him (like I’ll have half of a chicken breast and he’ll have a whole). And we’re trying to wait 15 minutes before getting seconds of anything to see if our natural “full” trigger kicks in.

        The worst thing for him is snacking. I think we’re to the point where junk food is just not going to come into the house. We actually had a squabble yesterday because he keeps asking me to put “healthy snacks” on the grocery list. So I put, litterally, “healthy snacks” on the list. When we were standing in the produce section I asked him to pick out some fruit for snacks and he was like but I don’t want it, nothing looks good, blah blah blah. So I got super annoyed since he asks for healthy snacks all the time!

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 1:46 pm

        I actually like being reminded of things like that. I’ll eat in bed at 11 and then have a terrible stomach ache in the morning and be pissed at myself for eating so late. There have been a few times where I’ll get a reminder that I’ll regret it and it stops me.

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        Eagle Eye January 7, 2013, 1:51 pm

        So, I’ve actually just developed rules about what can and cannot come into the house, more for me than for him (again, he weighs 3lbs) and items that I simply won’t cook with (see bacon). I will allow myself to order them at a restaurant as a treat but I can’t have a whole package in the house begging to be eaten/ cooked with.

        For healthy snacks, we keep our fridge full of apples, pears, buy clementines by the box load but we also keep our pantry stocked with almonds and other fun nuts and make sure that we also have small stock of cookies on hand. Cookies, however, are expensive, so we can’t just scarf them down.

        My bigger issue is how to cook for someone who literally disintegrates during the Winter because he weighs nothing while I weigh at least slightly more than nothing and don’t want to be eating such high calorie meals all the time…

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 1:52 pm

        Fun nuts?
        Someones a little excited about healthy eating, huh?

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 1:57 pm

        hehe. fun nuts.

        I think we’re at that point. That chips/candies/most cookies just don’t come in the house. But we get really cranky when we can’t have our vices. It’s hard to fill him up with just fruit etc as we’re both carb-o-holics.

        And we gave up drinking this month so I worry taking away chips would cause a complete melt down.

        Sorry LW for the thread jack.

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        Eagle Eye January 7, 2013, 2:20 pm

        fun nuts – because I’ve been writing waaaay too many cover letters and my personal editing whatever is officially no longer working! 🙂

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 2:38 pm

        Where do you buy your fun nuts? The like Planters mixes at the grocery store always seem SO expensive.

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      • avatar

        Eagle Eye January 7, 2013, 2:45 pm

        They are expensive, so, it makes it seem more like a treat. Usually I just buy them in the bulk section of whole foods, although they just opened a new nut roasting place near my house.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 7, 2013, 1:33 pm

        I actually don’t think there is anything wrong with preparing plates in the kitchen then setting them on the table. I live by myself, and that’s what I do. I don’t get up for seconds then. It really does help!

        Or, maybe you can both dish your plates in the kitchen then take them to the table. Again, he might have a little bit bigger portion than what he should, but would less likely eat seconds.

        Also, 9″ plates are awesome for portion control.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 2:36 pm

        I bought some 9″ Blue Willow plates, and I thought it would help. It did help me, but it definitely just made it worse for him. Instead of him limiting his portions, he just thinks of a small plate as reason to get a whole second plate as seconds. And honestly, the expense that comes with that is pretty big too. I’ll cook enough for two or three nights so we can do leftovers, and he eats so much with that second plate full now that it just doesn’t work.

        Good idea about fixing the plates in the kitchen though. I hadn’t considered that he could still make his plate in the kitchen and keep it smaller than making his plate on the table. I figured I had to be the one to do it, and I didn’t want to take that away from him. You’re totally right though.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary January 7, 2013, 11:11 am

      I only talk about “typical male behaviors” when complaining (not even real complaining, just girl talk) to my mom or sister, but my SO and I agreed that we wouldn’t speak badly about each other. We have some friends that just clearly dislike their SOs/spouses, and we both find the behavior disgusting. I have no problem with him complaining about minor things, but major complaints are addressed directly with each other. The only time we went through a rough spot, 2-3 of our friends knew about it, but its something we couldn’t have gotten through without their support. I think we like to keep things pretty private, but I’m also slow to open up to people.

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      Lindsay January 7, 2013, 11:31 am

      I used to tell my friends a lot more, and then I grew up/realized that they aren’t as objective as I thought they’d be. I told a couple of my friends one slightly arrogant comment a guy I was seeing said, and they decided he was a “tool.” They even brought it up to me months later when I told them that he and I were getting more serious. I still tell funny stories, though, like when my boyfriend took me to a fancy restaurant and then immediately tripped on the rug by the front door.

      As for situations like the LW’s sister, I can see talking to a close friend about something that you’re not quite sure how to deal with. I mean, I don’t think you should advertise your relationships issues to anyone who’ll listen, but sometimes getting another opinion can help you cool off instead of exploding at your SO.

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        kerrycontrary January 7, 2013, 11:41 am

        yeh, I think I started to realize how gossipy people are. And they don’t think it’s bad because you didn’t say it’s a secret, but really they should know better. I have a one friend that I can’t tell anything personal too because I know she’ll tell her mom and all of her friends. Even if its not secretive, I don’t need everyone knowing my business.

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      lemongrass January 7, 2013, 12:00 pm

      Minor complaints. I do talk to my mom about things that weigh on my mind. She’s really objective though. We don’t really have any major issues and frankly nobody takes me seriously when I whine anyways because my husband is so awesome. In fact, according to my family I am the “bad guy” in the relationship and my husband is too good to me.

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    • avatar

      SweetPeaG January 7, 2013, 12:21 pm

      I never ever complain to my Mom about that stuff! I have learned that lesson. She will only worry herself silly or start thinking poorly of my significant other. But, I think this is on a Mom-by- Mom basis. I think some Moms can think more objectively. I know that mine can’t… she is super protective over me.

      My sister, on the other hand, I probably would share limited negative stuff with, depending on the situation. I think she could give me advice without going overboard as she is pretty logical. However, she is a super busy Mom, so she isn’t usually the one I turn to.

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    • avatar

      va-in-ny January 7, 2013, 12:31 pm

      The age-old advice I heard was should you need to vent to someone, you should only talk about problems with your significant other with THEIR family/friends. That way, you never run the risk of turning your own family and friends against them.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay January 7, 2013, 10:13 am

    Dear lord. After some of these recent letters, I’m starting to be glad to be an only child.

    LW, it’s time to MYOB. You talk about your “discoveries.” Those aren’t discoveries. Besides what Wendy was saying about the information being accessible to anyone, it’s honestly stuff that you could probably assume about many dating sites, and I don’t really see what it proves anyway.

    I get that you think that if your sister had the information that you have, she’d make a different choice, but I don’t think that’s the case. She has plenty of reason already to not believe her boyfriend, but she’s willing to do it anyway. And those comments that you give as “signs,” well, of course, she has doubts! She may have decided to believe him, but it’s not a surprise that she may have lingering resentment over it.

    I’m not trying to read too much into this (well, maybe I am), but you emphasize at the beginning that your sister is five years younger and your best friend. Neither of those are reasons that you should be this involved in her life. Sure, she wants to tell you about it, but it’s not your place to tell her what decisions to make or feel that you’re responsible if she doesn’t do the right thing.

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  • iwannatalktosampson

    iwannatalktosampson January 7, 2013, 10:35 am

    Yeah I guess I’m missing what the big deal is. It sounds like they are still establishing boundaries in their relationship – which tends to be an ongoing process. You never meet someone – decided to date exclusively – and then hand then a typed up sheet up rules. You learn what’s okay as things arise. Now he knows it’s not okay to read flirty messages even if he isn’t sending them. Problem over. You said yourself she doesn’t have trouble sticking up for yourself.

    Drama creators often want to hide behind the veil of being protective. Don’t try to create problems where they don’t exist. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop for 5 paragraphs and it just didn’t. Calm down.

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      GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 10:46 am

      I agree. Going from long distance to short distance and going from a college aged relationship to an adult relationship is a lot of transition. Boundaries need to be reworked, different rules need to be figured out, a transition needs to happen. It sounds like they are only a year (maybe a year and a half) out from graduation. They are still figuring this new phase of their relationship out. Give them a break and mind your own business.

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    • CatsMeow

      CatsMeow January 7, 2013, 11:13 am

      “I was waiting for the other shoe to drop for 5 paragraphs and it just didn’t. Calm down.”

      Haha, me too. What is this urgent information she is in turmoil over? I don’t get it. Does she just want to let her sister know that she is officially “suspicious”? What’s the point of that?

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    • avatar

      rachel January 7, 2013, 11:18 am

      Yes. I mean, I assume that he did make a profile on the site, and lied about it because he didn’t realize it would be such a big deal. Now that he knows where she stands on the issue, hopefully it won’t be a problem again. It’s up to the sister to judge that they’re on the same page, not the LW.

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  • LK7889

    LK7889 January 7, 2013, 10:44 am

    Ahh, another sibling letter! What is it about being an older sibling that makes you want to interfere with your sibling’s life? (This is coming from an older sister that is only recently learning to let her younger brother make his own decisions, btw).

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      lemongrass January 7, 2013, 12:05 pm

      Are you my sister in law? Just kidding, she’s not learning that. Despite it not getting her anywhere.

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  • avatar

    John Rohan January 7, 2013, 11:33 am

    So many sites automatically link to Facebook these days to start creating your profile, I wonder if that was the case here? That’s given me a few surprises in the past.

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    • avatar

      bethany January 7, 2013, 12:07 pm

      I HATE it when websites try to get you to link up through facebook. HATE IT.

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  • avatar

    lemongrass January 7, 2013, 11:45 am

    You have to take your cues from other people how much you should share your opinions about their relationship. Don’t just blurt out that you think they are in a bad relationship, you shouldn’t trust them, blah blah blah. Sure, there are LOTS of bad relationships out there but unless you are in the relationship then you really don’t know what the hell is going on.

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  • avatar

    lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 12:08 pm

    This really doesn’t sound all that bad. At absolute worst, he was curious and made a profile that he didn’t actually put to use.
    I get wishing you could control other people, especially little sisters!!, but according to everyone on here, I’m not allowed to and neither are you 🙂

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG January 7, 2013, 12:09 pm

    I absolutely understand your instincts here. You want to prevent further heartache for your sister.

    But, I agree with Wendy… it isn’t your place. I have been in your sister’s shoes. When I was dating someone who was completely untrustworthy, my sister and brother-in-law tried to warn me about some things they saw. The thing is, I already knew (deep down) what an ass my boyfriend was. I didn’t need anyone to tell me. And my sister and brother-in-law trying to intervene only embarrassed the hell out of me and made me angry. I bucked against everything they told me. Granted, I still think my brother-in-law can be nosey and gossipy… but I know my sister only meant well. It didn’t change my reaction. It took me coming to my own conclusions, finding my own courage, and working through it on my own before I took the steps to leave him.

    Just be there for your sister if things do fall apart. She will appreciate your shoulder to lean on much more than any “I told you so’s”.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle January 7, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Boarding the WWS train— this definitely isn’t your place to interfere. And stop kicking yourself over not “revealing” some easy-to-discern, not-very-crucial information. Your sister is, what, around 22 (I’m guessing)? It sounds like her decision to move on & trust the boyfriend was well thought-out, & not just based in some “I take him at his word no matter what, because <3 LOVE <3" naivety. Now it's time for YOU to decide to trust your sister.

    As far as the other discussion going on above (how much/how little to tell friends & family about your relationship problems): I've learned to keep my mom out of the loop on some things, because of her tendency to bring them up later/remember them as strikes against my loving S/O. But I don't hold back with my friends—sometimes I need to vent.

    However, I am VERY diplomatic about it. No name calling, I keep my anger out of it & try to relay facts-only, & I also include whether or not *I* was particularly horrible during whatever spat I'm complaining about. Friends are there to give support, so if you have supportive friends who understand that relationships aren't always sunshine & rainbows,then I don't see why talking about the bad things is necessarily…a bad thing.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark January 7, 2013, 12:59 pm

    This really, truly is none of your concern… Stop reveling in all the drama, LW. I get that it was fun to play Nancy Drew — but you have no more role to play in this affair. Exit stage left, please.

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  • avatar

    Amber January 7, 2013, 1:19 pm

    I AM SO SICK OF HEARING ABOUT THE ONLINE CHEATING.

    Is no one faithful anymore??

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    • bittergaymark

      bittergaymark January 7, 2013, 1:44 pm

      Eh, and I am so sick of people thinking that flirting online with somebody is cheating. Grow the fuck up, ladies. Far too many of you out there view dating and real world relationships with about as much wisdom and depth as a seven year old.

      Seriously.

      Emotional cheating? Please. It’s just another tired excuse to complain and bitch, I swear… Life isn’t some great fairytale. The sooner some of you realize that, the sooner you’ll actually get your happily ever after ending. Why? Because you will stop making yourselves miserable over things you can’t — and frankly, shouldn’t control…

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 1:48 pm

        I don’t if I’d define flirting online as cheating, but I’d be pretty pissed off if I found out my bf was flirting with strangers online. Wouldn’t anyone be pissed by this?

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 1:53 pm

        I don’t define online flirting as “cheating” but I would be pissed if I found out my fiance was doing. It’s more so a breech of trust. (And yes we’ve talked about it before so my disapproval would not be a surprise.)

        I do think emotion affairs are a real thing though. There are many different sides to a relationship (emotional, sexual, friendship, etc) and I beleive you can break the trust in any of those “categories”.

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 1:55 pm

        The emotional cheating thing is strange to me for one reason-if I was doing the same thing that labeled me an emotional cheater, but doing it with a woman, we’d be called friends. So I think its a strange line to draw.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 7, 2013, 2:03 pm

        EXACTLY!!!

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 2:07 pm

        To me, it would be an emotional affair when you start disengaging from your spouse/partner and putting your emotional connection/relationship with your friend above your emotional connection/relationship with your spouse.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Yeah, I can sorta understand that. I think it’s one of those “every relationship is different” things.

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        Amber January 7, 2013, 2:09 pm

        As soon as you start feeling the need to hide your behaviour from your SO, there’s the line.

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 2:12 pm

        good call.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 7, 2013, 2:17 pm

        Unless your SO is some batshit crazy psycho who VIEWS each and every interaction with somebody else as a threat…

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 2:19 pm

        Well you got bigger problems that emotional cheating then, if you ask me.

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      • becboo84

        BecBoo84 January 7, 2013, 2:32 pm

        Then there’s something called a break up…

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 2:58 pm

        There is a middle ground. It doesn’t have to be one extreme or the other, and it’s usually not.

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        Amber January 7, 2013, 3:43 pm

        I am speaking in general terms – most people aren’t “batshit crazy psycho”.

        obviously if your SO IS “batshit crazy psycho”, it would be best to end the relationship.

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      • FireStar

        FireStar January 7, 2013, 2:10 pm

        I think there is an aspect of romance or attraction in an emotional affair. You just haven’t acted physically…yet. It is more than friendship. There is an intimacy that usually you just have with a partner.

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        Lindsay January 7, 2013, 2:38 pm

        Well, I think that emotional cheating often involves some sort of physical attraction between the parties, even if they don’t act on it. And a person can easily consider themselves to have fallen in love with someone they haven’t slept with yet. Maybe “cheating” isn’t the best word, but I think forming an intimate relationship with someone you’re attracted to who isn’t your SO is still a problem.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 2:43 pm

        I’ve done my fair share of emotional cheating before, and believe me, it’s real! You can have a full blown emotional relationship with someone without it being physical. Having romantic feelings, thinking of them instead of your partner (on the regular, I mean, not occasionally), professing yoru feelings, etc.

        BGM, Try to tell me truthfully that you would not be upset if you found out your partner told another guy who he had feelings for that he loved him. Not in a friendly way. He is professing his love for someone else romantically. How is that not cheating?

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 2:44 pm

        Why wouldn’t you just split up with your boyfriend though if you were pining for someone else?

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 2:45 pm

        I guess the same question could be asked for regular cheating. lol

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 2:48 pm

        haha, I didn’t say it was smart! I’m just saying it’s cheating. I was a teenager though, and I was REALLY shitty to my boyfriends back then.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Excatly. I’ve done it and had it done to me. It’s the real deal.

        And, it’s was only emotional cheating because I had a shread of self control and didn’t cross the physical line.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 2:57 pm

        Exactly! The shred of self control. It feels like getting physical takes things too far, which is incredibly stupid looking back. I don’t know if I could handle it if my fiance cheated on me, but I think I could handle physical cheating better than emotional cheating. To me it’s much easier to understand someone getting carried away by their sexual desires because they have no self control than it is to understand someone making calculated decisions to sneak around and care for someone else while they’re with you.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 7, 2013, 3:01 pm

        First, your definition of emotional cheating is much clearer than most. Here, for instance, the LW considers the vaguest of actions to be rather damning…

        Eh, honestly, theattack? I don’t think two men would ever even get to that point without sex. And truth be told, I am NOT a huge believer in monogamy. Period. Frankly, at age 42 I knew precious few people (gay or straight) for who it’s worked out for. And that’s the truth… Monogamy is an unnatural construct that dooms a vast majority of relationships. The people who seem the happiest in their relationships have all, curiously, on occasion and with permission… strayed.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 3:10 pm

        I do agree that some people can go too far with claiming emotional betrayals, but that doesn’t totally rule out the legitimacy of emotional affairs. They are very real things.

        We’ve definitely had this monogamy conversation before. I know you don’t believe in monogamy, but most Americans do. Whether or not monogamy is natural or healthy is definitely a factor in why people cheat, but it’s not a factor in how a person feels when their partner breaks a promise to them. If someone makes a promise, they’re expected to keep it. Breaking it is wrong. If you dont’ want to love only one person, then you shouldn’t say that you will. That’s where monogamy comes in.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark January 7, 2013, 3:14 pm

        Most people TRY and FAIL at monogamy simply because its what society demands and expects of them… How is that working out for society? Divorce is at an all time high. I rest my case.

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      • Lili

        Lili January 7, 2013, 4:08 pm

        I agree BGM, but I think Monogamy is a choice people can make on the daily. And it might not be the easiest choice, but if its something you believe in enough, it can happen. Its just rare to find people that committed to making that choice. EVERY. DAY. I can see how that gets hard after years of unhappiness and discontentment.

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      • theattack

        theattack January 7, 2013, 3:11 pm

        But even if an affair is physical, there is a big difference, IMO, between a physical affair with emotions and one without emotions.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 3:13 pm

        I agree. Sex is just sex. When you start mixing in feelings and mushyness and stuff it gets messy.

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      • avatar

        bethany January 7, 2013, 2:03 pm

        Eh, I mean, I like flirting with guys when I go out with my girlfriends… My dad flirts with waitresses… I’m ok with a LITTLE flirting, be it in person or online. Now, if my husband was continually emailing the same woman for a while behind my back, yeah, I’d be pissed, but a little Addie Pray/Budj kind of internet flirting wouldn’t bother me.

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        lets_be_honest January 7, 2013, 2:05 pm

        I guess that makes sense. I’ve never been a flirt, really only bc I don’t know how to, so it’s a little weird to me to hear someone in a relationship openly admit they would flirt with others, but when you say like AP/budj, yea, that wouldn’t bother me.

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        lemongrass January 7, 2013, 2:48 pm

        I flirt sometimes. I wouldn’t say a lot but sometimes it’s nice to know that other people find me attractive. My husband doesn’t because he doesn’t know how or probably wouldn’t get an ego boost out of it but he doesn’t mind at all that I flirt. I tell him of the interactions and he laughs. He isn’t the jealous type at all. In fact, he points out when guys check me out (or at least used to, I’m pretty sure no one is checking out anything but my bump anymore) and says that it makes him feel good that other men find me attractive in an “in your face! that’s my wife” kind of way.

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      • Fabelle

        Fabelle January 7, 2013, 3:06 pm

        I definitely flirt— I always make clear I’m in a relationship, but flirting is just another way of communicating. And my boyfriend is a HUGE flirt, because he has the added extroverted-ness.

        When I say “flirt” though, I just mean…way of speaking, mannerisms? He’s not telling women they’re hot or anything, he’s just joke-y and intense-eye-contact-y.

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        GatorGirl January 7, 2013, 3:17 pm

        I flirt. Usually to get my way but I do it. A playful smile and a compliment can go a long way. My fiance does similar things.

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      • avatar

        Amber January 7, 2013, 3:41 pm

        I wasn’t referring just to this specific letter, I was referring to the fact that two out of three DW letters it seems, start with “So I was innocently borrowing my boyfriends computer and decided to log into facebook…”

        I don’t have strict definitions for cheating, because it means different things to different people.

        What I DO have a definition for is shady behaviour.

        If someone is hiding behaviour from their partner that they know their partner wouldn’t like, that’s shady. If they think it’s unreasonable for their partner be upset, they have a choice – they can BREAK UP. NOT continue the shady behaviour.

        I am totally fine with whatever people choose to do, and people should write the rules for their own relationships. HOWEVER, both parties should be in agreement on what those rules are.

        If you feel the need to sneak around, stop lying to your partner and either come to an agreement or break up!!!

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