Dear Amy: A couple of months ago, my girlfriend went out with some mutual friends while I stayed home to deal with a personal issue. It was unusual for her to go out on her own, since we do most things together, but we discussed it and I got over any issues I had with the fact that she went out without me.
Recently, I found out that she, along with the rest of the group, was drunk that night. The thing is she doesn't usually get drunk. Like, zero times in the last 18 months.
We go out with the "group" quite a bit, and she doesn't have more than two drinks.
I'm weirded out about this. I understand that it's normal to be independent, and I fully support that, but I just think it's a bit odd to doing something out of character when the "BF" isn't present.
-- Weirded Out
Dear Weirded Out: Routinely getting drunk might be a dangerous habit, but your girlfriend is not a big drinker normally, and from your letter it sounds like no one else has expressed concern about her drinking habits. Nor has she done anything embarrassing, unkind or illegal.
This sounds like a case of getting drunk in good company, which, if you're going to do it, is the best way to go.
What concerns me more is your attitude.
Despite your insistence, you are obviously NOT OK with the fact that she went out without you and had a good time, and now you are trying to manipulate her into feeling bad after the fact. (Barkeep, make mine a double...)
You and your girlfriend should reframe your codependent relationship. You should consider setting some time aside each week to go out on your own -- take a class, or go out with your own friends independently. Your girlfriend should do this too; you each need to develop your own independent, supportive social circle.
If you are still fixating on this, then consider visiting a counselor, either on your own or with your girlfriend, to discuss why this is giving you so much anxiety.
Dear Amy: Years ago, I began working at an agency where I met a woman who became a good friend. We've served as job references for each other over the years. A few months ago, I faced another job change and she gave me permission to use her as a reference again.
I didn't know at the time that she was having a painful dental issue, but when I found out, I left her a voicemail saying to take care of herself and to forget about writing the reference. Too late. She emailed me the reference she wrote. The next day, she sent me a self-critical missive, stating that she blamed herself if her terrible reference cost me the job.
She followed this up with a defaming litany of wrongs that I had supposedly done to her over the past 10 years. She confessed that she had never spoken what was really on her mind, or had been her true self with me.
I was flummoxed. I don't feel any guilt, or the need to defend myself, because I know that I have not wronged her.
I don't think this is really about me -- or the reference. I am saddened, hurt and angry. But I don't know how to reply or even if I should reply. On the other hand, I am a bit worried about her. I need another perspective, can you help?
-- Flummoxed Former Friend
Dear Flummoxed: This erratic behavior might have nothing to do with you; painful dental problems can derail the coolest of customers. Could this possibly be a result of medication she's on?
Receiving an email saying she's never been herself around you should make you rethink this relationship. I suggest responding with a simple: "Are you OK?" Otherwise, don't engage her in a conversation about your faults and failings. She owes you an apology, and you should not have to solicit it.
Dear Amy: I try to read your column every day. Wow, you hit the nail so squarely on the head with your advice to "Concerned Mom," whose daughter drank an entire bottle of wine and then drove home.
Thank you. Your words were profound.
I needed them today.
Dear A: People who send me questions are generously airing their personal dilemmas for everyone's benefit. I hope that you will act on the nugget of my answer that spoke to you today.