DEAR HARRIETTE: I recently found out that my boyfriend has been googling breakup-related questions such as, “how do you know when it is time to break up?” and “how do you know if you are happy in your relationship?” He doesn’t know that I saw his search history.
I am absolutely dumbfounded and confused by this discovery. We’ve been in a loving relationship for quite some time now, and I’ve never had any inkling that there were any problems. I am hurt that he didn’t communicate his doubts with me, especially when I thought we were completely fine and happy. What should I do? Do I confront him and risk ruining our relationship, or do I keep my suspicions to myself and pretend nothing ever happened? — Worried Girlfriend
DEAR WORRIED GIRLFRIEND: I would put everything on the table. Tell your boyfriend you want to talk to him. Admit that you stumbled upon his breakup search. While you were not meaning to snoop, you saw it and wanted to address it rather than pretend like you didn’t see it. Ask him if he wants to break up with you, and if so, why. Give him space to talk. He will likely be caught off guard, so it could take a bit for him to open up. Encourage him to tell you the truth, even if he thinks it will hurt your feelings. If he needs coaxing, ask him if you have done anything that bothers him, if he is unhappy with anything in particular in your relationship or if he has met someone else. Find out if he wants to make it work, or if he really is ready to walk. Take your cues for what’s next from how he responds.
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DEAR HARRIETTE: A little over a month ago, I decided to step away from social media. I deactivated all of my accounts. When I was using social media regularly, I had plenty of friends and followers who would interact with me often. Now that I’m off social media, it seems like all of those people have gone silent. I don’t understand why none of these people are reaching out to me anymore, especially since they all have my number. It feels as though I no longer exist to them. I’m feeling really discouraged and lonely right now, and I’m not sure what steps to take next. Should I reach out to these individuals myself, or should I simply move on and focus on making new connections? — Unplugging
DEAR UNPLUGGING: Now is the time to figure out who you want in your life and whether they want you back. Make a list of the people you care about the most. Then be conscious of making time for them. You should reach out to that short list of folks. See how they respond to you. It will not feel as immediate as social media, which you were able to engage at your leisure. Just watch your interactions. Those who make time for you as you make time for them are the keepers for now. That doesn’t mean that others won’t come around in due time.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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