- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki: I’m engaged to be married in June to my fiance of two years. Afterward, we are moving to Germany because he is receiving orders to move there.

I´ve been reading your column in The Washington Times and I like the advice you give to people about relationships. You really seem to know your stuff and tell it like it is. Most of my co-workers have read your column, too, and they don´t seem to like you very much. I tell them, “The truth hurts.”

Well, Ms. Vicki, I´m like most of the people who write to you. I need to hear the truth, unmitigated.

I chose a long engagement because I did not want to rush into anything. I love my fiance very much and I think we can have a wonderful life together. I have even been saving myself for marriage because I was raised to try and do the right thing. My fiance has acted like he has no problem with me being a virgin, even though he isn´t one himself. But I´m wondering if my fiance is cheating.

I´ve seen text messages from other women saying to him, “I had a great time last night,” or, “Thanks for the flowers.” When I ask him about it, he says it was from his mother, whom he took to dinner, or it was from his sister, to whom he sent flowers. Also, he is always working late at night, even though he never had to in the past. And he sometimes receives a phone call and he has to leave because something is happening on the base and he has to intervene.

He even has a cell phone I didn’t know anything about. I found the cell-phone bill in his car and called some of the numbers. Many of the numbers were ones he has called over and over again, and when I called them, women answered the phone. I called one number, and the woman thought it was him, so she answered by calling him by name. It was like she had been waiting for him to call.

He has become more secretive with his e-mails and when he is on the computer. In response, I and one of my best friends concocted a plan for us to follow him. I paid her to rent a car in her name and we followed him one night, but we got lost instead.

I have confronted him about all these things, but he says I am crazy and exaggerating, and we need to move forward and get married in June. I say we need to put things on hold because I know he is cheating or doing something that´s not right. What do you think, Ms. Vicki?

-Trying To Believe My Man

Dear Trying:

I´ll save the antics, but this is crazy! You´re trying to believe what - that nothing´s going on with him? Hmm, let’s see now. You’ve found text messages from other women. He has a second cell phone that you knew nothing about. You’ve noticed that he has become even more secretive about his computer use and he’ll leave suddenly in the night, always for reasons that are work-related. You’ve decided you should start renting cars and traipsing off in the middle of the night to spy on him. And you’re asking me what do I think? Listen, if you continue on with this wedding, I´m more concerned about you than I am for him.

I think you should put your brakes on really quick because this is a train wreck waiting to happen.

Do you really intend to marry someone you can’t trust? You said you’ve saved yourself for marriage; great! If you´ve waited this long, then what’s the rush?

Consider premarital counseling with a professional counselor or member of your clergy. Whatever you do, don’t ignore this man’s behavior and marry him in June and move to Germany. Long story short, I think your fiance is cheating. I don’t mean to be rude, but you asked me to tell you the truth.

Dear Ms. Vicki:

My best friends are suing us for $1,000 they say we owe them. They are taking us to court; we received the notice last week. My husband and I said we are not showing up.

We´ve been good friends for over six years and have been stationed together twice. The times we have been separated, we’ve always stayed in touch and visited each other.

I admit they have loaned us the money, but we have always been their baby sitters, given them gifts for their birthdays and paid for dinners. When my girlfriend needed her resume done, I took the time to do one for her. Furthermore, we allowed them to stay in our home for two months until their house on base became available.

I think they owe us money instead of us owing them.

Now they have totally changed on us and are demanding the money. How can you treat friends this way? I don’t think it’s fair. They are not budging. They say we owe them, and they want the money.

In your opinion, can you tell me what would be a good way for us to talk some sense into their heads and make them forget about the money?

-No Favors From Friends

Dear Friends:

I think you need to pay up. You said it yourself - they loaned you the money. You did not say you were bartering services, i.e., offering baby sitting and allowing them to live in your home in exchange for paying off the $1,000. In this situation, I think it’s only ethical that you honor the loan and repay them every cent, OK?

Obviously, you were good friends with this family and have spent much time with them cultivating your friendship. I believe the older you get, the more you will realize that true friendships are hard to come by. If you considered this family to be a friend, then you should try to salvage it by doing the honorable thing.

Next time, don’t borrow any money from your friends. If you do, make it clear to them that you would like to work out a repayment plan in a non-monetary way.

I’m not sure what will happen if you don´t show up in court. Personally, I think you should set up a payment plan for your friends and stick to it. Maybe they will drop the court appearance in return. I hope this helps.

• Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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