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Ask Lisi: Don't let online spark harm your IRL relationship

Ask yourself this: would your wife be hurt if she happened on your chat messages?
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Advice columnist Lisi Tesher.

Dear Lisi: In my early 20s, I met a great girl on a ski trip. She was the friend of a friend’s girlfriend. We were a group of 10 people who rented a ski chalet together. We were all connected but we didn’t know everyone.

She and I hit it off almost immediately. She was always smiling, friendly and very personable on the first night, and a fabulous skier. We were up and out early on the first morning, and it was clear that she and I were of equal calibre, so we naturally paired up.

We had an incredible five days together, culminating in passionate kissing on the last night. Living in separate cities, we weren’t blindly gunning for a long-distance romance. But we continued the conversation.

It fizzled quickly; it was too hard to sustain on too little time together. We lost touch and went on with our lives. We both married and had children.

It’s 20 years later and we somehow connected through social media. We’re both still partnered up, but our conversations are flirty and heavy with what feels like an evergreen romance.

Am I supposed to do something with this?

Black Diamond Romance

No. You barely knew her two decades ago; you’re both married to other people and both living your own lives.

There’s no reason why you can’t be social media friends, but rein in the flirtation and romance. Ask yourself this: would your wife be hurt if she happened on your chat messages? You don’t know the state of this woman’s relationship; she may be unhappy and looking for an out. Don’t get involved. Focus on your own relationship.

Dear Lisi: My sister-in-law has opted to take her kids and move out to the country. Her husband is on board with the idea. He works for a large company, mainly remotely, but travels one week out of every month. The move would add four hours on to that journey, and potentially an overnight depending on departure and arrival times.

For the time being, she is a stay-home mom with three young children. She has found a school and programs for two of them, which would allow her more freedom to focus on the one with special needs.

My concern is that they have found a house that is remote, and she doesn’t like to drive at night. She’s also uncomfortable when her husband is away, feels insecure and uneasy. In the city, we would have them over almost weekly, but when he is away, they’re over all the time.

I’m worried that the weeks when he is away, she will be all alone and scared. We can make it a point to have them down for a visit, or go out there to visit with her, but it won’t always work. I’m worried about her.

Worried Family

You are so thoughtful and accommodating. There must be a very good reason for your sister-in-law to want to move away from the city – and all her friends and family. I am sure she weighed all the pros and cons before entertaining this big move.

Since it sounds as though you have a close relationship, offer to take her out, just the two of you, and have a good talk about her whys. Tell her that you support her and her children, and you will continue to do so as best possible, even from a distance.

Remind your brother-in-law that you would love to know his schedule in advance so you can be as available as possible. I am sure he will appreciate you watching over his family during the weeks he is out of town.

FEEDBACK Regarding the mean girls (Dec. 6):

Reader – “I can tell you why girls are so mean after puberty - they’re pushing their female social expectations while undergoing the hormone screw-up of puberty. It’s risk-taking. Besides, girls who are mean get more attention for being mean.

“I wonder how their parents would react if they saw videos of their girls behaving this way? As a high school teacher, anytime I caught anyone being overtly mean, individual or group, I would talk to them privately first; then I’d warn them that I was talking to their parents; and that if the behaviour continued, I’d get evidence, show it to their parents, and gently call them out in front of their classmates.

“It usually worked.”

Lisi – Tween and teenage girls value friendship and group social interaction above all else. They are so afraid of rejection and isolation, that they are mean to others who they deem a threat.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca or lisi@thestar.ca