Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Ask Natalie: New boyfriend acting possessive and you haven’t even met in person yet? Feeling depressed about 2021?

DEAR NATALIE: I have been seeing this new guy for about a month now and he has already told me that he isn’t seeing anyone else. He wanted to know if I am seeing anyone else. We haven’t even met in person yet because of Covid-19. We mostly just talk over FaceTime and text throughout the day. He’s nice. I like him, but I am talking to other people. I told him the truth, and now he is mad at me. Was I wrong? What do I do now? —FREE BIRD

DEAR FREE BIRD: If he’s acting this possessive now, what would he be like in person? I give this one a hard pass. No thanks. You told him the truth, which was the right thing to do. He had no right to be angry with you, and the fact that he was is a big red flag to me. I would lose his number. Who wants to see where that road leads? Trust me, it won’t lead anywhere good. If you decide to give him one more chance, however, I would tell him that his reaction was alarming, unnecessary and made you feel uncomfortable. If he doesn’t apologize or show you that he won’t act that way again, lose his number. If he realizes that he was out of bounds and starts treating you like a person and not an object to possess, that’s great. Just remember, love is not control.

DEAR NATALIE: Normally I am very excited around the new year approaching. I have made vision boards in the past, I have thrown parties to celebrate the new year, and I have always focused on my goals, picking up new hobbies to try. But, this year, I want to do nothing. I don’t want to celebrate, I don’t want to plan, I don’t want to do anything. My friends are worried about me, they say that I’ve been acting depressed. They are right. I am depressed. I’m scared for the future and scared for what’s next. If I don’t make any plans, then I can be disappointed. That’s what I keep telling myself. But my husband is encouraging me to have a (very small) dinner with a few of our close friends on New Year’s Eve. I have no energy. How do I get out of this funk? I don’t want to be like this but I feel very down about the world. —NO NEW YEAR

DEAR NO NEW YEAR: The idea that everyone should just pretend that nothing has changed and carry on like they would any other year is delusional, insensitive and irresponsible. It is completely fine for you to decide to sit this one out. There is no law that says you have to participate in any of these festivities, even if you have in the past. It is fine if you don’t feel like planning for the future right now. For a lot of people, just surviving the present moment is enough. Give yourself some grace, some space and some time to digest everything that is happening. If you find that months from now you still feel exactly the same way and it is inhibiting you from your living, then reach out to a therapist for support. But in this moment, in the right here right now; curl up on your couch with a good book or a movie and take this time to heal, to grieve and to reflect. It is OK to just be. 

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