DEAR HARRIETTE: I am dating a woman who is “one of the guys.” It’s a long-distance relationship for the two of us, which complicates things to start, but my issue is that she has this group of guys she hangs out with, and she gets all glammed up to hang out with them, drinking all night and laughing it up. Worse still, the guys she tends to hang with I consider to be thuggish. It worries me that this is how she spends her time -- especially since they often go out and get drunk. I am concerned about her safety and even about her choices. I don’t want to sound like the overprotective boyfriend, but her behavior disturbs me. She says I should stop being so jealous and paranoid. How can I get her to see that she might be in danger? -- Not One of the Boys
DEAR NOT ONE OF THE BOYS: For a relationship to work, you need to foster shared values. This is always true, and it's glaringly important when your bond is long-distance. How each of you spends your free time matters. Yes, you should trust each other, but trust is earned. It is fair that you re concerned that your girlfriend is dressed up and drinking with a group of guys on a regular basis. Even the best-behaved people can loosen up under the influence of alcohol.
The thing is, you cannot control her behavior. You probably do sound jealous and paranoid. You believe it is for good reason, while she brushes it off. It is hard for you to make ultimatums from a distance. What you have to decide is what you are willing to accept. Stop badgering her. That never works. If you can’t accept her extracurricular activities, you will have to determine if this is a deal breaker. Or is it time for the two of you to live in the same town? Talk values, and make up your mind.