Q. My boyfriend and I are in our mid-20s. Two years ago, I moved to a new city (where he is attending school) to live with him. My friends from college live on the other side of the country. It has been hard to keep in touch, and it’s hard knowing they are all together without me. I haven’t really made any new friends here, and my boyfriend isn’t that interested in meeting new people right now since he is focusing on school. I did have one good friend who lived here at one point. We didn’t exactly have a falling-out, but it seemed like she moved on when she stopped returning my calls and texts. I don’t know what I did wrong.
Even though I’m trying to get over it, I’m still very insecure about friendships. My boyfriend gets really angry when I tell him that it is hard for me to talk to new people without constantly worrying about whether or not I’m offending them. He thinks I’m paranoid. I don’t mean to complain, but I just feel like I have no one I can open up to. How do I get past this?
A. No offense, but there is a touch of immaturity in a woman in her 20s fretting because her college friends are all together without her. It also sounds like the one local friend who pulled away has you thinking you’re not up to making and keeping friends. You clearly kept your college friends, so I would say the difficulty is in your head.
You might want to take an inventory of the strength of your feelings for your boyfriend. There’s a chance you’re not happy with him, rather than the city. If you are committed to being together, try seeing a counselor about your sense of social inadequacy.
Q. I’m a 30-year-old single mom who is a teetotaler. My mother was a recovering alcoholic by the time I was born, and I have never seen my dad without a beer in his hand. Growing up, my mom was adamant about not drinking or doing drugs, and I was in the unfortunate position of witnessing how irresponsible indulgence could really mess up your life. I was scared straight before I had a chance to want to try it and have never felt I was missing anything.
My current guy is a wonderful man who loves my son and me. Here’s the problem: If it’s just the two of us, I don’t mind if he drinks. His house, my house, out to eat, whatever, I’m OK. We can go out to dinner with friends, and I’m still OK. When a few friends are at his house, however, I get panicky and uncomfortable. The only thing I can think of is that I know everyone is going to be looser in a home setting; not being out in public, they tend to drink more heavily. I’m not sure how to deal with that, aside from just leaving. One guy in particular is usually the one who suggests going back to his place “to have some drinks.”
I just need to find a way to work around this one issue, because it won’t magically disappear. Other than this, we are very compatible, and things are just peachy. I could see myself getting old with this guy. I just don’t want to let alcohol ruin my life, despite my careful avoidance.
A. If you can enlist your significant other, perhaps the one guy who always wants to go back and “have some drinks” could be told the evening’s over. If your beloved would join you in declining the drinks after drinks, that would be a good and pragmatic solution. If he won’t, then call it a night before the others do. It is pretty well accepted that nothing interesting gets said after too much imbibing.