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Parallax - Advice            November 20, 2000

  A corporate mover's dilemma...

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My girlfriend is very awkward in social settings. It's very strange but I'm embarrassed to take her most anywhere because she acts so weird when we're around other people. She's fine when she's alone with me, but I think new people make her nervous and then she just gets quiet and strange. I'm beginning to think our relationship is not sustainable. I work in a business field and I will need somebody to attend events with me. What should I do?

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Her view:

Dear Embarrassed,

This sounds a little shallow, though at the same time this trait of hers is a bit unattractive and annoying, so I hear your dilemma. Have you tried discussing this with her? Perhaps she doesn't like your social circles - which is still a problem but of a different nature - so she chooses to disengage. Or maybe she doesn't like new settings. If socializing is important to you, you may have a long-term compatibility issue.

But it really only comes down to one thing - how much do you like her? If you like her a ton, or think you might love her, then whatever it is can be worked out as long as she is a reasonably sane, caring person. If you don't really like her all that much, well, I think you know this is all moot.

So ask yourself how much you care and try to give her a shot at working through it. Maybe she's nervous, and a little support and encouragement from you would do the trick. At least give it a good try.

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His view:

Dear Embarrassed,

If you are going to dump your girl because your career might be impeded by her lack of social grace, you may want to consider some help for yourself.

Now, if the problem is that she is too shy for you and you need someone more social, more engaged - someone who won't place you at the very center of her life, who won't turn into a cling-on and depend on you for everything - then, I agree, you may not have a sustainable relationship.

In any case, figure it out fast because the sooner you get on with looking for the perfect 'wife-accessory' for your career, the better are your chances of finding her.

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