Dear Margo: Feeling Cut Off

Margo Howard’s advice

Feeling Cut Off

Dear Margo: My boyfriend and I are in our mid-20s. Two years ago, I moved to a new city to live with him where he is attending school. My friends from college live on the other side of the country. It has been hard to keep in touch, and it’s hard knowing they are all together without me. I haven’t really made any new friends here, and my boyfriend isn’t that interested in meeting new people right now since he is focusing on school. I did have one good friend who lived here at one point. We didn’t exactly have a falling out, but it seemed like she moved on when she stopped returning my calls and texts. I don’t know what I did wrong.

Even though I’m trying to get over it, I’m still very insecure about friendships. My boyfriend gets really angry when I tell him that it is hard for me to talk to new people without constantly worrying about whether or not I’m offending them. He thinks I’m paranoid. I don’t mean to complain, but I just feel like I have no one I can open up to. How do I get past this? — Feeling Untethered

Dear Feel: No offense, but there is a touch of immaturity in a woman in her 20s fretting because her college friends are all together without her. It also sounds like the one local friend who pulled away has you thinking you’re not up to making and keeping friends. You clearly kept your college friends, so I would say the difficulty is in your head.

You might want to take an inventory of the strength of your feelings for your boyfriend. There’s a chance you’re not happy with him, rather than the city. If you are committed to being together, try seeing a counselor about your sense of social inadequacy. — Margo, introspectively

Put the Kibosh on the After-Drinks Drinks

Dear Margo: I’m a 30-year-old single mom who is a teetotaler. My mother was a recovering alcoholic by the time I was born, and I have never seen my dad without a beer in his hand. Growing up, my mom was adamant about not drinking or doing drugs, and I was in the unfortunate position of witnessing how irresponsible indulgence could really mess up your life. I was scared straight before I had a chance to want to try it and have never felt I was missing anything.

My current guy is a wonderful man who loves my son and me. Here’s the problem: If it’s just the two of us, I don’t mind if he drinks. His house, my house, out to eat, whatever, I’m OK. We can go out to dinner with friends, and I’m still OK. When a few friends are at his house, however, I get panicky and uncomfortable. The only thing I can think of is that I know everyone is going to be looser in a home setting; not being out in public, they tend to drink more heavily. I’m not sure how to deal with that, aside from just leaving. One guy in particular is usually the one who suggests going back to his place “to have some drinks.”

I just need to find a way to work around this one issue, because it won’t magically disappear. Other than this, we are very compatible, and things are just peachy. I could see myself getting old with this guy. I just don’t want to let alcohol ruin my life, despite my careful avoidance. — Uncomfortable Teetotaler

Dear Unc: If you can enlist your significant other, perhaps the one guy who always wants to go back and “have some drinks” could be told the evening’s over. If your beloved would join you in declining the drinks after drinks, that would be a good and pragmatic solution. If he won’t, then call it a night before the others do. It is pretty well accepted that nothing interesting gets said after too much imbibing. — Margo, soberly

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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44 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Pinky35 says:

    LW1, I had a similar experience, except I didn’t move that far away from my home. I realized that after college people just tend to go their separate ways, except for maybe a select few. What would be good for you to do is to find something that interests you, like a book club, joining a gym, or taking dance lessons at the community center. Activities are a great way to meet new people. I ended up joining a bowling league and met a lot of great people. After my son was born and started Kindergarten, I became friends with the parents of my son’s friends. I’m not sure how long you’ve been living with your boyfriend but if it hasn’t been that long give it more of a chance. I know it can feel discouraging and even make you feel like the problem is you because sometimes it takes a while to find like minded people. Don’t give up. You will make friends soon enough. I honestly think you are just feeling a bit homesick.

    • avatar Pinky35 says:

      I guess I didn’t read the letter carefully enough, she’s been living there for two years. Still, I would say get out there and find things that interest you. Make the effort to put yourself out there to meet people.

      • avatar luna midden says:

        what she never mentioned, Pinky, is whether she is WORKING??? Can we assume she graduated from School (BF in graduate school???). It sounds like her life has come to a HALT.. going nowhere. That is why I question whether she has a job.. or, a job in her chosen career. Very often, when things are not going right in our lives, we think back to better times-i.e.-the ‘jock’ reliving his ‘HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TRIUMPHS’ over and over and over again. This LW is not happy, so maybe she is ‘reliving’ those ‘GREAT COLLEGE DAYS’ when in all fact, they probably were not all that great, but, of course, you forget that part. And as for her friends all ‘in the same place’, unless she DID NOT GRADUATE, and she was a freshman, these college friends have graduated, and hopefully, found jobs, and probably do not see each other as much as she thinks. Some, probably do not see each other at all, but FB and an imagination will create wonderful fantasies.

        Yes, she has to look to see if she is happy with the BF. Even if he is going to Medical School, he can go out once every week or so-it soundslike she wants him to be her soul source of entertainment. (probably why the ‘one friend’ never returns texts, calls, she probably wrote to Margo on how to drop a friend). If she is happy, then, is she happy with work? (if she works?). This LW might have a problem with the fact that now, she is a GROWNUP, and has to make grownup decisions, and might be depressed over that. She is young, young enough to make friends easy enough UNLESS SHE IS CLINGY, ANNOYING,ETC. ETC. Suggesting a gym is good, but most people work out and leave. Bookclubs for her age group, church, synogogue (sp?) if religious (make sure the place of worship has social activities), or even, in large towns, cities, there are groups for 20s, 30s, etc, to go out and do activities, and it is not a match making site. She has to stop LIVING IN THE PAST..AND LOOK forward to meeting new people.  

        • avatar Pinky35 says:

          True that she never mentioned if she works or is just being lazy around the house all day, however, we can’t make assumptions on her personality or the type of person she is because of one little letter. I think you have made a lot of inferences here. I, for one, don’t believe she is acting immature, and isn’t accepting being a grownup. I think maybe she is just feeling a little lost, which is not uncommon for someone right out of college, in a city where she barely knows anyone. I think she is feeling maybe a little depressed, maybe homesick, and perhaps her BF isn’t the best guy she should be with. I do agree that she needs to try and move forward with her life instead of dwelling on the past. It is time for her to find herself and get involved in something that she loves to do.

    • avatar emma manderson says:

      Taking up some community activities to meet new people is always a good idea. But I never understand why joining a gym is suggested as a social activity. Working out is very much a private thing for me. I absolutely hate it when people talk to me while I’m red faced and sweaty. Last week I found myself on the next treadmill to a friend of mine and it was deeply awkward. And whenever guys try to hit on me at the gym it’s just creepy- fully clothed I am a confident flirt, but at the gym I feel really vulnerable in my state of semi undress. Surely I’m not the only one to feel this way?

      • avatar Pinky35 says:

        I guess joining a gym for social reasons isn’t the best idea for everyone. I don’t go to the gym but a frequent a running area in a nearby park and I’ve met people that way and even found those I can jog with on a regular basis.

      • avatar luna midden says:

        LW2-suggest going out for decaf coffee, dinner for a snack or, just ‘I AM TIRED, I HAVE WORK TOMMORROW’ (or whatever you have to do in the am.). If it is the same person time after time, he wants COMPANY when he drinks. Yes, the LW is ‘touchy’ BUT, she grew up with an alcoholic and a parent who ‘ALWAYS’ had a drink in their hand. (been there, done that, and you react, and do not realize you are, to that, YEARS LATER.)

        What she can do, when they are at her house, her BF’s house, is to have plenty of snacks (not the chip type only, but heat up type, filling types, and plenty of mixers.. non alcoholic. She can even look up ‘recipes’ for drinks to try and offer them up, that have non alcoholic mixers in them, and mix alittle more in them, to  make her feel better. But, in the end, she either needs Alanon (long overdue) or a counselor and needs to understand that she cannot change other people. She of course, can make sure, if someone has had too much, make D%*^& sure they do not get behind the wheel though.


  2. avatar David Bolton says:

    LW1: When you move to a different city, it should be because you have an opportunity to advance your life—whether it’s with school, a career, because you’re interested in the city, it’s people, culture, etc. Moving FOR someone is a dangerous proposition, especially when you are leaving behind aspects of your life that you aren’t necessarily ready to leave behind. I disagree with Margo about how fretting over your friends is a sign of immaturity. College friends can often be lifelong friends—and it sounds like they are a much stronger emotional support system than a BF who gets “really angry” with you regarding your insecurity about establishing new friendships, especially in the wake of a failed one. While I’ve never been able to successfully rewind the clock and try to recapture an earlier time (and I don’t think this is particularly healthy for anyone to do anyway), there’s nothing wrong with moving back if you feel like it’s good for YOU and what YOU should do at this point in your life. If you feel like you’re running to escape a problem, I would concentrate on fixing that first and then determine whether you should stay or go.

    And keep in mind that a BF who is unsupportive of your need will often be unsupportive of your need/s.

  3. avatar TeresaMac says:

    LW1 – I read a great book called “MWF seeking BFF: My Year Long Search For a New Best Friend”, by Rachel Bertsche. The author moved to Chicago after college with her husband (his hometown, and where she went to college and met him), and found that it was much harder to make friends as an adult in a new place than it had been when she was at school. She really does a great job explaining why it’s so hard to make new friends as an adult, researching all the possible ways to meet new people, and then putting the plan into action. And she’s very funny, which helps a lot too. There’s nothing wrong with having a hard time meeting new people, especially when you’ve taken a couple of knocks, and your confidence is low.

  4. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: I think the issue is also your relationship with boyfriend. If he were fulfilling more of your social needs, you wouldn’t feel so needy. This may be a deal-breaker. But you must take steps to move forward regardless. Your college friends will marry, have children, divorce. Estrangement will happen eventually, whether you like it or not. You’ve got to learn to adapt (and no, that hasn’t always been easy for me either). You seem to want to live “frozen in time” – have indefinitely what’s already moving to the past. Talk with your boyfriend about filling more social time, going out as a couple (and yes I know how demanding college can be).

    L #2: You feel uncomfortable with lots of people and the drinking getting out of hand. You seem (legit) worried that boyfriend might develop an alcohol problem. It’s your relationship; dissuade him from hanging out much with the heavy-hitters. I’ve never understood “drinking as a hobby”; genuine alcoholism aside, I’ve never understood people who apparently can’t pick up a good book, attend a play (even if local “Little Theater”), etc. The dead-heads can have their endless cans of beer (good grief, I couldn’t drink that much skim milk). Your boyfriend might also need you to help keep him clear of falling into alcoholism. Do him that favor.

    • avatar Jennifer juniper says:

      That not really what LW2 said. She didn’t indicate that the drinking gets out of hand, she said that they drink more. She didn’t even say that anything particularly unpleasant happens. This is her issue, not her boyfriend’s. If she requires for her boyfriends never ever to get a bit drunk with friends, that really needs to be spelled out clearly to any potential long-term partners. But really, I think she needs a bit of professional help – or some support along the lines of Al-Anon. Because it seems to me she’s just setting up her life to potentially set up the situations she herself grew up in (tee-total mother and drinking father).

      • avatar K Coldiron says:

        Jennifer, I totally agree. I read the letter twice and I think she’s anxious about over-drinking potentially happening, not even worried about actual behavior. I’m not saying this in a negative way, but I think the LW might need a little help to work through her anxieties around booze. I’m sorry she’s so upset about something so common; that has to suck.

        • avatar wendykh says:

          Let’s be honest; she’s not worried about OVERdrinking. She’s worried about DRINKING. Period. She does not like it at all.

          I grew up in an alcoholic home and frankly I am glad I got the heck out of the US and spent time in other countries where I saw people drinking the exact same, and even MORE, amounts my alchie parents did… who were not alchies. I’d be as insufferable as LW2 otherwise.

      • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

        In her mind, even three could set off panic. This is HER problem and why I would never date someone like her. God get a grip LW.

        • avatar persey78 says:

          LW2-Do you understand why people might drink more at a friends house over out? Because of driving, time and money. For drinking out hey it is expensive and I know I have to leave by 2 am. At a friends house, it is less expensive and generally we can stay pretty late or even spend the night. Also we can be louder, and tell silly loud expressive stories without getting kicked out.
          Hanging out with friends is awesome, and drinking is fun for me. Even getting drunk with a group of great friends is fun. In one of my groups of friends the Habanero shot wouldn’t never have become a tradition. Everyone will not develop a drinking problem. And not everyone drinks…in fact last night at friends I had one drink and then pulled out my diet coke for the next 5 hours. No one said anything and everyone understood.
          If you are uncomfortable with that, then don’t go. And you are not comfortable with him doing it, then I highly suggest you find another boyfriend. It doesn’t mean that either of you are bad people, it just means you are not the right people for each other.

          • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

            2am? Good lord, I’m outta there by 10pm! But they do not really seem compatible.

          • avatar persey78 says:

            If i am hanging out with my good friends, I can go all night long. Last night we didn’t get home until 5:30am because it was a good time.

      • avatar md2012 says:

        Exactly, the problem is hers and hers alone. I assume she has told her boyfriend about her fathers drinking problem, and she did not mention that he has a drinking problem, so she is looking for a way to get over her fear.

  5. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    Letter #1 – IMO it is you.

    YOU are the reason people are avoiding you. Yes YOU are doing something to push people away. I agree with Margo, time to do some introspection on how you behave and interact with others.

    MILLIONS of young men and women across the nation go to college and hold down friendships at the same time. Studying does not exclude social connections with friends. People do it everyday. So because they are across the country doesn’t mean anything, they are avoiding you because they clearly don’t like you. Just as the friend you met in your new community. She too doesn’t like you.

    There comes a point when enough people avoid you that it no longer becomes a case of paranoia and more about what we are saying and doing to push people away. There is someone for everyone in terms of love and friendships. I say keep putting yourself out there and taking the chance to make friends. But at the same time, learn to be candid if a friendship doesn’t work out and ask if it was something you did. Take that criticism as a learning tool to grow. This may sound harsh but….you may be annoying.

    Letter #2 – I agree with Margo, your guy is the key. He needs to back you up on this and speak up when at dinners with friends.

    • avatar mayma says:

      Yee-ouch. Read the letter. Her friends back home have not checked out of the relationship. She misses them because of distance, that’s all. It’s only one person who has opted not to hang with her. She needs to be talked out of getting a complex about it, not told “they are avoiding you” or “she too doesn’t like you.” That’s not the case at all.

      • avatar mac13 says:

        mayma, I agree. The part I don’t get is that she says it’s so hard to stay in touch. With ALL the social media there is, I wonder why a 20 something feels she can’t stay in touch. The big red flag I see from what she has written is her BF who gets very angry instead of synpathizing with her.

    • avatar jadez says:

      i realize based on your comments that you have a lot of experience at being “annoying” and you are just responding from from that perspective but there is nothing to suggest that is the case regarding this young woman.

      in fact if it were she would not be living with a boyfriend.

      the real issue is her insecurity and whether she is involved in a healthy relationship.

      i think not and suggest professional therapy for her.

  6. avatar R Scott says:

    LW1 – Maybe you need to get back home for a visit. You may discover that it’s either not exactly what you remembered or you may realize that you really need to go back, chill for a bit and make some new decisions. It does appear that you may have some social issues but it also appears that you’re in your new city for the wrong reasons and just maybe with the wrong person.

    LW2 – Margo is right and it’s a very simple solution. When the evening is over it’s over and you get to call it a night. S.O. takes you home or you call a cab (unless you’ve driven and maybe you should start doing that).

    • avatar mac13 says:

      R Scott, your response to LW2 seems spot on.  A very nice proactive solution. She mentions “aside from leaving”. It seems she doesn’t think that is a viable solution. I wonder why? Is she afraid without her teetotaller influence there he might drink too much and become an alcoholic? Does she have trust issues about his fidelity while over drinking and she is gone? Something there I can’t pinpoint.

  7. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    LW#1:  A couple of things may be going on which several people have pointed out:  your relationship with your bf may not be ideal (I’m with David Bolton…getting *really angry* because you are shy about meeting people doesn’t bode well for his long-term understanding and support when future troubles arise in your lives together) and you may have allowed your self to be restricted by his desire not to socialize.  Get involved in something you love…volunteer work…gym membership…book club..etc.  And I would definitely take a trip back home on your own and see some of your old friends.  But do not expect it to be exactly the same with them and I expect things are not exactly the same among them either.  As life  changes so do friendships.  I do not think the problem is you except to the extent that you are reluctant to put yourself in situations where you can meet people of similar interests.  As for the friend who pulled away…maybe you were  coming across as too needy since she was your only lifeline in your new city or maybe she just has other things going on that made her pull away which have nothing to do with you.  Not every friendship lasts. 

    LW#2:  This is a tricky issue.  Your letter does not say how much your bf drinks when he does drink (does he get intoxicated on a regular basis or does he simply have a cocktail before dinner?) or how much his friends drink.  Drinkers think they are fascinating when drunk and sober people find them at best annoying and at worst disgusting.    I’m wondering if the real issue is that your bf drinks more when he is with his drinking friends and this concerns you and perhaps it should depending on how much is consumed and how often it happens.  I think you need to talk to him about your concerns and I hope he supports you when you decide to *call it a night* and end the socializing before everyone else gets drunk and rowdy.     If your bf is drinking   every time you are together or on a daily basis I would seriously re-evaluate yoru relationship.  He may not be an alcoholic but that is too much drinking for someone with your (legitimate) concerns about the long term effects of heavy imbibing. 

    • avatar wendykh says:

      Her concerns are not legitimate. We really need to stop placating people like LW2. Seriously. She has said nothing in her letter that indicates anything inappropriate or bad or wrong goes on during these “back to my place for some drinks” events. She hasn’t even said too much drinking goes on at these events. She just doesn’t like the drink at all and has “AA eyes” were they eye everyone having more than one drink or who has a drink at home with suspicion of alcoholism. It’s ridiculous and she needs to grow up. Not everyone are drunks like her parents and true adults drink socially and at home and don’t have drama about it.

  8. avatar lebucher says:

    I had to re-read Letter #1 to make sure I had the facts straight.  Nowhere in her letter did she say she was  working and/or going to post-grad school.  I suspect part of the problem is that she is too isolated and doesn’t have enough to do.  My first advice would be to expand her horizons by finding something to use more of her free time.  When you are really busy you have less time to worry about such things, and you are also in a much better position to meet new people.  I have moved to strange towns before, but since I have horses I never failed to meet like minded people whereever I went.  I was not at that time, by any stretch, socially adept.  In fact I was quite shy.  But a shared hobby is the best way to break the ice and you have a built-in commonality to talk about.  Her BF getting angry tells me he either is really unsupportive of her, or he is tiring of her neediness (or both).  It doesn’t earn him any points, and David Bolton was astute in pointing out that her BF might not be a good long time prospect.

  9. avatar sdpooh says:

    To the young lady in the new city.  As my life went on, I realized that I am not a friend maker.  All my “friends” were the people that were part of the circle around my ex husband, he got “custody” LOL.  There were two people from high school I still emailed regularly and corresponded with.  They both live far away from me, but we maintained contact.  As I moved to another state, the people who came to my home were my son’s friends, my “friends” involved his activites and such (like little league).  Now I am re-married and live in a small town in Oklahoma.  I know virually no one here.  Everyone I speak to and am friendly with are my husband’s friends or people in the stores.  I realized many years ago that I am basically shy, though I am friendly and outgoing.  I understood that I needed to “entertain” myself.  I read, I do needlework, I take care of the home.  Maybe what you need to do is find something that will take your mind off of the fact that you have no friends.  Find something that will bring you joy and don’t dwell on the lack of friends.  After 65 years on this planet, I have come to realize, friends come and go.  Family and home are forever.  

  10. avatar mmht says:

    LW#2: I’m really confused about what your issue actually is. You don’t say that this happens often or that things get crazy and out of hand. So what exactly is your problem? To me it sounds like your anxiety is stemming from your childhood rather than your boyfriend’s behavior. I disagree with Margo on this one b/c I think you need to get into therapy b/c you need to realize that the problems you experienced as a child was NOT alcohol, it was your parents.

  11. avatar Carrie A says:

    #2: I think you need to read your letter again because the only problem I see in it is you. Your boyfriend likes to hang out with his friends and have some drinks. So what? You don’t say he gets mean, violent, belligerent, drives drunk, or anything of the kind. The only issue is that you want to date someone who doesn’t drink so go out and find someone like that. Don’t try and change your boyfriend, though, to suit your neurosis about drinking. Trying to change a partner never works out.

    • avatar Carib Island Girl says:

      Nail on the head Carrie. It sounds like he has a few drinks and she comes close to flipping out. She doesn’t even say that it’s a daily thing, if it were she surely would had thrown it out there. It’s clearly HER problem. If she continues with this unreasonable behavior, she will not have successful relationships unless she can find another teetotaler, good luck with that.

  12. avatar misskaty says:

    LW1: Meeting new friends as an adult is very different from high school or college, where friendships seem to fall into place. I too moved across the country (for my career) and it took many years to establish friendships. I’ve found that adult friendships move at a much slower pace, over YEARS. You need to see them consistently in a social circle (work, church, sports, other interests), and you will chat about nothing the first few dozen times. And sometimes, but certainly not always, something will click and you will make plans to get together outside of that specific arena. And then sometimes, but not always, this will evolve into a friendship.

    So have patience, these things take time. And don’t put all of your friendship attention into the 1-2 people you do meet early on. Good luck!

  13. avatar anniemaus says:

    LW1 – I really hope that you see this response. What you are experiencing is not uncommon or immature. Your attachment to your college friends is healthy and natural. Of course it hurts to be on the other side of country alone while the people who are near and dear to your heart get to be together. Furthermore, it is fairly common for couples to experience these kinds of issues when they relocate and have to build new lives in new cities. Romances have died because people moved away from their support networks and had to deal with difficult pressures. If you can, I recommend seeing a therapist. He/she can help you come up with coping mechanisms to handle meeting new people. Also, it sounds goofy, but facebook, twitter, skype, reddit, and chat can help you stay connected and to connect to new people. I have a hard time meeting new people. Those have all helped me keep in touch and make new friends. People may scoff, but social networking and the like can really help you handle the loneliness while you settle into your new home.

  14. avatar BeanCounter says:

    woah Margo, unnecessarily harsh on LW#1!!!!   attacking someone who may not have the social graces of others who can recommend themselves readily to others is pretty rude.   wow.   I usually agree with you, but your response to LW#1 is really in outer space.   having a bad day yourself?

  15. avatar NicoleDSK says:

    LW2 – It’s a bit odd for people out of college to be heavy drinkers. Especially in their 30s. Not that there aren’t any, but by the time you’re 25 or so people tend to go from “YEAH! KEG!” to a couple glasses of wine or a microbrew with dinner or something. I’m saying this because due to your upbringing, you may not know that heavy drinking is not really normal in adults. Adults who drink tend to favor quality over quantity. Alcohol doesn’t tend to be the focus of the evening, even at a wine tasting people don’t drink THAT much.

    Now, sure, there are some people for whom alcohol is the focus of their socializing. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you’re into and it doesn’t get out of hand. But I’m going to say that if you’re a teetotaler, you are simply not compatible with them. Sure you can be acquaintances, but it’s going to be hard to be close to people who have such a different idea of socializing than you do.

    My point is, don’t think you’re some weird minority. I mean yes, no alcohol at all is not the norm, but for the most part in most social situations most people won’t notice what you’re drinking because alcohol is not the whole point, its an optional accessory to the festivities.

    If you want to stay away from alcohol, you need to be around people who share your socializing values. I’m not saying only hang out with teetotalers, but I am saying focus your friendships and romances on people who don’t drink much.

  16. avatar fallinginplace says:

    LW#2 – I gave up drinking at age 21 due to alcoholism in my family, and while someone having a drink or two doesn’t bother me, I don’t like being around heavy drinkers or someone who’s clearly inebriated.  Given your history as the adult child of alcoholics, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t like it either.  As others have said, most people stop overindulging by the time they’re 30, and those that don’t may actually have a problem with alcohol – which would REALLY make an ACOA uncomfortable.  Still, if your anxiety is aroused at the mere thought of someone maybe having too much to drink, you may need to talk with a professional to help deal with that.  Your feelings are understandable, but like many things ACOAs learned growing up, it may not be serving you so well as an adult.  Good luck to you. 

  17. avatar Eazy Duzit says:

    I would say to LW1, if your friends from college are that important to you (and the current boyfriend doesn’t sound like a keeper by the way), then by all means if I were you, I would head back to where you want to be and go be with your friends.  Just make sure they want you back first! (I would test the waters with them by floating a statement like “I’ve been thinking about moving back to be near you guys so we can all hang out again – what do you think?)  As other writers have astutely pointed out, if you do head back, your relationship with that circle will grow and evolve and so will their lives – so things will never be the same as they were back in college – but if you guys were as tight as you say you were then you will at least enjoy a few years while you are still young, and perhaps life-long relationships will carry on.  Many people these days aren’t settling down and getting married and having kids until their 30’s after all.  It just so happened that I moved to a city (due to an employment offer) after college where a good amount of my friends from college also moved to, and I have been forever grateful to maintain those deep friendships that go way back.

  18. avatar Janet66 says:

    To LW#1

    I have to strongly disagree with Margo’s comments. You are NOT immature. It is normal to feel lonely and disconnected when you’re in a new city. They say to try to give a new place two years, and if you’re still feeling out of place after that, it might be time to move back.

    I had a boyfriend when I was 18 who was very in love with me and moved to another city to be with me where I was studying. After 2 years, he told me he couldn’t live there anymore, he was too unhappy and moving back home.

    I think you need to start putting your own needs first and as others have mentioned, question whether you really want to be in a relationship with someone who gets angry at you instead of sympathizing with your lonlineness.

    Use the holidays as a time to reconnect with your old friends. Yes, in a few years they will marry and you may lose touch but you’re not there yet. You could very well stay close with them as well.

    I think you need to start living your life more for *you* instead of following your boyfriend at such a young age. Might have been better to stay put at your college and really enjoy those years instead of sacrificing so much, so soon, for your relationship. Could be you move back home and have a long distance relationship for a couple of years. Don’t lock yourself in when you’re so young. Now is the time to be a little selfish and do what’s right for YOU!         

  19. avatar Janet66 says:

     To LW#1

    I have to strongly disagree with Margo’s comments. You are NOT immature. It is normal to feel lonely and disconnected when you’re in a new city, especially when you’ve left behind a group of close frineds.They say to try to give a new place two years, and if you’re still feeling out of place after that, it might be time to move back.

    I had a boyfriend when I was 18 who was very in love with me and moved to another city to be with me where I was studying. After 2 years, he told me he couldn’t live there anymore, he was too unhappy and moving back home.

    I think you need to start putting your own needs first and as others have mentioned, question whether you really want to be in a relationship with someone who gets angry at you instead of sympathizing with your lonlineness.

    Use the holidays as a time to reconnect with your old friends. Yes, in a few years they will marry and you may lose touch but you’re not there yet. You could very well stay close with them as well.

    I think you need to start living your life more for *you* instead of following your boyfriend at such a young age. Might have been better to stay put at your college and really enjoy those years instead of sacrificing so much, so soon, for your relationship. Could be you move back home and have a long distance relationship for a couple of years. Don’t lock yourself in when you’re so young. Now is the time to be a little selfish and do what’s right for YOU!    

  20. avatar cincyreader says:

    I started reading this column a couple of months ago and have also enjoyed some of the archives. I have noticed a lot of the commenters are regulars. I was wondering about the commenter Briana. I disagreed with her comments most of the time but still liked reading her well thought out comments. Looks like she fell off the map. Judy curious if anyone knows where she went?

    • avatar JCF4612 says:

      Cincy … Apparently she died quite unexpectedly. Somewhere in the archives (this past fall, possibly), you’ll find mention made. An obit appeared in a Texas newspapers.   

  21. avatar AngelaM. says:

    To those who are criticizing LW#2 for voicing her concerns:

    With respect, please try to understand. I’m the adult child of an alcoholic, and it’s hard for me to be involved with someone who drinks very much because of my own issues with alcohol. They are my issues, but they are deep-seated. I know I can’t control other people’s actions, but I can control mine, and I choose not to be around people who think it’s a good time to get completely trashed.

    Would you tell a returning veteran with PTSD to just get over it? Probably not. Please don’t assume it’s just as easy for the child or family member of an alcoholic to just “get over it”. If you’d been verbally and physically abused by someone who was pretty great when sober every time they got drunk, odds are good you’d come to associate booze with bad stuff too if it happened for 18 years. It’s not easy to break these associations. I personally very rarely drink because there does seem to be a genetic component to alcoholism, so why risk it for something I don’t find particularly tasty anyways? Plus the fact that I never want to risk being such a jerk to someone or doing something truly stupid (how many times have you heard of someone having sex because they were trashed?) because I’m drunk and my inhibitions are gone.

    LW2 has legitimate concerns FOR HER. Maybe you don’t find them legit, but as someone who’s been there, I do. It doesn’t sound like she’s running around snatching bottles of Bud Lite out of people’s hands or spouting off on the virtues of temperance, but just that she’s not comfortable personally being around people who drink more than she’s used to seeing.

    I get it. I can deal with folks having a few drinks to unwind, that’s their choice, but when it gets to the point where they’re falling down drunk or rude and obnoxious, I’m no longer enthralled by that behavior. So I’d probably bid the house drinker guy a fond farewell at the end of the evening and head home. If the BF wants to go back with the friends some, fine. But if he’s constantly going back with the drinking buddies, perhaps it’s time that they seriously consider the state of their union.

    I’m in my 30s, and other than a few emotionally stunted folks who are still emotionally in high school, very few of my peers seems to drink very much on a regular basis. I see some rather heavy duty drinking at conferences and the like, but not just out to dinner on a random Friday night with friends and co-workers.

    So the LW just has to evaluate her priorities and those of the BF. If hanging out and drinking with his buddies every week is non-negotiable for him and not having him do that constantly is non-negotiable for her, then perhaps they need to consider whether this is a good long term relationship for the both of them.

    But to just tell her to get over it smacks of insensitivity and a callous attitude to what it’s like to live with alcohol in a starring role in your life.

    Happy holidays, all.

    • avatar mmht says:

      Angela, I understand what you are saying b/c I am the child of an alcoholic. Yes, I do know what you and the LW are going through. The difference is, I went into therapy and learned that the problem wasn’t alcohol, it was my parents. They are the ones with the issues, not the alcohol. I don’t and never have drank much but that has more to do with recognizing that I have an addictive personality like my father than my fear of alcohol.

      Going out with friends and having a few drinks really is not that uncommon as you seem to think. It is uncommon at that age to go out and get wasted, but that is not what the LW says is happening. She says they MIGHT drink to excess and they MIGHT act differently but she doesn’t say that it has ever happened before. This is her own fear and yes, it is something SHE needs to learn to deal with. You asked if you would tell someone with PTSD to just get over it and no I wouldn’t. But I would tell them the same thing I’m telling you and the LW, get into therapy. Whether her relationship with her boyfriend lasts or not, the fact that she becomes nervous and upset around drinking (although understandable) is not a reasonable reaction for someone who has dealt with issues from their childhood.