The problem: My boyfriend bought me a beautiful piece of jewelry. I lost it. Do I tell him? Do I buy another one just like it to replace it?
Low road: Invite him out to dinner and tell him, enthusiastically, that it’s your treat because you got so much more money than you expected for his jewelry gift on eBay.
High road: If the giver were someone you don’t see often, I would suggest that you just feel sad for a while, because it’s a bummer to lose something beautiful no matter where you got it. Then move on. That might be easier to do if you imagine that a lucky someone was thrilled to find it and now treasures it. (And that’s a whole lot better than imagining it in a drain somewhere.) But this pretty piece came from your boyfriend, so he likely will be wondering why you’re not wearing it. If he never sees it on you, he might assume that you don’t like it, and that could be upsetting. But it’s doubtful you’ll be able to find exactly the same piece, and the search for it isn’t worth your time, energy and cash. So be honest. Explain to your boyfriend what happened, where you think you lost it, how you tried to find it, and how sad you feel because not only was it beautiful, it meant so much because it came from him. He might tell you it’s no big deal, especially if he’s buoyed by your positive affirmation of him. Or he might be upset (especially if he shelled out a chunk of change) but assume that he’ll get over it quickly. If he doesn’t, you have an important gem of information that is worth filing away as your relationship evolves.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad