Advice columnist

Adapted from an online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

I have a friend who I thought was a really close friend. I backed out of being her bridesmaid because I am due to give birth that same month; I apologized profusely and gave seven months’ notice. I have gotten the cold shoulder since.

She has a long history of being extremely passive aggressive to others when they “wrong” her in some way that normally, after some time, she gets over. Despite her saying that “everything is fine,” she has not accepted any of my invitations, nor has she invited me to anything.

I know it’s time to cut my losses, but I’m having a hard time doing it. What do you think?

(Nick Galifianakis)

When to Cut Losses

She sounds less like a friend and more like a narcissist. I’m sorry.

Yes, it’s time to back off. If Miffy’s disappearance is about something other than being miffed at you, then she’ll come around when she’s ready to.

Dear Carolyn:

I’m always looking for the next thing: next job, next steps to what I’m going to do for the week, etc. Let’s call it an “itch.”

Well, I’ve dated the love of my life for the past year. I can’t see myself without him.

But that itch is knocking again. I want to leave our city and move on. He meanwhile has bought a condo and is finishing up with renovations. I know he wants to stay here for at least a couple of years.

I’m not sure how to kick this itch to the wayside. Advice? Stay with the love of my life, or leave the country for an adventure to I don’t know where?

Looking to the Next Thing

Sounds as if you need to figure yourself out: namely, which do you want to commit yourself to, your wanderlust or your desire for a “love of my life”?

You can try your best to balance both, but ultimately a partnership is going to commit you to treating your partner’s needs as equal to your own. That means you can’t act on your urges to move — or do anything you know will become a first domino — unless your partner is game for it.

So, it’s time either to accept that your next-thing urges are too strong to make you long-term relationship material, OR to find ways to satisfy your next-thing urges within the limits of a relationship.

Whether that means you agree that you’ll move or travel big once every [mutually agreed-upon time period], or restrict your job hopscotching to local employers, or redirect your newness jones to education or causes or interests you can pursue without moving — or find someone who shares your urge and will agree to a life of restlessness with you* — that’s all up to you.

But you’re at this crossroads now, so don’t just try to “kick it to the wayside.” Face it and figure it out. Oh, and tell him EXACTLY what you’re trying to do; don’t dither or string him along while you figure it all out.

*Even this will involve compromise, though, since you’ll have to agree on where you’re going and when. Know, too, that you’ll both be at high risk of getting restless with togetherness. You can’t assume itches discriminate.

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