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Dear Margo

Dear Margo column

Q. I’m 60, and my boyfriend is a few years younger. He recently moved in with me. His job requires him to meet with people after their workday. I know he really is doing this on some nights, because I have seen people enter his workplace. But I worry that he uses this as an excuse to meet with a woman with whom he works closely. She has a good girlfriend in the office who undoubtedly has her back.

Anyway, my guy nearly passed out when he learned they would be at the same gathering as me. For a while, he guarded his phone like a hawk.

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He says he’d like a relationship where the woman didn’t feel she needed to check his phone — but once when I did, he had erased a call he had gone outside to take. I confronted him, but he had no answer.

I don’t think he’s actually doing anything terrible, but what looks like him covering up things leads me to speculate and feel suspicious. He is very loving, and we get along in many ways, but there are an awful lot of excuses. What if I don’t “catch” him but still feel anxious? I just asked him to see a couples counselor, and he agreed.

A. There is no joy in being Miss Marple in a romantic relationship, and yet some of the things you mention do require explanations. The good news is that the two of you can hash all of this out in counseling, and it’s a positive development that he’s willing to go. I hope the outcome is successful.

Q. After 37 years of marriage to my father, my stepmother passed away. I’ve tried to be supportive to my dad, but it’s not easy. If one isn’t a born-again, anti-gay, anti-everything conservative, then that person is obviously “hell-bound.” And that describes me, his only child and probable captain of the Hell-Bound Express.

After doing my best to be patient, tolerant, and aware of his loss, he calls one morning (at work!) to tell me what a miserable, stuck-up, elitist shrew I am. He railed about issues from years ago, blamed me for my ex’s cheating and ended the conversation with, “I wouldn’t tell you all of this if I didn’t love you so much.”

Here’s my dilemma: the scattering of my stepmother’s ashes. My kids and I are expected to be there. I would like to go to pay my respects, but I honestly do not want to deal with this vitriolic man.

A. I see no reason for subjecting yourself to further abuse. Your dad sounds unbalanced — and mean.

To finesse your exit from this psychodrama, I suggest going to the service, because he’s unlikely to attack you there. (But you never know.) After that, I would make a break for it. Tell him you’re severing the relationship because you love him so much that you can’t bear to add any more rotten memories to the ones you already have.

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

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