Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Husband suddenly acting controlling and not sure why? Girlfriend rushing to move in together and you aren’t ready?

DEAR NATALIE: I’m having a bit of a problem with my marriage. Recently, my husband insists on knowing where I am at all times. He constantly calls me to “check in” with what I’m doing, and whenever the weekend hits, he never wants to do anything unless we do it together. It is really annoying. We also have two kids, and with him acting this way, it feels like three. Can’t he just trust me? I don’t bug him at work all day! -- TOTALLY ANNOYED

DEAR TOTALLY ANNOYED:I wonder why this behavior has suddenly appeared? Sometimes, when we feel insecure about something that we are doing ourselves, we project it onto other people. What is he doing during the day that maybe he is feeling guilty about? Is there something he is hiding? When he suddenly takes an interest in what you are doing with your time, it makes me wonder what he is doing with his. Investigate this. Is he worried you are having an affair? Is he having one? I’m not trying to sound the alarm, but there is clearly something else happening here below the surface. Either he has some sort of insecurity and fear that you are going to leave him, or he is doing something that he feels guilty about and is projecting that onto your marriage. Either way, sit him down and get to the bottom of this before he drives you (and himself) completely insane.

DEAR NATALIE: My girlfriend claims that I am no longer “emotionally available” after we discussed moving in together, and I told her I wasn’t ready for that. We have been dating only a year, and I’m just not ready for that step. We both turned 30 this year, and she is very focused on “taking things to the next step” — meaning marriage and children.

I’m very focused on my career right now and am not ready for any added pressure. I love her, but how do I convince her to slow down? — TOO MUCH TOO SOON

DEAR TOO MUCH TOO SOON: It is important that you are both on the same page as you move the relationship forward. Easier said than done. I don’t blame you for being career focused at your age, and I also don’t blame her for wanting to take things to the next step, either.

The answer depends on what you can both live with. If you aren’t ready to move in together yet, talk about a timeline that you feel is feasible. Maybe you don’t move in until you are engaged or when you both are more financially stable. Whatever your reasoning is, make it clear to her as to why you are waiting. Let her know that you love her and want to eventually take those next steps — assuming that you do! — but that the timing isn’t right. Then, the ball is really in her court. Find a compromise or move on.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Not someone who is good at starting conversations but know someone who is? Bring an outgoing friend with you to your next networking event with the intention of having him or her introduce you to people you want to meet. Your friend will get some new connections, too, and the satisfaction of helping you as well.

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, nbencivenga@post-gazette.com; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)