by Natalie Dee

Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for a few months, and recently he told me that he's had phone sex with another girl once while we were dating. Do you consider that cheating?

A: If my husband had phone sex with someone who was not me, I would be pretty ticked off, and I would probably consider it cheating. But, that is me in my relationship, what is ok in yours is entirely up to you.

Some people would consider flirting to be cheating, or only intercourse to be cheating. Nobody is wrong; where you draw the line is a personal thing. It sounds to me that your boyfriend is a dick with bad decision-making skills, but whether or not he is cheating is up to you.

Q: So far I have managed to pretty much ignore the whole Harry Potter phenomenon. I am, however, an ex-student of English Literature and a lover of books and I'm aware that something quite unique is going on with this stuff. Yet, I'm still kinda reluctant to get into this whole thing. I've seen a couple of the movies and, well, they were good but not something to which I would dedicate my waking life. So Natalie: to Potter or not to Potter? Whatcha reckon?

A: Here's the thing, don't read the books cause you feel like you have to. Read them because they sound like something you might be into. I'm not planning on reading them because I like non-fiction, don't like children's books, and don't like fantasy stuff at all.

You don't have to like something just because a lot of other people do. However, the fact that a lot of people like something shouldn't discourage you from checking out something you might enjoy. If the Harry Potter book is something you would read if you just picked it up without hearing anything about it, then go for it.

Q: I have this best friend of 2 years and we tell each other everything. I trust her with any information and thought that she was the same. But recently I've discovered that she's been keeping things from me and won't admit it to my face. I don't know what to think, whether I can trust her or not. I don't even know what things she's done that she hasn't told me about.

Now because of this, I'm beginning to dislike her. I don't know if it's right to feel like that but I can't help it. Should I continue my friendship with her?
- Kristen

A: Your friend does not owe you total disclosure. To expect that is just really weird and immature. You share parts of your life with someone because you like them, and trust them to know things about you. You're not supposed to keep track and expect to share your life on a secret-for-secret basis. You don't even know what she is not telling you about. She might not have done anything.

Having a friend does not mean that you have to have no personal life at all. If you keep this up, you might not have a decision about whether to continue the friendship or not, because you will have driven your friend crazy and she will have run for the hills.

Q: I am 28 and have moved 18 times since the beginning of college. I'm on my 19th and still can't handle it. Moving makes me a basketcase, complete with hysterics, depression, and nausea. What can I do to make it easier or even bearable?

A: The key to making moving (or any other large project) bearable is to plan way ahead, and don't procrastinate. Start packing well in advance, by packing off-season stuff (pack up your sweaters and space heaters if you are moving in the summer, etc) and stuff you can easily go without for a month or so (decorative stuff, old books, etc.) You can always go around the house and pack a box of stuff in your spare time leading up to the move, and each box you pack in advance is one less you have to pack when you are all frazzled.

Another thing is to make sure you call to get all your utilities taken care of well in advance. Things like phone and cable and internet are sometimes a pain to get set up, and waiting until the last minute could mean that you will have to go without for a couple weeks once you are all moved in. If you really think about what you are going to have to do, and try to get cracking on it early, you can budget your time so you can take a break and relax once in awhile when you are on the final leg of moving and completely stressed out.

If moving a lot is going to be a permanent way of life for you, think about paring down your possessions to things you really really want and need, and maybe look into some furniture pieces that double as moving containers, so you are not always searching for or storing cardboard boxes all the time. You can get a nice steamer trunk and use it as an endtable on a day to day basis, and use it to pack up everything in your living room when you have to move. Keeping kitchen and bathroom stuff in storage containers makes it easier to pack and unpack those rooms, and keeps your house neater when you're not moving. If you know that you are going to move a lot, handle it like it's a part of your life rather than a catastrophe that keeps happening over and over and over.

Natalie Dee is a Columbus-based artist and writer whose work can be seen at To Ask Natalie, e-mail

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