My girlfriend and I have been going out for almost a year; it's a long-distance relationship. I'm in Chicago and she's in Cleveland.
I do get clingy and she doesn't like it. We've been shaky for a little while, though she still tells me she loves me.
But she recently asked for space and it might be because of the clinginess.
I was wondering what I could do to be better for her and be less clingy.
She has “space” since you live in separate cities. So it’s likely the frequency of texts, emails, face time, Facebook, and phone calls that she likely wants to dial down.
Agree and back off. Instead of checking in with her about the relationship, get busy with friends, activities, etc. in Chicago, to keep from spending time contacting her, and checking up on her feelings for you.
Long-distance can work if you maintain a full and busy life where you are, and don’t show insecurity about what she’s doing and feeling where she is.
Ask her how much contact she would like – once a week, twice a week. Talk positively about interesting things you’ve been doing and learning (not to make her jealous, but for her to see you’re NOT needy of daily reassurance from her).
Also, show interest in what she’s doing, instead of asking about the status of the relationship.
At some point in every long-distance connection, there has to be a personal visit. After a month of less contact, discuss when and where this can happen.
My parents have been happily together for 25 years. In recent years, they’ve both become ill and rundown, causing arguments and stress.
Recently, they’ve been talking divorce.
My mom can tell it's because my dad’s overworked and sick, but he doesn't realize he needs to slow down and work through their needs for self-care.
I want to help, but what role do I play in this?
You continue to behave as the daughter, not their marriage counsellor.
It means being supportive to each of them as needed, particularly regarding their health.
Urge each to get full information from their doctor on how to regain energy and avoid further illness.
If “overworked” Dad is lax about making an appointment, offer to go with him and have lunch out, or some other father-daughter plan he can’t refuse.
But be aware that they may have some marital issues of which you’re unaware. These may be new or could’ve been simmering until fatigue and illness brought them out.
If they’re still talking divorce, don’t try to solve their “problem,” nor get too involved in listening to each side’s story.
Instead, insist that they owe it to their 25 years together and their sense of family, to see a marital therapist and air out their differences with a hope to resolving them.
If they can’t and the divorce talk continues, make sure they both get legal advice, separately.
Then continue to support each of them. They’re adults, entitled to their own decisions.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman with a weight problem whose guests bring rich foods at holidays (Nov. 10):
Reader – “Your guests want to contribute. Suggest they bring a small toy or new hat/mittens/scarf which will be donated to a charity for Christmas.
“If hosting a party in spring/summer, ask guests to bring school supplies to be donated to a charity to help kids get a good start on learning.
“If some still bring food, take it to co-workers as a treat.”
Years ago I was accused by my parents and siblings of unkindness to another family member.
It was a difficult time in my life. So when asked to do something, I’d refused.
My immediate family were so cruel and hurtful that 20 years later I’m still wary of them. I changed my relationships with them and barely see them.
They’ve all now cut me out of family functions.
It's time to put it behind me. But how?
There’s too much detail missing, e.g. what you refused to do, and why they all reacted so strongly.
You CAN put it behind you and/or look at it differently, only if you discuss it openly and honestly with a professional counsellor.
There’s the history of why that was a difficult time for you, why they didn’t understand, plus how you’d already withdrawn from them.
All this can be explored safely and privately through a guided process of counselling.
Tip of the day:
Being “clingy” in a long-distance relationship reveals insecurity and even suspicions. Back off excess contact and questions.