After weeks of flirting by phone, it’s time to ’fess up

Q: I was out with friends and got a random (and saucy!) text from someone who had clearly used a wrong number, and I responded as a total joke. But now it’s been a few weeks of flirtatious texting back and forth, and this person still doesn’t realize I’m not “Jenny.” I am single and curious if maybe this could turn into something, but mostly I just feel like I’m in a weird situation that I don’t know how to get out of.

A: After you’ve shopped this screenplay to some Hollywood film studios, you can examine your options. First, who’s to say he doesn’t already know? If not yet, then he will soon, regardless of your actions – but that’s not to let you off the ethical hook. He deserves to know.

Come clean, saying you let this get out of hand and you apologize, and that it sounds crazy, but if he ever wants to get coffee, you’re game. But be safe! You know even less about this person than some random stranger you’ve laid eyes on. As you’ve demonstrated (ahem), he could be absolutely anyone – and not at all who you’re expecting.

Q: I’ve been dating a wonderful man for a year, but everything recently fell apart. I found out he was sneaking around. He lied at first but then admitted it. And then I found an old phone that had messages to his most recent ex in it. We’ve been arguing constantly since. I despise cheating (I’m a love child). Another bad thing is I’m in Maryland and he’s in Georgia. I am absolutely in love for the first time, but I am not in love with what he’s done. Should I leave him alone or try to forgive him?

A: Let’s see – dishonest, unfaithful, disrespectful. When’s the wedding?

I’m guessing you realize you don’t need my guidance here. You’ve answered this for yourself. He’s wronged you and you haven’t been getting along. Plus, um, he stinks. Count your blessings that he doesn’t live nearby, tell him it’s over and break off contact. Keep yourself busy with friends and new interests (and enjoy the lack of arguing). Do whatever you can to let yourself grieve and move forward stronger and with more clarity than before; that will be the gift of this experience. A friendly hint: It will include some real exploration of how you could call this jackanapes “wonderful.”