Dear V: Girlfriend steals more than just hearts

Dear V,

A few days ago, I found out my girlfriend has a secret with a hefty price tag.

She shoplifts compulsively, and she’s somehow hidden this from me for the two years we’ve been dating. The other day, though, I ran into her at the mall. I was there by myself, and she was out shopping with a few friends from class.

I snuck up behind her to give her a hug, and I felt a lot more than just curves. Her pockets were filled to the brim with lipsticks, jewelry and perfume rollerballs.

I was angry and confused, so I left without saying anything. She later called me to apologize, claiming it’s just something she does when she’s stressed out. She explained that the “thrill” helps her get her mind off things.

I understand what she means, but I still think stealing is wrong. Even more than that, I’m upset she hid a secret this big from me since the beginning of our relationship.

I’m thinking about dumping my girlfriend, but that feels a little brash. What should I do?


Full-Price Fred

Dear Fred,

Don’t dump your girlfriend over spilled milk. Or spilled makeup, perfumes and accessories, to be exact. Everybody has flaws, and if you dig deep enough, you’ll find something wrong with everyone you date.

That’s not to say that what your girlfriend is doing isn’t wrong. Of course, stealing is against the law, and she’ll probably get caught soon enough. But the thing is, you’ve got to let her make her own mistakes.

If she had been hiding that she was cheating or something else that affected your relationship directly, it’d be much easier to say to cut your losses and move on. However, when it comes to stuff like stealing, gambling or drug use, it’s a bit more of a gray area on the dump-or-work-it-out scale.

Instead of jumping the gun and leaving your girlfriend in the dust, cool off for a few days. Sure, your impression of her may have changed, but once the initial shock wears off you’ll be able to see things more clearly.

Talk to her more about why she feels compelled to swipe. Maybe it’s anxiety or a klepto issue, or maybe she just likes risky behavior. Whatever the case may be, hear her out before deciding to end what sounds like an otherwise loving, happy relationship.

Once she opens up about her little habit, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on where you stand.

It’s time to tell Swiper “no swipey,” then see what happens from there.