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I Broke Up With My Boyfriend. Can I Date His Bandmate?

I broke things off with the man I’ve been dating for eight months. He is a wonderful person, but we couldn’t make our relationship work. Because of Covid, we quickly decided to date exclusively, and that created an illusion of intimacy that never really existed. My conundrum: I am very drawn to a man my ex introduced me to and with whom he works. (They are both musicians.) I know my interest is reciprocated, but I don’t want to damage their friendship or steal my ex’s joy in making music with his friend. What should I do?

EX-GIRLFRIEND

Let’s come back to the “bro code” later. I would rather focus on you. Often, when we’re in the wrong relationship, what looks right to us — from the vantage of things not working — can be off the mark. We tend to overcorrect for the qualities that bothered us, jumping from withholding to smothering, for instance, or vice versa.

Now, you say you moved too quickly the last time. So, slow down! There is no rush here. Take some palate-cleansing time on your own before you think about dating again. Get back to the stand-alone version of you. That’s the best position for considering who or what may enhance your life.

If you still want to pursue your ex’s friend in a few months, talk to him then. He may reciprocate your interest but not want to jeopardize his work or friendship with your ex. Or he may be keen to date. There’s no reason to let an eight-month relationship rule your life, but you will be doing everyone a favor — especially yourself — by taking a beat to reset before starting something new.

I moved to Los Angeles last year to sublet an apartment from a friend. A year later, I am still in the apartment, and he is in the same faraway city with a new wife and baby and enough work to ensure that he probably won’t come back. He told me to make the apartment my own. I mentioned selling some furniture, and he didn’t seem to care about the proceeds. The only thing he wants, he said, is a shelf of records and books. So, can I sell his complete set of “Breaking Bad” DVDs on eBay?

FRIEND

Listen, you seem to think your friend’s offer is too good to be true, and you want me to tell you that it isn’t. But I can’t do that! If your friend didn’t give you explicit permission to sell his things and keep the money, better to confirm your understanding now than to squabble about it later.

Tell your friend what you propose selling and make sure he doesn’t object or want a cut. You are probably underestimating the hassle for him to return to Los Angeles to empty the apartment. Still, it would be a shame to imperil a friendship over a few hundred dollars.

My brother lives in Austin, Texas, and is hosting a bat mitzvah for his only daughter. I live in California. As an overweight senior, I have not traveled or attended indoor events during the pandemic. I would love to support my brother and niece, but I don’t feel comfortable navigating airports, flying or attending a large indoor ceremony and reception. My other brother told me if I don’t go, I will “irreparably damage” my relationship with our brother. What should I do?

BROTHER

Now that we’ve been left to our own devices on masking during domestic travel (and often asked to respect the choices of others — as if they didn’t affect us, particularly the immunocompromised), I understand your worries. Masks may be required at the bat mitzvah but probably not at a reception with food and drink. I would ignore the dire warnings of your other brother and call the father of the bat mitzvah girl.

Share your health concerns and your disappointment at missing an important family event. If you can afford it, offer a generous gift to your niece. Or invite her and her parents to California for a West Coast celebration. Explain to your brother that you know this isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s the best one you can manage. I hope he understands.

I have a childhood friend I see once a year. An acquaintance told me she discovered that her husband and my friend have been having an affair for 10 years. She came to me because I am mutual friends with them on Facebook. She was going to confront my friend, but I don’t know where things stand. This left a bad taste in my mouth, and I am not interested in seeing my friend again. When she gets in touch, can I put her off or must I explain myself?

FRIEND

So, you want to dump a childhood friend based on the report of a near rando. That seems judgmental and, even if true, a harsh response to a probably complicated situation that is none of your business. I suggest taking a thorough moral inventory of your life to confirm your perfection before condemning others. Otherwise, tell her you’re busy if she calls.


For help with your awkward situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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