Friends concerned over couple’s spats
Dear Annie: I have a wonderful group of friends. We all met working together at a restaurant about seven years ago, just out of college. We’ve really grown up with one another. Two of them are a couple, “Ryan” and “Christine.” I love both of them to death, but in all honesty, Christine behaves ridiculously sometimes and is just not nice.
A perfect example: We recently rented a beach house for the weekend, in part to celebrate Christine’s birthday. On our first night, we had a barbecue. As we were eating, Ryan reached over and forked a couple of pieces of chicken. Christine scoffed and said, “Are you kidding? It’s my birthday, and you’re just going to take food off my plate without asking?!” Seriously? We were all embarrassed for Ryan and just blown away at how stupid the situation had become.
Now, we’re all used to these Christine-isms. She means well. As friends, we’re all able to just not pay attention to those moments or confront her if she’s downright mean. But we know they have been talking about getting engaged. We see how Ryan looks tired these days. He is truly in love with her, but it seems as if he’s exhausted from the relationship. My question is: Should one of us say something to him about it? – Holding Our Breath
Dear Holding: Keep holding your breath, because you’d probably be better off passing out than getting in the middle of relationship problems. Your heart is in the right place, and it’s great Ryan and Christine have friends who care about their well-being. This kind of support will help them have a successful marriage if and when they decide to take that step.
Whoever is closest with Ryan can open up a general, judgment-free dialogue (e.g., “So, how is everything going with you and Christine?”) so he feels comfortable talking about any concerns. Likewise, Christine’s closest friends might encourage her to work on her temper. But stop short of telling either of them what to do in the relationship, lest you end up taking the heat.
Dear Annie: I have been seeing this guy for a little over a year now. We met at a mutual friend’s party while I was visiting New York. We had an instant connection. We were super attracted to each other and then found that we have a lot in common – the same sense of humor, same philosophies on life, same love of travel. It was immediately bittersweet, though, because he lives in New York City and I live in Los Angeles. We both felt that long-distance relationships never work, so we left our relationship as just friends, even though we both understood we were interested in more.
I travel to New York quite a bit and stay with him whenever I’m there. I always have a great time with him. I met up with him when I traveled to Asia, and we were inseparable. Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to getting serious with him, but there are a few other things aside from the distance holding me back. For one, he doesn’t currently have a job even though he’s been out of college for a few months. I worry he’s unambitious. But I feel that if I don’t give this a shot, I will always regret it. Should I give him a chance? – Confused
Dear Confused: Contrary to popular cynical belief, long-distance relationships can work. In fact, according to my research, about 10 percent of marriages in the U.S. started out as long-distance relationships. The key is to have a light at the end of the tunnel. Doing the bicoastal thing with no end in sight makes it harder to cope, and it also makes you miss out on the real world outside your computer screen. You can’t spend every Saturday night on Skype.
His unemployment is actually a plus here. There’s no job tying him to New York. Talk to him about working toward a future together in Los Angeles. Your chemistry sounds right, and now is the perfect time to test it out.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.