Friends and other haters

Joey Garcia

I’m in college and dating a guy my friends hate. My friends are important to me, but so is he. I am stressing because I always have to choose who to be with—either my boyfriend or my friends—we can’t hang out together. My friends keep acting distant. They think I should listen to them and drop my boyfriend. They hardly invite me anywhere anymore, unless I specifically call and ask what they’re doing. The strain is starting to affect my boyfriend and me. What should I do?

Be still and listen to the quiet voice of your heart. It will tell you whether you are stuck in denial or transitioning into a new phase of your life. But if your head is pinging with fears of losing friends or your man, you’re too distracted to hear the heart’s call. Fear also makes it hard to appreciate the other layers of your situation. Like this: Do your friends criticize your boyfriend because they dislike the way he treats you? If so, don’t resent them. True friends speak out to protect their pals. Your friends might be worried that you are too infatuated to recognize mistreatment. And, yes, they could be jealous that you spend less time with them than pre-boyfriend. If that’s the case, just let them get over it. They will, eventually. You should also take care to consciously include your girlfriends in your life. Don’t center your schedule around your man’s availability. Your relationship with him will be infinitely juicier if you stay focused on loving yourself, and keeping good friends in your life.

You should also stop fighting the split between your boyfriend and your friends. Yes, Saturday nights would be more fun if everyone got along, but they don’t. Schedule your life accordingly. Stop trying to force everyone to be pals. Just let them be themselves. And let yourself have the fullness of friendship plus a healthy, romantic relationship. You don’t have to choose one over the other. Embrace the people in your life as they are, not as you wish them to be.

My divorce will be final soon but I think I made a stupid mistake because I’m still in love with soon-to-be-ex-husband. Please help.

Regrets? We all have a few, hopefully not a few too many, or so the song goes. But hey, you don’t have to get mired in regret; you have options. Reach out to your soon-to-be-ex and let him know how you feel. He might be relieved and ready to try again. Or he might not respond at all. If that happens, don’t convince yourself that he missed your call. Move on. Of course, instead of contacting your ex, you could see a therapist to shake out whether you’re just scared of life on your own. Yes, you might be clinging to what you had, in order to avoid the unknown. The only way to discover the truth is to risk rejection. Not from your husband, although that could definitely happen. You will have to risk embodying a new life, one that could be the answer to your prayers. The end of your marriage could be a fresh start that challenges you beyond your comfort level. Divorce might be an invitation into a life that stirs your passions, and turns your fears into fuel for new adventures. When you stop obsessing about mistakes, you will discover opportunities and freedom.

Meditation of the week
“Poems liberate us from the fascism of contemporary thinking,” said Jane Hirshfield, author of Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. Have you taught your mind to conform or be free?

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