Every day, porn star and University of Southern California journalism grad student Tasha Reign wakes up to a curious string of emails from her fans, a devoted group of men and women she lovingly refers to as “Reigndeer.” Said Reigndeer ask her questions — so many questions — about her perspectives on sex, love, relationships and life itself, and as someone who’s had more firsthand experience in these areas than four adult women combined, she’s become uniquely up to the task of answering them. Once a week then, Tasha will select a few of these questions and grace us with her insight, advice and expert wisdom in the hopes that she can help you fuck and love long, too.
So, I’m 99 percent sure my boyfriend is cheating on me. I’d really like to confront him about it, but here’s the problem: I know this because I did some deep stalking and checked his phone and email. I even created a fake Instagram account to secretly spy on his with. He’s definitely still talking to his ex, and sometimes when he says he’s busy or can’t hang out, he’s actually with her. What should I do?
I have a slight affinity for checking my partner’s emails or texts if they’re readily available to me as well. I don’t think you and I are alone in that. However, I’ve also been the person who’s had my phone snooped through, and I’ll say this: Either position is the most uncomfortable feeling. If you find something — or your partner finds something on you — it will cause drama and someone will get jealous.
Then again, you already knew that, didn’t you? I’m sure you’re well aware of the saying, “If you go looking for something, you’ll find it.” Clearly, you felt like you had a reason to snoop, and you found what you were looking for. Intuition isn’t to be reckoned with, and now that I’m 30, I can say that my gut instincts about things like this are usually right, too. All of which is to say that I can understand the drive to do what you did.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s ethical to read other people’s emails or texts — it’s not — but it’s also not ethical to cheat or lie to your partner. That, in my mind, is a bigger issue than you snooping. So, let’s talk about what you should do.
If I were you, I’d confront your significant other about this. Only, instead of launching right into it, I’d lead with an apology for deep-diving into his phone and email, explaining that you could tell you were being lied to but you had to find out for yourself. Next, I’d bring in the facts and the evidence that you discovered in your investigation. Just having that honest conversation will get the ball rolling. I’d definitely avoid drinking at the time, as to not say things you may regret. Being sober will help you keep your thoughts straight as well.
Don’t let him make you feel bad about snooping when you talk to him though. Again, what you did is less significant than what he did, and any attempt on his part to make you feel guilty for looking through his stuff is merely a poorly veiled attempt to shirk responsibility for his actions.
Before any of that, however, you need to decide whether your relationship is worth saving or if it’s something you should move on from. I, like everyone else, have never been a fan of cheaters, but I also think that if this is just a lack of intimacy or care on both your parts and it’s never happened before, maybe you can move through it. Counseling can be really helpful here — it’ll clarify whether or not this is something you both want to stay in. If one of you isn’t willing to work on the relationship, though, breaking up is definitely your next step.
I’m a 35-year-old guy, and I think I’m in love with my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were kids and it’s always felt sort of brother/sister-ish, but during a recent visit, it hit me all at once and I realized I’m completely in love with her. Another major complication: She’s married. Either way, should I tell her how I feel?
You have two choices here: 1) You can either take a huge risk and tell her how you feel; or 2) you can sit on your feelings for a while, see if they’re as intense as you think they are and reassess down the line once you have a better idea if they need to be spoken or not.
I’m gonna nudge you toward the latter option. I’ve been in your friend’s situation before (er, sort of). I’ve had people confess their feelings for me while I was dating someone else, as well as a couple of ex “boyfriends” (I use that term loosely) who have come back asking for a second chance even though they could clearly see I wasn’t available. None of them were my lifelong best friend, but they were people I cared about, and their admission of feelings did make things complicated. However, I’m pretty loyal. I was more annoyed with the person for not expressing themselves like that when I was available than I was interested in their offers or feelings. Sometimes, I’d be flattered, but more often than not, my reaction would be, “Why now?”
I can only imagine that the fact that she’s married and unable to do anything about your feelings — at least in the short-term — would fluster her like it did me. I’m not saying she wouldn’t be flattered or that she might not feel the same, but the fact that she can’t really do anything with that information — and that it might change your friendship — might feel like more of a weight than a gift.
In other words, I really don’t think you should say anything to her. Unless a prime opportunity presents itself for you to do so — like her telling you she wants to leave her husband or her admitting she’s in love with you — the best option for both of you, and for your friendship, is to sit on this (at least for now).
Moreover — and maybe more importantly — love her in the ways you can without making it more complicated for her and know that someone else you love in a different way will come along soon. After all, the last thing you want is to lose what you already have with her.
How do you know when you’re in love? I’ve been in many relationships, but have never been sure. I always hear people saying you “just know” but I never know. How have you known?
Usually I know I’m in love because I keep wanting to say “I love you” to someone, but I have to keep myself from blurting it out. That’s when I know my feelings have surpassed the “You’re hot, I like you” level into “Oh shit, I think I love you” territory. It’s also how I know I’m ready to tell them how I feel (though I don’t always do so smoothly — one time I held on to my feelings for too long and got so anxious that I wrote them down for someone on a greeting card).
Another common feeling I have is the constant urge to talk to the person. Thoughts about them keep popping up into my mind, and it becomes hard to focus on anything else. Interestingly, men actually tend to feel these feelings sooner than women do, which I find fascinating because in heterosexual relationships, it’s usually assumed that women are the first ones to catch feelings and say, “I love you.” Not so! Love tends to hit guys harder and faster, but even so, it can be difficult to know whether those feelings are love, lust or something else.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear way to tell. Love means different things to different people, and everyone experiences it in their own way. It’s also not always obvious. Sometimes you know right away, and sometimes the feeling of love sneaks up on you over time. Either way, there’s some truth to the “you just know” thing; it’s just that what “knowing” means depends on your personality and the culture you live in.
I know that’s not the world’s most satisfying answer, but if I were you, I’d focus less on worrying about whether or not you “know” you’re in love and more on enjoying your relationships for what they are. You don’t have to pressure yourself into calling it “lust,” “love” or anything at all; it can just be. When you’re ready to slap the “love” label on it, you will. There’s also no harm in calling something “love” only to change your mind about what it was later. That happens all the time.
One thing is clear about love, though: It can be hard. Sometimes you can tell you love someone not because you get butterflies when they’re around or because the sex is really good, but because you find yourself willing to work through challenges with them. One day you might catch yourself wondering why you stay and work through things instead of walking out, and you might realize it’s because what you feel for them is more than just a fleeting attraction.
In any case, if you’re wondering a lot about whether or not you love someone, you probably do!
Feel free to send me your sex, love and relationship questions at firstname.lastname@example.org!