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DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I have been on and off for about four years. He is the first person I have ever dated, and I am completely in love with him. However, sometimes I feel like we are a lot less compatible than we try to make it seem.
During our last break, my boyfriend dated someone else. When we got back together, he told me everything about her, and I even had a chance to talk to her and clear everything up. Right after we started dating again, my boyfriend started posting photos of me on social media a lot to make up for our lost time. In the past few weeks, he’s been reposting photos of me from months ago on his Instagram, and I’m starting to worry that he did something. How do I start a conversation about how he’s acting without being confrontational or accusing him of sneaking around? — Boyfriend Cheating
DEAR BOYFRIEND CHEATING: Secretly worrying about your boyfriend’s loyalty can be nerve-wracking and isn’t worth your time. If there is a chance for your relationship, you have to be open and honest with him. Tell him that you have noticed that he has changed his posts, and you wonder why. Simply ask him why he is posting older photos. Don’t assume a reason.
Beyond that, do not base the quality of your relationship on social media. The two of you need your private, real bond. Since cheating is part of your story, talk about loyalty and what that means to you and to him. Ask him if he will tell you if he cheats or if he feels he cannot be monogamous. At the very least, you should be able to decide if you want to stay with him if he feels the need to not be exclusive.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am turning 20 in a few days. I rarely get birthday jitters or get emotional on my birthday like many of my friends do, but for some reason, this year feels monumental. I already live in my own apartment, go to college, have a job, pay taxes and do adult things. However, the idea of no longer being a teenager feels like I fully have to be an adult now. I feel like I have less room for error, more responsibilities and more expectations put upon me now. On the bright side, this will be the first birthday I have ever spent with friends, so I will be surrounded by others my age. When I am with my family, I am still the youngest, so my birthday feels less big, but I am the oldest in my friend group. I don’t really have much to be worried about, but I cannot help feeling some stress around it. How do I get over my birthday jitters and just appreciate this new stage? — Birthday Soon
DEAR BIRTHDAY SOON: Count your blessings that you get to celebrate with your peers. Remind yourself of what’s special about this year and how you will spend your time. Decide to enjoy the moment rather than plan out the whole year on that day. Choose to do your young adult planning after. Breathe and take it all in.