Q. My boyfriend, “Steve,” and I have our one-year anniversary next month, so I planned a trip for us to celebrate in New York.
Last week he texted me to meet him at the mall at a certain time for a date. When I got there, I saw him kissing another girl. He walked up to me and tried to kiss me. I rejected it. I asked who that was, and he stuttered. I asked if he was cheating on me, and he stuttered again. I took it that he was cheating on me and I broke up with him.
He came to my house with flowers to try to win me back. He expressed his love and started crying. I took him back. Now we’re fighting all the time, and I’m wondering if I should break up with him and cancel the trip to New York.
A. I wonder why your boyfriend essentially invited you to catch him cheating. After all, he texted you to meet him at a specific time and place. When you did, he was with someone else. This is the behavior of someone who really, truly wants to be found out, regardless of what he says.
You two don’t seem to communicate well. If you did, your boyfriend would use his words instead of stuttering, and you wouldn’t be fighting all the time. I suggest you call a “time out” and go to New York, either by yourself or with a friend. Use this time to clear your head and make a choice about whether you are prepared to truly forgive him and give him a second chance. This will also give him an opportunity to not cheat on you while you’re away.
Q. My husband, sister-in-law, and I recently went on vacation together. Now it’s time to split the bill for lodging, car rental, gas, and food.
My husband thinks he and I should pay two-thirds and his sister one-third. I think that we should pay two-thirds of the food bill but split everything else in half. A car rental, hotel room, and gas aren’t “per person” costs; rather, they are flat rates. The cost of food, however, depends on how many people you need to feed.
My thought is that the flat-rate expenses should be divided by party rather than by individual. So what is more fair: dividing the bill in half or into thirds?
A. My question is why, oh why, didn’t the three of you discuss this before the trip?
I agree that your solution is probably more “fair.” But there is fairness and then there is family. Splitting all the bills three ways, and you and your husband covering two-thirds of the cost, is easiest and generous on your part. And, if you can afford it, isn’t this the best way to be?
Q. This is a solution for “Not a Scrooge,” who didn’t want to engage in any Christmas gift giving. The last time the adults in my family exchanged gifts was the Christmas my sister announced she was pregnant with my parents’ first grandchild. We agreed then to give gifts only to children going forward. This became part of the tradition as the grandchildren grew up.
When that first grandchild graduated from high school, she announced that she was now an adult. The other grandchildren followed suit as they graduated. This decision turned out to be a blessing. We were freed from the gift-buying frenzy, no one was disappointed by unfulfilled expectations, and we had time to experience the joy of the holiday season.
A. I enjoy sharing examples of how people handle gift-giving issues. Your solution is ideal.