Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My girlfriend Amber is in her early thirties. She took a new job in September and many of her co-workers socialize together on a regular basis. She goes to events with them regularly and it has been a big shift in our relationship because at times it seems like these new friendships are her number one priority. Her co-workers are a bit younger and still single, and they like to go out and drink often.
I have tried to be understanding since on one level I am glad she has met people she enjoys spending time with. We are new to this area and I know she missed some of her old friends in New York. Still, it does seem like she goes out a lot with these people. When I brought it up to her, she was defensive, asking me, “Don’t I want her to have friends?” So I’m uncertain how to pursue this further.
Because she is not responsive to your concerns, you have encountered a very red flag. It is probable that the validation she seeks from these people, whether romantic or just platonic, has superseded her main relationship. If it was at least equal, she would reassure you and make accommodations. There is a bigger problem in your relationship.
It appears from your description that you are living together before marriage. While this can be a decent idea in the right circumstances, in a relationship without the proper communication, it is a hot disaster. You are not committed enough to one another to overcome these problems, so they will fester for as long as this situation persists. The best thing to do to get ahead of this situation, and give it a chance of succeeding, is to end things. If she really cares about you, this will be the wake-up call. If she doesn’t, at least you found out sooner than later.
My boyfriend Steven is a great guy. For some reason, he will lie about the dumbest things. When he lies, he is usually being deceptive for no reason, or to make himself seem busier or more interesting. On occasion, he will do it to get out of doing something with me, but it is always in a situation where truth would do just as well. He does not lie about anything important, but I still find this behavior disconcerting. Should I be worried?
Introverts are used to the expectations of extroverts. They may need more time to process the events of their daily life. Instead of simply explaining this, they often wish to do what extroverted people do, since this is more acceptable behavior in our society.
Also, it seems like Steven does not lie very much to you. Is it really a lie if the person you are telling it to knows you are telling a lie? Therefore Steven is a satirist, not a liar.
Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.