My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost six months. He goes to school in Rhode Island and comes home to New Hampshire every weekend. So I always keep my weekends free and make plans with him around my work schedule and his. I guess we’ve kind of been in that stage where we want to spend all our time together and seeing as how that’s only on the weekends I feel like its been amplified. This coming weekend I’m going on a day trip with my best friend and our moms. I thought we could do something Friday night too (best friend and I) and I got excited because it’s been awhile since we’ve made plans. Then I remembered that I spend my weekends with my boyfriend and I felt bad. I guess what I want to know, is it normal for the wanting to be together every second feeling to ebb out? — Honeymoon Stage
Dude, it’s not just normal for the “wanting to be together every second feeling” to fade, it’s healthy and necessary. In fact, I’d be a little concerned that it’s been several months since you’ve made plans with your best friend, while you spend every second of every weekend with your boyfriend! That’s not healthy, and I’d suggest you make your friends a bit more of a priority before you start losing them. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting you quit making time for your boyfriend, but a little balance would be a good thing. Can you squeeze in some girls’ nights — or lunches — during the week when your boyfriend’s at school? And have you thought about inviting your best friend to join you and your boyfriend for a brunch some weekend morning when he’s in town, or getting a bunch of friends together for a game of cards so they can get to know your boyfriend?
While it’s important to continue forming a bond with your long-distance boyfriend when you have the chance to be together, it’s equally as important to make time for a social life outside your relationship. At just six months in, there’s definitely no guarantee your relationship will last forever and you want to make sure the people who had your back before you got with your boyfriend are still there, ready to have your back if it doesn’t work out. This day trip with your best friend and your moms is a good start, but I’d definitely make it more of a regular thing than once every several months.
I have my boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law coming into town from another state. When they stay at my home, who pays for dinner out and other outings? — Hostess with the Mostess
As a frequent hostess — and house guest — myself, I love this question, and I hope it was asked with the intention of being a polite and gracious hostess. If that’s the case, it’s my feeling that if you have house guests for less than three days, it would be kind to treat your guests to a home-cooked or restaurant/take-out meal at least once a day. I like to always have a meal waiting for my guests when they arrive — something that can be heated up fairly quickly, like soup, chili, or stew. It’s so simple and it goes a long way to making your guests feel welcome and at home. Just think about how nice it would be for you to have a great, warm meal waiting for you after a long commute.
As guests, it would be customary for your brother and sister-in-law to treat you and your boyfriend to one meal at a restaurant of your choosing (just be sure to pick something affordable), as well as give a small hostess gift, like a bottle of wine or champagne. (Of course, if they don’t offer these things, it certainly isn’t something you should point out or ask for.) For all other meals and outings, it’s appropriate to go dutch, but do consider specific circumstances and use your best judgment. For example, if your guests have come a long way and spent a lot of amount of money to visit, maybe treat them to a movie and say: “We’re so grateful you could come all this way to see us. Let us get this!” You don’t have to do that for every outing, but choosing one — even an inexpensive one — and expressing your gratitude is a gracious gesture and one that goes a long way. The bottom line is if these are people whose company you enjoy, whom you hope visit again and whom you plan to visit at their place eventually, it’s always best to be more gracious than you think is necessary. And if they aren’t people you’re particularly fond of or have overstayed their welcome? Be a gracious host this time, but “have plans” the next time they want to come visit.
*Do you have a relationship/dating question I can help with? Send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.