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DEAR HARRIETTE: I’m facing a significant and unexpected challenge in my marriage, and I could use some guidance. My husband and I have been happily married for over a year, and I believed our connection was strong. Recently, I decided to surprise him by securing a job on the East Coast, where he’s located, as I missed being near him. However, when I broke the news to him, I was met with a response I didn’t anticipate: He was not excited. In fact, he was upset and suggested that I stay where I am. This reaction has raised a massive red flag for me since I don’t know what this means for our marriage. I am excited about this new job because it’s going to be at an accredited university. However, I am alarmed by my husband’s reaction, and I don’t want to face what lies ahead. What should I do? — Long-Distance Marriage
DEAR LONG-DISTANCE MARRIAGE: Did you and your husband talk about what your life will look like over time? You are in a long-distance marriage, but how long did you expect it to stay like that? Why do you live in different cities? Do you visit him where he lives? Could he possibly be living a double life? You should have a thousand questions, and you need to get them all answered.
It is also odd to surprise him with a move. That is a big deal and should be part of your conversation as a couple. Communication is key to having a successful marriage. You two need to be face to face and talk through everything. I think you should make an emergency trip to where he lives so you can get a gauge on his life there and find out what your future holds. Even if you don’t stay with him, you should take that job if you really want it.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I made a new friend at work, but after spending more time with her, I realized that she is very clingy and needy toward me. This is something I have never experienced before, and it’s starting to become too much for me to handle. She confided in me that she had lost friends in the past, and most of them stopped talking to her without any explanation. I don’t want to hurt her feelings, but I need to establish some boundaries. How can I be honest with her without making her feel bad or causing any unnecessary conflict? — Needy Friend
DEAR NEEDY FRIEND: Perhaps your gift to this woman should be honesty. Rather than walking away in silence, talk to her and tell her that you may know why others have done that: Her clinginess is overbearing. While you like her and have enjoyed her friendship, you already see that she needs more than you have to give. Tell her you need to take a break from her for now. Gently suggest that she consider therapy to help her work through her friendship challenges.