Ask Natalie

DEAR NATALIE: The new guy I am dating is great except for one thing. He was addicted to heroin for a while but has been sober and clean for about a year now. We started dating about six weeks ago, and things are going really well. He wants to move in with me, but I worry sometimes that his issue with drugs could resurface. I told him I would give him an answer as to whether he could move in this week. 

Here's the other issue: I have a great job in an advertising company, and he recently quit his job. He wants to go back to school and get his MBA. While I fully support him, this seems impulsive and a lot to take on. I don't know if I'm ready for this next step. What are your thoughts? -- SECOND CHANCES

DEAR SECOND CHANCES: If you were my sister, I would tell you, "Hell, no. He is not moving in." Why so blunt? One year clean is a great achievement, but in the big scheme of things, his sobriety is still relatively new. It also sounds as though he may be taking some of his impulsive behaviors and transferring them into the relationship -- hence wanting to move in so quickly after meeting you. 

I'm not saying that you shouldn't date him, but take it slow. I see a picture emerging of him on your couch, debating on whether to get an MBA, and you being too uncomfortable to tell him to move out or get a job. Ugh. Not a great peek into the future. Instead, watch his actions, not his words, and see if he actually can stay clean, start school and keep it together. If he seems like the path he is on is firm under his feet in another year or so, then take steps to be together more seriously. And for your sake, look into a local Al-Anon chapter to help you deal with being in a relationship with someone living with addiction. It'll help you stay compassionate, grounded, self-aware and able to make decisions best for you both.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Arianna Huffington said it best: "Collaboration is the new competition." No one is an island in the new business landscape, and if you want to increase your visibility, collaborate with like-minded people in complementary industries to help rally the audiences you have together to expand your reach (and potential sales). 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to nbencivenga@post-gazette.com or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

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

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