Arlene Green

Arlene Green
Clearlake, California, USA
January 08
Geek girl, mother of more children than human beings should be allowed, owner of a snake named Plissken, several dogs, a plethora of cats, easily annoyed, easily overjoyed, will work for books.


Arlene Green's Links

No links in this category.
Editor’s Pick
JULY 25, 2008 8:00PM

Reality Check: Is My Boyfriend Lying To Me?

Rate: 10 Flag

Dear Arlene,

I think my boyfriend is lying to me. He told me that he was going to help his friend fix his porch but when I drove by they weren't on the porch and nothing on the porch that is normally there had been moved. I waited an hour and drove by again and they still weren't on the porch. I've never met this friend and I'm worried that my boyfriend is doing something he shouldn't be doing. What should I do?


Worried Girlfriend

Dear Worried Girlfriend,

Well, for starters, you can stop acting like a crazy person and checking up on him that way. That isn't sane behavior. Also, it won't fix anything even if there is something shady going on.

It is pretty obvious you don't trust him but without further details I can't know why that is. Has he cheated on you? Does he have a substance abuse problem? If there is some past history that makes you so untrusting, fine, but the thing to do is to ask him directly, not run around like James Bond and try to catch him out. Also, even if there is some past history that prompted your drive bys, it is also entirely possible that there is a reasonable explanation for his not being on the porch.

Maybe he was helping to fix the back porch that you can't see from the street. Maybe they were waiting on someone to come back with materials to begin the job. Maybe they went to get something to eat before they started. I could list one hundred and one reasonable explanations for him not being on the porch. So don't automatically assume that he is up to something nefarious.

Whatever the reason for your lack of trust it is this, not whether or not he was on the porch, that you need to focus on. Most relationships where trust is lacking do not last very long and those that do last tend to be very unhappy ones. If he has cheated on you or has some other issue that caused this insecurity of yours then you have a decision to make. You can either end the relationship because the issue is a deal breaker and making you crazy or you can continue in it and see if he is able to regain your trust.

If you are insecure not because he has done anything, but because you are simply insecure, then you need to do some work on yourself. You can start by assuming that someone is worthy of your trust until they break it. Do not do things like drive by, make phone calls, or otherwise try to catch them in a lie. Those behaviors, aside from making you nuts, will put your relationship on the skids with predictable certainty.

I'll tell you a little secret, too. You cannot stop anyone from doing something that they want to do. No matter how closely you keep tabs on them or try to keep them within eyesight at all times if they want to cheat on you, lie to you, etc... they will. They will make their own choice in that and will be responsible for it. You can only choose for yourself, not for them.

So, talk to your boyfriend. Don't accuse him, but tell him you drove by (once, no need to make him think you are nuts) and didn't see him on the porch. Mention it in passing and see what he says. Or you could just forget the whole thing and wait until he does something that is worth that kind of conversation. Your call.


Questions can be sent by using the messaging system at the top left of the page or by emailing me at arlene.l.green@gmail.com. Answers will be posted every Tuesday and Friday.



Author tags:

advice, reality check, 411

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
"I'll tell you a little secret, too. You cannot stop anyone from doing something that they want to do. No matter how closely you keep tabs on them or try to keep them within eyesight at all times if they want to cheat on you, lie to you, etc... they will."

I like this new "Dear Arlene" column. Keep it going please.

But the above pull quote is getting me closer to my next big blog, so beat me too it, please! I want to Open Call on cheaters and cheatees. I'd rather you cover it because I get the feeling from your quote this is not uncharted territory for you.
Beat me "too" it? My homophone problems continue. Sorry.
You're a wise woman, Arlene. This post is good enough for me to scroll back up to the top to rate it (another engineering spark of brilliance).

I think you should be our regular 'Dear Abby', only smarter and more liberal (and without the retro hairstyle).
I thought your advice was correct and that's what I would have suggested, too. If you can't trust, then you're in trouble with the relationship.
Dear Arlene,

I have a friend, Mary, who has an intolerable boyfriend, Joe. He's 26 but acts like an insecure 14 year old, with a giant superiority complex. His favorite phrase in the world is "No, actually [insert comment]." He contradicts people who are much more knowledgeable than him on any particular topic. I have another friend, Bob. Once, all 3 were over for dinner. Bob had recently recovered from cancer. Joe proceeded to tell Bob, "So, doesn't that mean that you're much more likely to have it again, then?" and "Yeah, I had this scratch on my leg a few weeks ago, it's was pretty bad." At a Christmas tree decorating party, Joe and Mary showed up, and then Joe proceeded to demonstratively sit on the couch by himself and insist he's not going to participate in the decorating.

Joe is so intolerable that many of Mary's friends have stopped hanging out with her because he's always in her tow. Joe doesn't have many friends of his own, so basically, they have very few friends, and she's always calling me to hang out with the two of them.

I simply can't force myself to hang out with Joe & Mary out of pity for Mary being abandoned by all her friends. I do like Mary, but it seems impossible to hang out with her without Joe being there.

Is it okay to stop hanging out with both of them? Just disappear from the face of the earth? What do to?

I'm Not Actually a Bitch in Real Life
PS Also, Joe is a Ron Paul supporter.
A great post, Arlene! I also hope that you keep doing these, and especially with a tag that will make them easier for us to find and reference... because you know we're going to need to.

MB, I was already going to say that you must be an extraordinarily patient bitch, but that was before your p.s. about Joe being a Ron Paul supporter. Now, I am speechless. Certainly, you need no permission to quit hanging with your friend... but I hope you'll let us know what happens.
Thanks, ktm. The bar exam had been providing me with sufficient cover for not hanging out, but that's about to be over. She's a nice enough person, and I don't want to lose her as a friend, but i'm afraid I have no choice. I'll let you know what happens. :)
Thanks guys. My plan is Tuesdays and Fridays. I was actually going to do one more on this post but life got in the way. Tags...I could only think of "advice" so, quick, someone give me a pithy tag to put on them.

Dear Not a Bitch,

I wouldn't drop of the face of the earth. I tend to favor a direct approach to most things. Dropping off the face of the earth leaves people hurt and confused. Directness may hurt them but at least they won't be confused.

Has anyone told Mary that Joe is an ass? Because he certainly sounds like an ass and it wouldn't hurt for someone to hand him a steaming cut of shut the hell up, either.

If it were me I would sit Mary down and say something like, "Look, I really like you and like to spend time with you but your boyfriend makes me want to throw things. Like him through a window. I don't want to lose your friendship but I don't think I can hang out with Joe another second."

One of two things is going to happen there. Either she will be hurt and angry about this and decide you aren't her friend and then you won't have to dodge her invites, however, when and if she ditches Joe the Blowhard, she will probably call you first. Or she already knows Joe is an ass and she values you enough to try and do things without his constant presence.

I'm just not a big fan of the drop off the earth method of avoiding irritating people. I tend to think in most situations directness is kinder in the long run. This one sounds like one of those situations.

Arlene, "advice" will probably suffice, but you could also use something like SYA-alt, or would that get you into trouble with the Salon umbrella?

Otherwise, "help" "life-coach" "survival tips" "life-911" or "411" if it's less emergent ...things along that line. For one thing, a few tags like that are ones that other people might also adopt when appropriate, even when they can't use the "advice" tag.

MB: Arlene's advice sounds pretty good. In fact, I wondered to myself whether you could just tell your friend that her BF was completely unacceptable to her friends... but I was so awe-struck by your patience that I couldn't add anything else.
I just thought of another one: Reality Check. It could be either a tag, or the beginning of a title for a blog post, e.g.: Reality Check: [insert today's topic or question].

You really are good with the reality checks, Arlene. Living up to your Capricorn birthday.
"from she who must be obeyed" could be your tag.

And MB, find out his schedule and arrange time for friendlies with her when you know he cannot attend. Otherwise, you must eventually drop the pair and find new friends with new problems.

I would hang out with you and I would make your dire feminist heart laugh until your snorted Starbucks frapa's out your nose...but I am far away.
Ooooh, I like "Reality Check". Especially as a part of the title for the advice posts. I'm going to take that one.

SYA-alt made me giggle. That's sort of how this all got started on the forums. Cary Tennis is a well meaning soul and sometimes his advice is spot on but a lot of the time he seems to ramble into territory that has nothing to do with the actual question and on a few occasions he has given the crappiest advice I could think of.

People like to read him though and I am no exception. It was one night after reading him and yelling to my husband, "Bill, Bill! Listen to this! Can you believe he told them to do that?!?!" That Bill suggested I start my own column and take his questions that I think he screwed up on and give my advice for them.

Which, of course, I couldn't do...but I thought about it and decided I'd float a thread and see how it went where I could answer my own questions. So Cary and that idiot that took over the Abby column -- at least Cary always has something useful to say, she never does -- and Hax who is so invested in being hip she gets lost in her own pelvis were my inspiration for this.


"She Who Must Be Obeyed" is the pseudonym for one of the Table Talkers. I like it but it would confuse them.
"Reality Check" or "The Clue-By-Four" which could be cutely shortened to CluX4. Or not. For some reason that makes me think of chickens.....
Thanks for your advice, Arlene. I'll let you know what happens. I hesitate to tell her without her asking because I feel like, I don't know what goes on behind closed doors, maybe he's the guy who will put up with her shit and still love her, you know? I dunno. But I do know that Joe is ridiculous and intolerable.

sorry for hijacking this thread. I hope you'll take my original letter as a testament to your advisory abilities, and I think that "clue by 4" is really good.
rather than SYA-alt, could be Not That You Asked
So what's wrong with simple? Ask Arlene

or, could be Ask Arlene, Get an Ass Whuppin

goes with the name of your blog, sorta
JD, that Opencall would sure open a can of worms.
Nothing wrong with Ask Arlene. It's just kind of...bland. It is like calling all family sections Family or Life. I crave something punchier.


I'm certainly not going for that Open Call. For one thing my experiences with infidelity are old news and for another the person involved in them is my friend now. I'm not going to drag up the sordid details of something like that that happened 20+ years ago. I try to steer away from putting immediate family and friends under that kind of very personal spotlight. It isn't fair to them unless I start confessing my past sins.
What about "Get told by Arlene"?

Arlene, Resident Head-Examiner

Who needs to be hit with a clue-by-four?

Arlene, PhD., not certified, but certifiable (i kid, i kid! :))

Arlene, Clue Phone Operator

That's all I got for now.
Lord, I get accused of being a scold enough. "Get told by Arlene" would just cement the idea for people.

Some of those aren't bad, though.
Step Up And Get Hit By The Clue-by-Four
Shut up, y'all, Arlene's talkin'
too bad Miss Information is taken - on Nerve. Your advice tone is very reminiscent of hers.
Ask a Scold

Own it, own the term! :)
"Why You Are Wrong"
Arlene's WHAY with People
A WHAY with people

like the Grinning Americans and UP with People
Dear Arlene,

Ok, I had to drive three hours yesterday
work for three hours
and drive back three hours.

I cannot even make Acronyms of words that are spelled in front of me.

What Is Wrong With Me
After reading your post, I thought you had been hiding yourself from us under your blog title:

Arlene Explains it All - Just Ask
I like "Reality Check," simple but clever and to the point.

And no infidelity open call answers will come from me. Wounds heal for a reason. Or they don't and you need to leave.
I really liked Ask Arlene in TT but Reality Check is good too.

Great answer as usual, Arlene.
Wow, your new picture is awesome!
Glad you like it. I figure while I was making Bill take pictures of me for your project today I might as well get him to do a head shot too.
Arlene, is that you? Wow, great pic. Big difference from the other one, and not just the glasses, which ... wait, the old pic would be great with your new Advice Maven persona. But you're too pretty to hide behind them.

Ask Arlene is bland, you say? I say/said it's 'simple.' As in clear. Sometimes we over-achievers over-clever ourselves.

I really like Reality Check. If the Overlords go for it, could/should be a regular feature. IMNSHO
Yes, you look like a totally different person...an advice columnist...just kidding. You look kindof sultry...I bet your husband likes that pic, too! :)
I was feeling kind of bad about making a comment about what you may have perceived to be about your appearance. I am really glad you changed your picture, it makes your picsquare match your voice.

And I hope you like your rendition in the OS Women.

I can include anyone who writes here it you be like Arlene and send me a big picture! ( I mean you, Sally!)
Oh, hey, I'm not nearly thinned skinned enough to have been offended by that. Besides, it was about the picture. I figured out a long time ago that many of my facial expressions were never meant to be frozen for eternity.

I do like what you did with the one I sent you.