A letter for a snow day. About Thatch.
Q: Hi Meredith,
I've been dating my boyfriend "Thatch" for a little over a year and I've never been happier. I was always a cynic when it came to love, but I really believe I've found someone that can balance me out and help me to be a better person. We are both really happy together.
Thatch and I are planning on moving in together in the summer, so we've both been trying to save our money. (Also, I'm a graduate student living off loans). We are trying our best to cut corners, and that includes eating out less and buying groceries, which we cook together. It works out great, but this definitely affects our social life. At this age (I'm 24, he's 25), most of my friends enjoy more social activities, such as eating out, going to bars, happy hours, etc. Now that I'm feeling the constraint of money, I'm less inclined to be social because I don't want to spend a lot of money. I am also really happy having a Saturday night in where Thatch and I watch a movie on the couch rather than going out to a bar. It's a bad combination between loving being with my boyfriend and hating to spend money.
But I'm afraid that I'm isolating myself from my friends, and if I say no one too many times to going out then I won't be asked anymore. I don't want to lose my friendships, but I also don't want to spend money that I don't have.
Is there a way to balance out a social life without finances? How do I balance wanting to be with my boyfriend all the time but still wanting friends?
– Isolated in Love, Boston
A: Remind your friends that you're broke, IIL. Invite them over to cook and watch a movie with you. Also, motivate yourself to go to the bar with them once a month. Order a soda. Let them buy you a drink.
You're about to get a whole lot of Thatch in your life. Full-time Thatch. You're going to need your friends for support and escape. When we don't maintain our friendships, our relationships suffer. We become less interesting. We lose our empathy.
Do your friends understand that you're still there for them? Are you still calling them just to talk? Regardless of the social activities, you should be checking in with them and listening.
Thatch makes you happy, but he's not everything. Tell your friends how much you want to be included. They need to know that your relationship hasn't swallowed you up. I'm sure they'll be psyched to spend a Friday with you on the couch. I'm sure they need to save money too.
Readers? Is this really about money or is it just easier to see Thatch? Will this issue get better once she moves in with Thatch? How do you maintain friendships during a honeymoon period? Is this a grad school vs. work issue?
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.