Q. My girlfriend and I are moving in together but I’m worried about her pressuring me to stay home more. We each do our own things on Friday nights (I usually hang out with friends; she stays home and watches TV or reads a book) and then we spend the weekend together. She says she knows we are different and will give me space, but am I really going to be able to leave her home alone? — Different Strokes
You might feel pressure, true. No matter how compatible a couple is, there are typically at least a few contradictory habits. But bridging those gaps is part of navigating a healthy living-together situation. Honesty and respect are key. Tell her that you like the rhythm of things as they are, and you want her to be content too. Ask her what her ideal situation is, and how you two can approximate making you both happy. You may find that she actually values her alone time as much as you do.
Or, it might be that it feels better to gradually merge your social circles a bit more. If you communicate and value each other’s needs, you’ll work it out.
The fallout of the falling out
Q. I recently had an ugly falling out with a very close friend and ended several years of drama (she is selfish, takes advantage of people and lies). I am at peace with the friendship ending, but nobody else seems to be. I find that mutual friends and family won’t stop asking where she is and what she’s up to. If I mention the rift, they urge us to work things out. What should I say in these situations? — Moving On
The beauty of these situations is that you need not say anything beyond your initial explanation. Depending on how well they knew her, their comments may have more to do with their own feelings about not seeing her anymore than about whatever happened within your relationship. Or it could just be the typical conversational filler that happens when people are uncomfortable hearing about an unfortunate situation. Practice your own filler, whether nodding or smiling or bringing up the infield fly rule. While you are at peace with the friendship ending, trust that others may take a while to get there — something you can model for them in the process.
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