In Which We Trust The Bear But Not The Lion
Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 10:46AM
Durga in ADVICE, advice, hard to say

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to


In past relationships I have trusted people and gotten hurt. As a result, I have been told that I suspect very quickly and jump to conclusions if it seems like I am being lied to. In my current relationship, I do trust my boyfriend overall, but I would still like to take precautions so that I know what he is doing, and who he is doing it with. At the same time he has commented, not overly negatively, that it feels like I am controlling. I don’t want to ruin this, but at the same time I don’t want to be hurt. Is it OK for me to check up at times?

Ilana L.

Dear Ilana,

I mean I would like to say yes, but the real answer is not really. The person a man checks in to report his whereabouts is his mother, not his girlfriend. Such induced behavior encourages deception and untruths, the exact situations you claim to want to avoid. If you’re really worried about this sort of thing, another approach is required. Every so often, “confess” something innocuous. You will be forgiven, and he will ask himself why he does not do the same. If he never confesses, this is cause for suspicion. If he tells you similarly innocuous things, he is probably a decent person.

If you suspect further, then be open with your doubts. But don’t requisition trouble, for it will surely arrive..



My boyfriend Haber is a great dad to a three year old. I don’t mind that he has a child and our relationship is wonderful. My question is, I have been extremely reluctant to critique his parenting in any way, since I am not a mother. But if I see him doing something with his son that I disagree with, is it all right to tell him and how should I couch the criticism?

Kelly C. 

Dear Kelly,

Sure. He signed up for this by dating you. How long could he conceivably avoid having his parenting style critiqued by the woman in his life? Criticize him constantly, and let your observations be incredibly detailed, and accompanied by pejoratives such as “dummy” and “quote unquote Dad.” This will end well.

I recommend a subtler approach, one that involves highlighting passages in parenting books and leaving webpages up on his computer.

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