Devil’s Advocate

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

My boyfriend and I have been going out for nearly two years and, on the outside, things seem great. He gets along well with my family and is interested in getting serious. Let’s just say he seems like great husband material. But there is one big problem: he listens constantly to Slipknot
whenever we’re together. For example, when we’re driving in his car. I was okay with this at fi rst, but things have gotten out of hand. Now, he sings along with the nonsensical melodies and even listens to them at rather inappropriate times. Let’s just say that he has begun listening even more to a band that I utterly detest. I don’t know how to tell my boyfriend that I hate his favorite band and that I can’t stand listening to them anymore. I need to say something, but I don’t want to ruin
our otherwise perfect relationship. And now, I need advice more than ever since he recently suggested going to a Slipknot show together. What should I do?

Bleeding Ears

Dear Bleeding Ears,

Your situation is surprisingly common. Oftentimes, someone in a relationship must make a compromise when it comes to music, since, after all, not everyone’s taste is the same. The problem with your boyfriend, however, seems a bit more complex since he listens to such divisive
music – Slipknot is a band that you either love or hate. You need to tell your boyfriend that Slipknot, much like alcoholic beverages, is okay only in moderation. Also, suggest listening to some of your favorite music on occasion. Maybe he’ll end up hating your favorite music even
more than you dislike Slipknot. Then, a much easier compromise could be reached. And if you’re worried about going to that Slipknot concert, just tell him that you’d be too afraid of getting hurt and that he should take a more dedicated Slipknot fan. That way, you can get off the hook
more easily and not hurt your boyfriend too much.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I am facing a difficult situation. Throughout all of high school, I was in a long-term, serious relationship. Upon entering college, the relationship ended and I was finally able to grow on my own and learn how to be independent. After a rocky few months, I was loving my freedom and
was able to say that I truly found myself. However, about 5 months ago I met a great guy and now I am now in a committed relationship with him. Although I love him and want to continue our relationship, I feel that he doesn’t sense my need for personal space. He wants to go everywhere
together, do everything together-basically have a full-fl edged, dedicated relationship where all extra time is devoted to the other person. I enjoy our time together, but I also enjoy my own time with myself. He is also in his mid-twenties, and I am only in my second year of college, so I fear we may be looking for different things. I am feeling suffocated and beginning to lose my interest in the relationship. How do I let him know this without breaking his heart?

Suffocating Sister

Dear Suffocating,

Your dilemma is definitely a common one. How do you explain to your sweetie that you are in an entirely different life stage than him and he may be more ready than you are for a relationship like this, without hurting him? At the ripe age of 20, you are still growing as a person. Sacrificing
all your time for someone you may eventually outgrow is impractical and somewhat unfair. Sit him down and explain that you’re not going to be able to continue in your relationship unless he respects your desire for more personal space. Tell him that you want to have the most healthy and positive relationship you can, and that won’t be possible if there is no room for personal growth and individuality. Arrange it so that you see one another a few times a week and
have activities planned separate from each other. Your feelings of being stifled are trying to tell you that you aren’t equipped to handle a relationship that deprives you of your own time for discovery and experimentation, so listen to yourself. Pay attention to your intuition.

Dear Devil’s Advocate,

I am in a long distance relationship with my girlfriend of two years. We go to different colleges-she attends school in upstate New York and I am in the city. This is our second year in this situation, and throughout the entire first year we were breaking up every other day and fighting
non-stop. During the summer, our relationship is wonderful because we have the freedom to be together any time we desire. After such an amazing few months, I’m so scared of the semester beginning and losing everything we’ve worked for over the summer. I want to believe that our rocky state during the school year is purely because we miss each other so much, but I feel that her efforts at keeping communication going are minimal and she seems more interested in
partying with friends than having a phone conversation with me. How do I keep my relationship thriving once school starts?

September Sucks

Dear September Sucks,

A long distance relationship requires even more work, communication, sacrifice, patience and understanding than a proximal one. You are emotionally attached to someone that you cannot touch or hold, and this can become an emotional roller coaster. You must trust each other to stay faithful, avoid the temptation to be controlling, and make sure you have set aside time to communicate regularly. When one person is not contributing as much as they should,
that’s when trouble begins. You should discuss your feelings with your girlfriend and create a game-plan for the school year. Compare schedules and find little gaps of time in which you can call each other and talk online, because you must maintain an emotional connection. Buy a web-cam so you can chat face to face, send each other letters and cards in the mail,
send e-mails often when your sweetie isn’t available to chat, even see a movie in your separate locations so you have something to talk about! Lastly, make sure the two of you want the same things and that she is as committed to making this work as you are. Talk about your future together to ensure that the relationship is going somewhere and that all your efforts will be worth it. This situation is the ultimate test for you and your partner.