Dear Harlan,

I have a secret. I am in a 10-month long-distance relationship with a man who treats me like a queen, is very sweet to me and, though he has a ton of friends to do things with, makes lots of time for us to be together. Here’s the catch: While using his laptop, I saw that he had been reading messages from women on dating sites. When I called him on it, he told me that he was just curious and he “had nothing to hide,” but would stop looking. But of course my confidence in his fidelity was breached, so after a month of sleepless nights, I decided I needed to know just what was going on. I read his phone texts and saw that last month he had told his last girlfriend that she was the best thing that ever happened to him, and he still loved her. I also read he took a girl he dated before me to lunch. In his emails, I read where he had reconnected with a girlfriend from his teenage years, writing her long letters depicting me as only a casual friend and making tentative plans to meet this fall — this from a man who begs me to move in with him and who wants to know my whole family. I know I was wrong to snoop, but how can this be good for either one of us? Please help.

Sad Snooper

Dear Snooper,

I have a secret, too. He’s not treating you like a queen. He’s not even treating you like a girlfriend. He’s a horrible boyfriend. He’s a sneak. He’s a liar. He’s a cheat. He’s pathological. I’m being so blunt because, should you ever try to convince yourself that he’s not that bad, I want you to read and reread this. He’s that bad. Unless you’re pregnant or have children together (he shouldn’t have a chance to get you pregnant again), he’s not someone you need in your life. The good news is that you don’t need to snoop anymore. You know the truth.

Dear Harlan,

I’ve been single for a few months now, and I am starting to think about getting together with some girls. However, I know I don’t want to date. I’m basically interested in fooling around with girls, but not really in a drunken sense. I don’t want to meet nice girls and scare them off or seem like a jerk by saying, “I’m not really feeling like dating, just fooling around.” Any advice how to be classy?

Hooking Up

Dear Hooking Up,

The fact that you even care about being upfront before grabbing a woman’s behind makes you a classy guy. There are plenty of nice women who will want you to grab them once they know the truth about you. Pretending you want something committed or avoiding the issue is a jerk move. Before hooking up, tell a woman that you are newly single and not in a place to commit at the moment. Tell her you just wanted to be honest and upfront before anything else happens. Make sure she isn’t expecting something you can’t deliver. If she gets scared and doesn’t want to fool around, find someone else or think about committing. Talking about what happens after the hookup will make everything so much better.

Write Harlan at [email protected] or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.

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