The Truth: Sloppy Houseguest, Selfish Partner

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Dear Truth,

A buddy of mine travels to Orlando for work three or four times a year and stays with me for a week or so at a time. Most days I go to work and he has the run of the place, including my computer. After the last visit, porn promos started popping up when I logged on. I checked the history and discovered my buddy had surfed several porn and hookup sites. Now my imagination is working overtime. Is he giving out my address? Inviting people over while I’m gone? Looking at sites that offer kiddie porn? Beating off at my desk?

Bottom line: Is it ever cool to use someone else’s computer for those purposes? And what’s the best way to confront him and set some boundaries before his next visit?

Signed, Compu-pissed

Dear C-U-P,

First of all, until you find out what has really happened, I would put your imagination on hold.  He may have just been beating off while looking at hook-up sites. Not sure how good a buddy he is, but I wouldn't be that put out by that, I supposeâ┚¬â€although it's not a best-practice in visitor behavior.  

But let's be clear: as a guest in someone else's home, particular one on which you regularly depend for accommodations while on work assignments, you need to leave as small a footprint as possibleâ┚¬â€in the kitchen, in the shower, in front of the TV, and on your host's laptop. If you gave him permission to use your computer, you can't retroactively dictate what he looks at, even if common sense should have led his decision-making. If you didn't, that's a little easier.

Here comes the Truth: no matter how you cut it, your buddy is at the very least becoming a sloppy houseguest, even if he leaves the bathroom clean. It might be time for him to find alternate arrangements when he visits. If you're willing to continue playing host, talk to him for your own peace of mind. No giving out your address. No hook ups at your home. And even no porn, if you're concerned about being linked to child pornography. After that, if you suspect he's not following your rules, make it his last visit.  

Dear Truth,

My girlfriend is greatâ┚¬â€fun, sexy, successfulâ┚¬â€but there’s one thing about her that drives me crazy. She almost never asks me questions about my life, or shows any real interest in what’s going on with my work, friends, etc. Over dinner or in the car or on weekends it’s, “blah, blah, blah, me, me, me.” I’m sincerely interested and enjoy her stories and observations. But when I change the subject to something based on my life, her interest is perfunctory at best. Follow-up questions are rare. And she often forgets the few things I tell her.

I know she loves me. I even know she cares. How can I develop a better conversational give-and-take with someone I hope to spend the rest of my life with?

Signed, Sick of Listening

Dear Sick,

Do you know she loves you, or do you just hope she does? I suppose it could be possible that a really selfish person can love someone. Maybe she was an only child whose parents indulged her and who never learned listening skills. But I have to be honest, SOL, it's not the best sign.  Without a natural, organic interest in your life, it's going to be hard to rewire her to make her more empathetic.  

The very first thing you must do is bring this to her attention. That adult, important conversation will be difficult, but the outcome will be singularly informative regarding her intentions and your relationship. If she is defensive and turns it back, yet again, to her and her issues and her life, I say you have a tall mountain to climb. If she listens and is sensitive and thoughtful about her response, there is a chance for retribution. Time will tell. If she changes her behavior for you, you will have established a firm building block for the futureâ┚¬â€the ability to adapt for each other.

Best of luck.

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