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Dear Doctor Love,
I have been living with my twenty-two-year-old boyfriend for three years, and things have been good until about six months ago when I started to notice small changes in him. He started staying late at work almost every night, or after his shift is over, he would go out for a drink with his friend. I mentioned to his friend that they were going out a lot and his friend looked confused and asked me what I meant. My boyfriend became easily irritable. He also stopped being romantic. We used to have sex almost every day, but now it is almost never.
I kept telling myself I was too suspicious but now he is guarding his phone at home. He carries it wherever he goes, even to the shower. When he laid his phone on the table at breakfast, and I picked it up, he freaked out. He stormed out of the room, and when he came back, I asked him why he didn’t want me to see it. He handed it to me and said for me to go ahead and look. All of his chat messages were deleted, and his whole Facebook messenger app was gone. He said his phone messed up and he had to put it back to factory settings. Then he just left and didn’t say good-bye or give me any smile or a kiss.
I don’t want to believe it, but my heart says he is seeing someone else. How do I deal with this without accusing or making a big fight?
/s/All the Signs
There are more red flags popping up in this relationship than a Germany/Italy football game. One or two of these behaviors on their own might not indicate a problem but put them all together, and the Doctor agrees—you have reason to assume your boyfriend is hiding something important.
Look him in the eye and ask him straight. You have lived together for three years. Surely you know him well enough to see when he is not telling the truth.
Point out his behavioral changes and the things he is doing that have not been in his normal routine in the past and ask him to be honest. If he is seeing someone else, it may come as a relief for him to tell you. If he’s not, then there is a reason for his new attitude, and you should discuss it. Whatever it is, try to keep an open dialogue. If it comes down to the worst, be calm and go from there.