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Dear Margo

Dear Margo column

Q. I’m in my late 20s and have been living with a man roughly the same age for the past year and a half. The relationship has been wonderful. Until a few months ago, I had no reason to distrust him, but I started to suspect something when he didn’t want to answer when I asked about his dinner with a male friend. I looked at his cellphone a few days later and saw he had met with a female friend I did not know. When I confronted him, he said it was a woman he met at the gym, but he didn’t want to tell me because in his culture women frown on their significant others having female friends (he is from a different country).

He swears she is just a friend and says she is religious and has invited him to church, etc., which I know is something he wants to get back to. Aside from that, nothing else seems odd, and he continues to share everything that goes on.

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At about the time of the “secret meeting,” he announced he’d like to spend time away with the guys maybe one or twice a month. I was fine with that. Then, the time away increased to four days staying with me and three days living with his sibling. Now, he has announced that he wants to step away and think about the relationship to make sure he wants to be with me for the rest of his life, decide whether he wants children, etc. He stresses that he does not want to make the same mistake twice. (He has been married before. It ended badly).

He says we will continue to talk and go out, but there will be nothing physical. I have had a string of bad relationships, so I know what terrible is, but as he’s being a gentleman about it all, I just don’t know what to think.

RAL

A. There are gentleman bank robbers, too, my dear. To this neutral observer, it sounds as though your live-in love is moving out of the relationship in incremental steps. His idea of continuing to talk and go out while he re-virginizes himself is highly suggestive of his planning to make a break for it. I would make it easy on him — and yourself — by telling him you’ve decided, in one fell swoop, to call it a day.

Q. I had a fender-bender in the parking lot at work. At first, I didn’t notice, but the person whose car I hit did and was understandably steamed. I did something really stupid because I was scared. First, I said I didn’t notice, and that didn’t go over well. Then, I actually said someone else was driving! It was ridiculous and pathetic, but I was really nervous, and this came out before I knew what I was saying. Anyway, I gave the other person my insurance information and hope that will be the end of it. We’re in different departments, so I don’t think there will be any repercussions as far as my job goes, but I feel like a jerk. Should I try to make some sort of amends or just keep a low profile and hope it blows over?

A. Because your insurance company will right the wrong, no harm, no foul. I’m sure the other person knows exactly what was going on, and for him or her, it’s a settled issue. If, however, this is eating at you, by all means write a note saying you are feeling foolish, the whole thing came from fear, and you wish you had behaved with more integrity. Over and out.

All letters must be sent via the online form at www.creators.com/dearmargo.

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