DEAR NATALIE: My relationship of three years has just fallen apart. My partner moved out last night, and I am so upset. She claims she fell in love with another woman. I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. She just packed her stuff up while I was at work and left. What do I do? I want to get her back but she seems over me. I’m so so so so so so sad. —BROKEN HEARTED
DEAR BROKEN HEARTED: I can’t even imagine coming home to this. I am so sorry. There was clearly a disconnect between the two of you that started long before she decided to move out. Think back. What were some of the possible signs? Were you intimate less frequently? Was she making up excuses not to see you? Were your fights becoming more frequent or were you just drifting apart? While you may feel blindsided in the moment, take time to reflect. Sometimes, we see what we want to see when we are in love. It wasn’t nice of her to run out on you like she did, but she may have had her reasons. Maybe she was afraid to confront you. Maybe she had been having an affair and didn’t want to admit it. It could have been easier for her just to leave. Whatever the reason is, you have two options. You can either accept it and let it be or you can continue to pursue her until she at least decides to talk to you to clear the air. But the truth of it is, if she wanted to be with you, she would be. I have to ask you: If someone treats you like this, walks out on you without explanation and throws away three years like it meant nothing, why are you trying to win them back? You deserve to be with someone who wants to be with you. See a therapist, work through this. Start over. Start with yourself. Reconnect to what it is that you want from your life and what you want from a partner. Time will heal, but do the work.
DEAR NATALIE: I just started dating this new guy, Steve. I really like him. We met through a mutual friend and really hit it off. The problem is, I went to a party with him the other night and his stupid, drunk friend was hitting on me. It made me really uncomfortable. He was being disgusting, saying gross things and then tried to kiss me. I didn’t tell Steve what happened, but now he wants to go out as a group again with this friend next weekend. I don’t want to go, but I don’t want to tell him why. Should I just make up an excuse and tell him I’m sick, or something? —GROSSED OUT
DEAR GROSSED OUT: Tell Steve what happened. You don’t have to lie. Ask yourself why you don’t want to tell him. Are you worried he will side with his disgusting friend? If he does, better to know the truth about Steve’s views early on than later in the relationship. I remember when I just started dating my now-husband and one of his friends called me a derogatory name. My husband dropped him like a hot potato the next day. It made me swoon that much more because I knew he had my back. You deserve to be with someone who can stand up for you and for what is right.
Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Reach out to your social butterfly friends for help expanding your network. Not everyone is extroverted or wants to be, but networking is a proven way to enhance your professional life. Ask your friends who “seem to know everyone” who you should connect with. Have them do an “e-introduction” and take it from there. You may be surprised as to what blossoms from just asking.
Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; 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.)