by Borderstan.com March 22, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Chelsea, 

I am currently in a very loving and compassionate relationship with a boyfriend of 6 months. Everything is great, except that I seem to have trouble connecting with one of his friends (let’s call her Margaret), with whom he is closest.  She and I tend to compete for his time and affection. Further Margaret and my boyfriend used to have an intimate relationship which makes me feel really uncomfortable that they are so close. When I am unable to attend an event or party with my boyfriend, he brings Margaret and I feel like she is his replacement girlfriend. My boyfriend says there is nothing to worry about, but I don’t trust Margaret and have a hard time being my normal self when we hang out with her or see her out.  

It’s not that I don’t trust my boyfriend and I don’t want to force him to change a relationship or friendship.  I just can’t shake the idea of their past relationship out of my head.  Thoughts on how to proceed?  Thanks!

– Nervous Nancy

Dear Nancy,

First off, relax! Your nerves about this and in these situations involving “Margaret” are what are causing you to not act yourself. The first step is to take a deep breath and remind yourself that your boyfriend is currently with you and has already tried things with Margaret. If he wanted to be with her, then he would not be with you.

Second, I completely sympathize with the difficulty in feeling like an outsider, perhaps when Margaret and your boyfriend share inside jokes or reminisce on a past that you have yet to share. It is easy to feel excluded in this kind of situation–watching from the sidelines while the two of them have a great conversation might lead you to doubt your own connection to your boyfriend and feel left out.

So jump right in! You must allow your confidence to lead you through this trying social situation, and not your doubts. Instead of shrinking in her presence, engage her directly and with a smile on your face. When she brings up a story from the past, inquire about it and laugh along. If she refuses to include you when you approach her with acceptance and kindness, then this will only reveal her true character to all of those present.

You already recognize that you cannot control the company your boyfriend chooses to keep — and the more you emphasize your dislike of Margaret to him, the more he will seek ways to hang out with her without you. My advice would be to suggest group events where it’s not only the three of you, but also a larger group of friends that can help you relax and remove some of the pressure and tension. Both you and Margaret will want to be on your best behavior if other friends are involved.

The key is to be open and accepting to all parties involved. Perhaps you will find that you and Margaret have more in common than you originally thought — I mean, you have both dated the same person. Continue to trust your boyfriend and try to gain Margaret’s trust too, as she is probably just as protective of him as you are. She does not have to be your best friend, but your boyfriend does.

Always, Chelsea

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only.

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by Borderstan.com January 25, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Chelsea Rinnig"

Chelsea Rinnig is one of Borderstan writers. (Courtesy Chelsea Rinnig)

Looking for advice on how to accomplish your goals and make changes in 2013? Email Chelsea at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

Dear Readers,

My name is Chelsea and I love to listen and observe, and then to think and to write and I want to share that passion with you.

Here at Borderstan, we want to connect with you beyond the computer screen and address not only those topics that we’re contemplating, but also quotidian dilemmas you face. Because the truth of the matter is that we all need some perspective every once in a while on the trials that we commonly encounter every day here in our District bubble.

Allow me to nominate myself to be that friend who listens to you and gives advice. I have lived in Borderstan for over a year now — looked for apartments twice and figured out my subsequent standard commute routes and coffee shops.

I work downtown in the federal government, explore the nightlife of this neighborhood that I love and (most of the time) find a way to squeeze in the workouts and home-cooked meals that help me maintain my sanity.

I’m in my early 20s and find that what matters most is taking advantage of the opportunities — whether political, educational, social or personal — this city has to offer.

You may be asking yourself at this point, “What does some twenty-something, chambray-wearing, female runner who buys quinoa from Whole Foods and brunches on the weekends have to say about my life?!”

You’re right.

I don’t have a PhD in psychology, or frankly a PhD at all, to back up my insights. If you want a professional, then go to a doctor. However, I like to think of myself as not only a well-balanced and thoughtful person, but as a really great friend. And who listens to advice from their mother anyway?

I can give you the perspective of a peer — a bit less jaded from life and enjoying every moment.

Just like you all, I go on a handful of (pretty awful) dates every so often and navigate the romantic circles of DC. Despite my secure employment, I have been seeking my “dream job” since I moved here; I have written hundreds of awkward emails in the hopes that maybe this or that project manager will take pity on me to share a coffee and an hour with me in exchange for their experiences.

I have old friends, made new friends and have lost friends, too. But I have no regrets and believe strongly and confidently that we are all on our own individual, proper path.

Like I began: I love to listen, to think and to write. Now it’s your turn.

Let me hear where you’re at these days and allow me to empathize–drop an anonymous question in my inbox at askchelsea[AT]borderstan.com, tell me what’s on your mind.

Trust me; I give great advice.

Your loving neighbor, Chelsea

Note to readers: Under DC Law, Chelsea Rinnig is not licensed to practice, and does not represent that she practices: psychiatry, psychology, social work or professional counseling of any kind. This column is written for entertainment purposes only.

Get an RSS Feed for all Borderstan stories or subscribe to Borderstan’s daily email newsletter.

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