Wise answers to perplexing questions
The Answer Lady invites inquiries from gentle readers on all manners of relationship quandaries, matters of the heart, and ethics. If you’d like to send a query, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Answer Lady
My live-in girlfriend keeps telling me to get therapy. I’ve had a rough year, but things are turning around, and I’m sure I’ll snap out of this rut soon. How can I get her to quit bugging me about this? – Kinda Blue
Dear Blue –
The Answer Lady cannot stand it when other people try to tell her what to do. Unless, of course, it’s coming from someone I care about, or it’s about something important, like say… oh, therapy, for instance. In that case she would pay attention, as should you, gentle reader. Most people are not in the habit of running around recommending therapy to others (unless, of course, they are in the therapy business). Instead, it is usually because they are concerned, they feel there is a problem that needs to addressed, and they recognize that you are in pain. People have a tendency to panic about the very concept of therapy, but really – what could be more ideal than bouncing your ideas, issues, and problems off a completely objective total stranger who has no preconceived notions and happens to be a trained professional? Look at it this way – it can’t hurt, right? If it’s not for you, it’s not for you, but at least try it before you write it off. Personally the Answer Lady thinks the world would be a happier place if more people were on the couch. PS: The Answer Lady hopes your girlfriend is “suggesting therapy,” or “asking you to consider therapy,” and not “telling you to get it.”
Dear Answer Lady
I think my boyfriend might have a drinking problem. We’re young and we like to hit the local bars for happy hour around town. We always call Aart’s Taxi if we’ve both been drinking, but lately he’s getting totally blotto every time we go out. How do I handle this problem? – His Girl
Dear Girl –
The short answer here is: this is not your problem to handle. If he truly has a drinking problem (and it sounds as if he does, or is well on his way), the only person who can do anything about it is him. Your only decision is whether or not you wish to stick around while he figures this out. Express your concerns, but keep in mind that no amount of cajoling, nagging, or threatening from you will do the trick. Decide if you want to be there if and when he gets help, and keep Aart’s on speed-dial.