My boyfriend and I have been together for five years, and we have a great relationship, but, of course, over that time things have cooled off a little. Not that we’re not happy, we are, it’s just that the initial lust and infatuation phase has been done with for a while. Anyway, the other factor in my problem is that we have talked from time to time about getting engaged, but we’re both only 26 and very involved with our careers right now, so it’s not like we don’t want to get married, we’re just in no hurry. So anyway, I have a really good friend who I love dearly, and who is finally with a nice guy after a string of lousy relationships. My boyfriend and I have put her back together more times than I can count after some asshole has completely screwed her over. Anyway, she’s with a great guy now, and after six months together they’ve gotten engaged. Now, that’s a little hasty in my opinion, but I don’t say anything, and I’m honestly happy for her. HOWEVER, lately I’ve been getting a lot of unsolicited advice from her about MY relationship with my boyfriend. She explained to me ways I could rekindle things between us, as well as bugging me about when we’re going to get married. She actually said to me the other day that I might want to “re-evaluate my situation” if it wasn’t going to go anywhere! I was like, you’ve got some nerve, giving me advice after all the times you’ve gotten yourself into one disaster after another! I haven’t said anything but I’m about to and I’m afraid it’ll be something I’ll regret. Help!
Dear Fed Up,
I doubt she wants to upset you, she’s just excited about getting engaged, and, OK, maybe she’s feeling somewhat puffed up about not needing your help for once. That may be making her just a bit competitive, kind of like the less-accomplished sister who finally succeeds and rubs it in a little. Yeah, it’s obnoxious, but she doesn’t really want to hurt you. She’s just had a lot of years in your shadow and is behaving poorly during the adjustment. Take a break from analyzing each other’s “situations,” and instead focus on the thing you both feel positive about: her upcoming wedding and marriage. Surely there are plenty of fun details to discuss. If she insists on veering off-topic to share her newfound wisdom, shut her down with a discussion-ending, “Well, that’s not what works for him and I, but everyone has their own path they must follow,” or, “We’re doing what is right for us, just like you are.” If still she persists, THEN it’s time to be firmer. But have what you want to say in mind already so you don’t freak out on her. Something along the lines of, “Listen, I know you’re just trying to be a good friend, but I really don’t need or want any help or advice. Of course, if I do, you’ll be the first person I ask.” If after all that she’s still pestering you, you have my permission to tell her in no uncertain terms to piss off. Hang in there!