Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Ask Natalie: Lost job due to COVID-19 and girlfriend just dumped you because of it? Best friend super clingy and not leaving much room for your boyfriend?

DEAR NATALIE: My girlfriend of two years dumped me last week because I lost my job during the pandemic. She said that she is “sick of supporting me” and told me to get a job. I have been trying. It is really hard out there and unemployment hasn’t done much to help my situation. I have been applying for work everywhere that I can. I am really upset that she dumped me because we were talking about getting engaged this year. I’ve tried calling and texting her but she’s ignoring me. What should I do? I want my old life back. —EVERYTHING IS RUINED

DEAR EVERYTHING IS RUINED: I am so sorry to hear that you haven’t been able to find consistent work since losing your job. This pandemic has caused so many issues for people, including the stress of not knowing how you will make ends meet. I can’t help but wonder why you would want to get back together with someone who has treated you so harshly in this moment. Vows that include “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health…” are supposed to mean something. Why would you want to get engaged and marry a person who isn’t showing you that she can be there for you in the tough times? I would meditate on that. Maybe she is overwhelmed and emotionally fatigued by everything, too. Maybe this is a moment she needs to take and used your financial situation as an excuse to focus on herself. Take the hint. If she won’t call you to text you back, just give the situation some space. Focus on finding work, focus on getting yourself to a healthy place and then take a second look at this relationship. You may have a different perspective on it a few months from now. 

DEAR NATALIE: My best friend and I are roommates and while I love living with her, we have one big problem. Whenever I want to do anything with my boyfriend, she always wants to hang out with us. She had a bad break up this fall and she is lonely. While I love spending time with her, I also need to spend time with my boyfriend. He is very understanding of the fact that she is going through a tough time, but we also need alone time! Since the beginning of the pandemic, my roommate and I have both worked from home, too. We are around each other all day. My boyfriend lives with his parents and his mom is immunocompromised so we don’t spend a lot of time at his house. How do I fix this without hurting her feelings?

—LOVE MY CLINGY FRIEND

DEAR LOVE MY CLINGY FRIEND: You sound like classic BFFs who love each other. I think that is awesome and not something that everyone experiences. I am happy that you both have found a friend like that in one another. Because of the depth of your friendship, it is important that you set up clear and healthy boundaries for each other. It’s easy to become enmeshed when you live together and hang out all the time. Sit down with her and just tell her what you told me. You love being with her and you need to carve out time for your partner, as well. Sometimes we build things up in our heads and assume our friends will react one way, and then when they don’t, we wonder why we worked ourselves up into a frenzy about it. Just be honest with her, set boundaries, and see how it goes. She may surprisingly enjoy a little alone time for herself, too, and then everyone’s relationships will end up better for it. 

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