Dear Carolyn: The behavior of a person who I considered to be my closest friend changed — irritable, sarcastic, snippy and mean, mostly to me but also to my partner. This went on for months. When I finally brought it up, this person told me it was my fault. I had become “negative,” it was intolerable and a “vacation” from the friendship was required.
Dear Carolyn: My partner of five years gets upset because I don’t miss him when he is away or during any time we are not together (we don’t live together). I’ve tried to explain to him that I don’t miss anybody, not even my son or grandchildren. Yes, I love to be with them and when I see them or him I am happy, but when people go away I just keep myself busy and don’t really think about what is not there. I think I just live in the present. I never get lonely and have a few friends that I see on a weekly basis. I have several sisters and see them at least once a month.
Dear Carolyn: I’m terrified about my boyfriend’s hobby: riding motorcycles. We’ve been together two years and in that time he has crashed twice, the last time totaling his bike. Thankfully, both times he only had minor injuries.
Dear Carolyn: I was in a long-term relationship that ended about six months ago, so I haven’t dated in nearly a decade. I have a few guys who are sort of vying for my affection (jeez that feels self-important to type). How does one decide?
CAROLYN: Met “Guy” through mutual friend. He is 23, just graduated from college, I’m 20 and have two more years. Had one-night stand with Guy over two months ago, continued having one-night stands about twice a week. Spent two weekends with Guy at the beach, had a wonderful time. We’ve never been on a date, talked about feelings, commitment or anything concerning “us” at all. We tease, play, argue for fun and enjoy our time together. I have strong feelings for Guy, suspect vice versa. It is known that Guy has had significant emotional trauma within past few years. We haven’t talked about that, either.
DEAR CAROLYN: My boyfriend of the past three months recently received an email from a long-ago ex-girlfriend, who apologized for the way things had ended and wanted to catch up with him. She was the love of his life in college and shortly after. She broke his heart, cheating on him five times with other guys. He almost committed suicide over her, and was severely depressed after they broke up.
DEAR CAROLYN: My girlfriend and I have had an up-and-down relationship for four years, complete with several breakups. We keep getting drawn back to each other – there are qualities we see in each other that we simply don’t in other people. But she is very demanding emotionally, and I end up feeling like I don’t have enough time for work, friends and non-shared interests. Her demands push me to the limit, and I eventually get angry. I’ve told her I feel worn out by her, that I can’t do or be everything she wants in a mate. Recently, I delicately brought up that she was high-maintenance. She told me that belittled her feelings, but her response was so practiced that it was obvious some other guys said the same thing. I know I can’t change her, but are there things I could do to foster a less high-maintenance style?
DEAR CAROLYN: My daughter’s friend “Jenny” told her in their 5th-grade classroom that if she didn’t get onto an academic team at school, her mom would pour hot tea on her; this was in the context of their learning that my daughter did get onto the team, and Jenny was an alternate.
DEAR CAROLYN: My smart, successful, and never-been-married 41-year-old daughter has recently become engaged to a twice-divorced man whom she has nothing in common with except a desire to not be alone anymore. I am worried she is his “retirement plan,” as he can’t wait to retire early from his job and live the expat lifestyle with her overseas. They have only known each other for a year, and six months of that have been long-distance. My daughter complains he won’t stop seeing his “ex-girlfriend/best friend” who lives in the same apartment complex as him — on a different continent — and it is making her insecure.