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Find out workaholic girlfriend's long-term plan

Q: Last night I had a very serious discussion with my girlfriend. We haven't seen each other in two months because she has been so overwhelmed with work (she got a major promotion in September, and she's essentially on the job 24/7). She admits with great regret and guilt that she doesn't really have time for a relationship, and openly accepts that she's at fault for our relationship sliding. She also offered me an "out," because she feels I deserve someone who can devote the time that she presently can't. The thing is, though, neither of us really wants to break it off, and I had said a while back that I was willing to wait this out with her. Do I wait in hopes that her job will ease up, or do I cut my losses and move on?

A: Since the alternative is that she broke up with you and you broke up with reality, I'll take your word for it that her promotion to the BioDome is all-consuming.

Would you wait out Peace Corps service, a military deployment, a hitch on a political campaign? How many tours would you stand?

If this stage of her career is just that, a stage, then a breakup would be shortsighted. No round-the-clock work situation is sustainable. Either she'll master the job or burn out.

Besides, you don't say that you feel disrespected, or that she's pulling away — you say (again, I'll assume nondelusionally) that you both want to stay together. So, stay together. Until you don't want to.

In the meantime, ask what she's thinking long-term. There are people whose work is part of them, and others for whom it's a means to an end. She may not even know which she is, but it sounds like both of you need to find out.

Leave girl at home to spare boy's feelings

Q: Can you settle an argument? My stepbrother is getting married this summer. The couple has asked my

5-year-old to be in the wedding as the flower girl.

However, they have decided they "do not want children" at the wedding and are not inviting my 7-year-old son. My entire family is invited, including my parents (who would have babysat my son that day) and my brothers and sisters.

Does it seem weird that my entire family unit is invited, but not my son? How do I explain the exclusion to my son (who, by the way, is very close to the groom)?

A: Apparently there's a rule that brides and grooms have to prove they've lost their minds.

Maybe there needs to be a rule for the people they hurt: Don't respond in kind.

You're upset about your son's exclusion, which is understandable. However, the couple didn't deliberately exclude him. They made two perfectly normal decisions — excluding kids, and including a flower girl — that achieved mind-loss (and forehead-slappage) only in combination.

Instead of protesting the bigger decision, which you have no standing to reverse, gently reverse the smaller one, in which you do have standing: You and your husband enjoy the wedding, and hire a sitter for both of your kids. Your daughter can forgo 15 seconds of fame so your son doesn't get hurt.

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Find out workaholic girlfriend's long-term plan 03/03/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:24am]
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