DEAR NATALIE: I have been dating this guy for about a year. Since Covid hit, things have been a challenge and so we moved in together three months ago. Things are going pretty well. My friends have all met him and never seemed to have an issue with him. But recently, one of my best girlfriends told me that she thinks he is a “manipulator”--among other things she called him--and that I shouldn’t be dating him. I don’t know where that came from. He was really friendly with her and never seemed to cause any issues. Do you think there is any merit to what she said? She recently broke up with her boyfriend and I am wondering if that had anything to do with her nasty comments? —UPSET WITH MY FRIEND
DEAR UPSET WITH MY FRIEND: This sounds like a lot more is happening with your friend under the surface. Maybe she is projecting her own frustrations about her breakup onto you. Maybe she really does feel this way about your boyfriend and--for whatever reason--waited until now to share her thoughts. Why are you worried about what she said? When you wrote: “Do you think there is any merit…” I wondered if you had any underlying doubts. Now that she has brought them to light, you are questioning yourself. If I were you, I would ask her to be more specific about her concerns. Actively listen and see if there are any red flags that you may have missed. If there are, reflect on them and ask yourself if they are relationship deal breakers. If not, let her know that you appreciate her thoughts but that you are content in your relationship. At the end of the day, you don’t have to prove your relationship to anyone. You don’t have to justify it. Just make sure that your partner treats you with respect and vice versa. Without respect, trust and love, it’s just a house built on sand.
Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to
email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter
@NatalieBenci and on Instagram @NatalieBenci
DEAR NATALIE: I have been dating someone for about five years and he moved back home to take care of his elderly dad during Covid-19. We are now six hours apart (driving distance) and it is really taking its toll on our relationship. I have a stable job where I live, and I have no desire to move. He isn’t happy with moving away, either, but he feels that it is necessary right now. We haven’t seen each other in a month, and we have been trying to work out a schedule. It’s been hard just FaceTiming. I love him, but how can we possibly make this work, especially when he isn’t planning on returning home anytime soon. —DOOMED
DEAR DOOMED: How hard do you both want to fight for the relationship? People are in long distance romances all over the globe and make them work. Yes, logistically this is a challenge. But maybe you find ways to see each other once or twice a month. You could potentially meet halfway and stay at a hotel or rent an airBnB for a night or two. You can continue to FaceTime and text and call each other. If you work remotely, maybe you could stay with him and his dad one week a month if it is safe to do so. What your boyfriend is doing for his dad is really beautiful. He is sacrificing a lot to stay with him right now. He most likely needs your support. Not everyday is easy when you are with someone. But there is meaning here. There is an opportunity to strengthen and deepen your relationship. You just have to decide: What do you really want?