DEAR HARRIETTE: I have always been a homebody. I've lived in the Northeast my entire life, but after getting divorced from my high school sweetheart, I moved across the country to San Francisco to start a short-term job, just for a change. Immediately when I got there, I started seeing someone new whom I really like.
The short-term job has ended, and now I feel like I need to go back East. All my friends and family are there. However, I like this new guy, and I love the vibes in San Francisco. It is everything I want, but it seems like it’s too soon. I don’t want to rush into something, and I don’t want to let my family down because they don’t want to lose me or see me hurt again. What should I do? Stay here in San Francisco or go home to where I am comfortable? -- Homebody Away From Home, San Francisco
DEAR HOMEBODY AWAY FROM HOME: Good for you that you took the risk to move across country and try something new. That was courageous, and it proved that you can live outside of the bubble that had been your life. Consider it a blessing that you met someone with whom you want to spend time. With that said, it's time to slow down. You don’t have to move back home yet. Look around to see if you can find a job that will allow you to stay in California for a while. Make no commitments to your new friend other than you want to stick around to see how things blossom. You deserve a chance at happiness. Go slowly to see if this relationship has staying power. Tell your family that you are not ready to come back yet. Live your life.
DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I get drunk, I fight with my boyfriend. What makes it worse is that we are dating long-distance, so I don’t even see him in person; it’s all over text. I never have the intention of fighting with him, but it always happens. It upsets me so much, and I always end up crying the next morning. I will say things that I regret and don’t mean. He and I have been dating for two years now, and he says he doesn’t even care anymore because I do it so often. But I care. I am ashamed that I call him names when I drink. I know that if it continues, he’ll grow tired of it and want to break up. I don’t want to lose him. Do I need to stop drinking? -- Drunk Girlfriend, Cleveland
DEAR DRUNK GIRLFRIEND: Hopefully the challenges you have been experiencing are showing you something even more important than how your long-distance boyfriend reacts: You have a problem. You are aware of it.
Yes, repeatedly drinking too much and spouting off while drunk are signs of a drinking problem. Not being able to control your behavior when you drink is a problem that you should deal with head-on. You could lose your boyfriend if you don’t address your problem, but honestly, you can lose a lot more than that. Get help now. You can start by going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Look them up online in your area.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)