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Ex-etiquette: Where does he disappear to?

Jann Blackstone, Tribune News Service on

Published in Family Living

Q. My boyfriend has been living with me for three months. Sometimes he doesn’t come home for days, doesn’t say where he has been, and I think he is staying at his ex’s house. When I ask, he says he drank too much with his friends and slept on the couch. I think he is with his ex because they have a child together. Is there an Ex-Etiquette rule to cover this?

A. There are some major red flags waving here.

The fact that your mind goes straight to his being with his ex tells me that this has been an ongoing issue. The fact that he drinks so much at one sitting that he can’t come home—if that’s what is really happening--is also of concern. Then to top it off, he’s so drunk he doesn’t call you to give you a heads up? He just tells you where he was when he gets home and stays away for days? Too many things pointing to questionable behavior. If you were in my office, I’d be asking you why he is your choice.

It’s important to note that having a child together is not necessarily the determiner for fooling around. If he’s unfaithful, it may not be with his ex. And, if he does and this a couple of times a week, are you sure she’s really the ex? Are you sure you are not “the other woman”?

Aside from the obvious not coming home at night, there are additional clues that point to someone being unfaithful.

One, you’re living together and you have never met his child and/or the child’s mother.

Two, you’ve never met any of his friends or relatives.

Three, when you’re together he wants to stay in, rarely opting to go out in public together.


Four, when his cell phone rings, he won’t let you answer it. Or he lets it go to voice mail on purpose, all the time.

Five, he goes in another room or outside to listen to his messages.

Six, sometimes he doesn’t come home at night …

If you can say yes to three of these statements, unfortunately, your suspicions of betrayal are probably correct. What do you do?

Ask yourself: If you could design the perfect relationship, would you design the one you have now? If not, what would you change? Make a list. Are any of the changes within your power to change? In other words, if the answers are all things your boyfriend must change, take a look at that. No relationship is perfect, but if this is not the relationship you want, don’t blame your partner. The decision to be in a questionable relationship is all yours.

There’s someone else out there who’ll respect you enough to be honest with you -- if you respect yourself enough to demand it. Respect…that’s good Ex-etiquette for Parents rule No. 9.

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