DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend and I live together. He doesn’t like to party or go out, but I do. I like to be with my girlfriends and have fun. All of my girlfriends are in relationships, too. Anytime I tell him that my girls want to go away on a trip, he tells me to go enjoy myself. When the day gets closer, he starts to tell me he doesn't want me to go because he doesn’t know what my friends and I will be doing and he's not comfortable with it. I know if I still go, he will just constantly call and text me and I won't enjoy myself.
At times, I feel trapped. I don't want to spend my life knowing there will never be an overnight trip I can take without him. I want him to be able to trust me, but he makes me feel like he doesn’t. Is this a trust issue or something deeper? -- Don't Want To Get Trapped
DEAR DON’T WANT TO GET TRAPPED: Since all of your girlfriends are in relationships as well, could you plan a couples trip? Perhaps if your boyfriend experiences being with the whole group, he may relax when you are just with the girls. That’s worth a try.
Outside of that, you may want to reconsider if this is the partner for you. If you and your girlfriends are truly just enjoying spending girl time together and he cannot accept that, he may be too controlling for your taste. Now is the time to figure out how compatible you two are -- that includes your values and practices. You need to have shared values in order to enjoy a long-term committed relationship.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I think my girlfriend is taking dieting too far. She has tried multiple different diets. Her whole goal is to lose weight and get in shape. But her drastic diets have caused her to lose sleep and become dehydrated, making her tired and unable to focus. Meanwhile, she does not work out, and she hasn't lost a single pound.
I can see she is straining her health, but there is no reward. She really thinks she feels a difference in her body and that it's for the best, but it's not. I've done research to help her realize she needs to eat healthy and exercise. I need help to guide her in the right direction and convince her to change her mindset. What resources can help her diet safely? -- Concerned Friend
DEAR CONCERNED FRIEND: Suggest that your girlfriend schedule an appointment with her doctor to get a complete assessment of her health. Her physician can refer her to a dietitian, who can design an eating plan that is healthy and low in calories. Be your girlfriend’s advocate and go with her if she allows you to. Encourage her to get professional, medically sound advice on how to move forward. With proper diet and exercise, she should be able to get her weight and health under control, but it is not easy. Do your best not to be judgmental as you encourage her to seek medical help. Be a cheerleader.
(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.)