Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Time to find out if you're sabotaging yourself in love
"Wife material": I'm in my 20s. I've been in three major relationships, and each one ended with the guy saying, "You're exactly the kind of girl I want to marry someday." What does this mean? Is it just something people say to soften the blow of dumping someone? I'd rather be the kind of girl someone does marry, rather than the one who gets dumped to make way for the next one, so I'm starting to take offense at hearing this again and again.
Carolyn: You're a cool one — I would have been offended at the first dropping of that makes-dumper-feel-better bull.
But as a three-timer, you need to look at yourself as the common denominator, to see whether you're sabotaging yourself.
Do you go for restless men, and present yourself as the sturdy accommodator? This isn't the only possibility, just a common one. And, seductive. Wanting someone to like you is strong motivation to try to please him, to be loving, supportive, hardworking, unflappable — i.e., to morph into Cliche Wife.
Of course, these traits are admirable ones, and so feel like the right thing to do. Where it all goes wrong is when you're pushing your own personality/needs/wishes/quirks aside to present this willfully low-maintenance front; healthy people, at least, want to be in a relationship with a full-fledged person, not a spousebot.
Again, this is just one common trap, and it's not necessarily the trap you're in — but it's so common that it's worth considering, if only to rule it out.
Pal could be nosy or concerned
New York: One of my friends remarked on the number of beer/wine bottles in my recycling bin. I hadn't really thought about it, but I do have one to two drinks every day. I'm not experiencing any ill effects, and I drink mostly with meals — I like the taste of wine or beer better than water or tea — but I'm super-petite, so I do sometimes end up buzzed after beer No. 2. Should I be concerned?
Carolyn: Have a look at www.niaaa.nih.gov for good information on alcohol and what constitutes abuse. The FAQs section is very straightforward.
Also consider your friend's motives. It's possible s/he was being nosy and presumptuous — after all, who knows how often you empty the bin, or whether you had guests recently, or ... ? — but it's also possible this friend already had concerns and used the bin as an opening.
Is friend's venom worth it?
D.C.: One of my friends hates my husband. It's a personality clash; she has never liked him, and he knows it. After a recent (rare) social gathering, she sent me a scathing e-mail about how she can't tolerate him.
How do I know when I should just "break up" with her over this? There are very few spouses/S.O.'s she deems acceptable. I am also upset because she's spoken her mind, I've politely listened, and I'm very happily married.
Carolyn: Question for you: Why isn't this an easy decision, at this point? If you do want to salvage the friendship, then you can certainly repeat for her the last line of your letter to me.