I don’t want to seem like the “bitch” girlfriend, but I feel like since I have no family and friends here he should consider that when he’s out. Am I going crazy? Has being without my family gotten to me so terribly that I’m becoming a monster and not wanting him to have a social life because I don’t have one? I want to go home so badly, but I don’t want to lose what we have. — Friendless in Georgia
Is there something in the water? Is this a generational thing? Is it a sign of the changing times? It seems like every other day I get a variation of this letter — a young woman missing her family and feeling resentful that the boyfriend has a social life/ doesn’t want to move/ doesn’t understand how lonely she is and how important it is for her to be close to family. Why is that? Why are so many young women unable or unwilling to make friends? Why are so many of them relying on their family and boyfriend to be their entire social life?
This is unhealthy. It’s unhealthy for you and it’s sure as shit unhealthy for your relationship. Have you even tried to create a social life for yourself? Have you ever invited a co-worker out for happy hour drinks? Have you signed up for a class and struck up a conversation with someone else? Have you volunteered anywhere? Have you joined a book club or a running group or a softball league? There are so many ways you can extend yourself to new friendships and fill some of the time between work and your relationship.
I don’t think you’re being a “bitch” or a “monster” for not extending yourself. I just think you’re being boring and lazy. It’s like you’ve given up before you’ve even tried. It’s like you have no interest in anything else besides your boyfriend and your family and the thought of taking any proactive steps to create a more layered life for yourself isn’t on your radar. If it were, the whole tone of your letter would be different. You’d be asking what you could do to create a fuller life or make friends. You’d be asking what you’re doing wrong and how you could take some responsibility of the situation (the situation here being your life). But you didn’t. You just wanted to know if you’re crazy for wishing your boyfriend had as non-existent of a life as you do.
Yes, that’s crazy. It’s crazy that instead of wanting MORE for yourself, you want LESS for him. It’s crazy that you’ve decided you can’t be happy without your family before truly trying to be happy. And staying somewhere for a couple years waiting around to be happy doesn’t count as trying. Happy doesn’t just happen to people. You have to pursue happiness. And by definition, pursuit takes effort. Relationships take effort. Personal growth takes effort. It takes pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and stretching out in that new space. It means embracing the temporary discomfort — the feelings of shyness and vulnerability and fear of rejection — that may arise when you put yourself in different surroundings and open yourself to new friendships.
It’s a risk, sure, but the reward you get is a richer life experience, a healthier relationship, and less boredom. Doesn’t that sound so much more fun than sitting around on a Friday night, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for your boyfriend to come home?
Regardless of whether or not your relationship works out (and I can promise you it won’t if you keep behaving like you are), I hope you do pursue some interests and friendships outside work and family. You’ll be a better person for it, and the people in your life with benefit as a result.
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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].