Hang in or hang up on smartphone addict [Ellie]

Question: My boyfriend of seven months is addicted to his smartphone. He checks it often when we’re together — his text messages, email, Facebook. It’s bothering me that he might be using it as a means to connect with other girls.

I discovered that he has talked to some other women before through the Internet, and his obsession with his phone fuels my distrust. The phone feels like the mistress in our relationship.

I don’t know how to talk to him about it. I confronted him once, and he got so angry he spilled an alcoholic drink and the phone broke. He ended up getting a new one and was able to retrieve all of his contacts, messages and applications, so my effort was in vain.

How can I get over this distrust or my hate for his cellphone, and resist the compulsion to check his Facebook and email?

Suspicious Mind

Answer: The phone may be dominating his life, but it doesn’t have to rule yours. Recognize that he’s one of those people who has become obsessive about being constantly connected and decide whether there’s enough meaningful time together despite this. (After all, somehow he did become your boyfriend.)

Given that your relationship’s still young, it’s highly likely that he’s still in touch with some female friends and, yes, he may be connecting to others, too. But that doesn’t mean he’s cheating, emotionally or otherwise, especially if his free time is spent with you.

Instead of lowering yourself to snooping, think about your level of insecurity. You’ve seen the phone as the enemy, even “his mistress,” when the real divide between you two may just be a bad fit. He’s a guy who likes to be wired to many and you’re needy of more attention. Decide whether to hang in or hang up on the relationship.

Question: My friend is stealing from me under my nose and not saying anything about it. When I asked her about it she denied it. It’s just little things now, but what if she starts taking bigger things like money, jewellery or my credit card?

She’s been my friend for as long as I can remember and is really kind. I depend on her for a lot of stuff and I’ve told her my secrets and personal stuff. I want to help her but since she won’t talk to me about it, I can’t. I want to raise it in a subtle way and fix the problem. Or should I wait unjtil her guilt leads her to confess?

Concerned

Answer: You’re showing great sensitivity to the possibility your friend has a more serious problem than coveting some of your things. Since you’re so close, you must surely be aware of any trauma she had, either in the past or more recently, or of what events or relationships could’ve made her feel shaky, depressed, etc.

If you can identify such triggers, gently start a conversation about what might be worrying her. From there, you can say you’re concerned about her and believe that talking to a therapist would help her greatly.

Meanwhile, remove any money you keep at home and move your jewellery to a safe place. When you’re together, keep your wallet and credit cards with you. That way, you won’t have to confront her about any major theft.

If the pilfering persists and you can’t get anywhere with subtlety, you may have to leave something out on purpose and confront her when it’s gone.

TIP OF THE DAY

Season’s Greetings to all, for peace, joy and goodwill in your relationships.

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