Too Much Togetherness?
Q: My long-distance girlfriend recently moved to my city so we can live together. Our relationship has never been better, but she hasn't made any effort to make new friends or develop her own connections. I love spending time together, but I can't be her only friend! How can I encourage her to make her own life here — and give me a little space, too? -- Andre, 36
Dr. Susan: Be patient with your girlfriend. It's not easy to start over in a new city, and you're the only one she knows or cares about so far. You can help her by brainstorming a list of some activities that are convenient to get to, that might fit her interests. An art class? A gym membership? Ask around for referrals to a book group for her (often hosted by bookstores).
Be honest with her about your need for a little breathing room. If she's shy, she may be slow to make friends, but she can still spend some time away from you. Do you have any female friends who might relate well to her? Any guy friends with sisters or female friends of their own who might go out with her just to get her started? If she continues to make no efforts on her own behalf, I see some counseling in your future.
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Advice for Her
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.