Dear Amy: I'm almost 30, and I've been with my boyfriend since we were teenagers. We live together at my father's house.
My boyfriend recently told me that he got another girl pregnant. He says he doesn't love her and doesn't want to be with her but that he does want to be there for the baby.
I'm lost and confused. We've been trying to have a baby for about five years now. It broke my heart when he told me he was having a baby with another girl. I hear from other people that he tells her he loves her and wants to be with her and the baby — but then he comes home and tells me otherwise. I don't know what to think.
I don't want to break up. I'm in love with him and can't live without him, but I don't want to be in a relationship where I'm not happy. Please give me some advice.
Dear Heartbroken: If you can ignore your man's behavior to be with him and potentially be an involved "other mother" for his baby, then by all means let him stick around, but his actions indicate it's time for him to leave.
When you two are separated you won't have to tolerate his infidelity, listen to his lies and (eventually) help raise his child. Your life will start fresh, and I hope you will take advantage of your fresh start by making brave choices to put yourself first, raise your standards, and expect personal integrity and sexual fidelity in your partners.
Be brave and give him the boot. Once you do, you will become stronger and more courageous. Then you'll wonder what took you so long to realize that you can live — and live well — without him.
Dear Amy: My husband and I invited a couple out to dinner to a restaurant we all like. We hadn't socialized with them in quite some time, and I was really looking forward to catching up.
When we were finalizing the plans for the evening, I received a text that our friends had invited another couple whom we have never met. Is it as rude as I think it is? It has really upset me, but I am willing to be told to get over it. Should I say something, or chalk it up to knowing better next time?
Dear Fuming: I can imagine a situation in which friends might think it would be OK to ask to expand the party (e.g., they had friends pop in unexpectedly from out of town), but in general it is not acceptable to issue an invitation to a gathering where you are not the host.
If they wanted to include another couple they should not have sent a text declaring their intentions but should have called you and verbally asked if you would object. Your friends didn't behave well.
It would be very easy to answer by text, "We are hoping to catch up privately with you, but we'd love to meet your friends another time."
Dear Amy: I want to give a different perspective on the letter from "Confused Friend," whose friend was abruptly ditching her. If this is an alarming and recent change of behavior, it could very well signal substance abuse, depression or another serious mental health issue.
Simply dropping off the planet and ending the friendship is not the responsible or caring thing to do. It would be different if the friend had always been flaky, or this was a new and fledgling friendship, but what she described is a classic first signal of a serious psychological issue — friends and family noticing a sudden change.
But that's exactly when friends need to hang in and remember that sometimes relationships involve work. I'd hate for you to discourage being a friend to someone in need. After all, if friends and family aren't willing to help, who will?
Dear Andrea: I agree that abrupt and dramatic changes in behavior warrant a thoughtful reaction; this particular friend was rebuffing all attempts at contact, which makes it even more challenging to help.