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5:53 AM Tue, Sept. 25th

Dear Annie: Roadblock of life’s next phase

Dear Annie: I’m feeling stuck. Recently, my boyfriend of two years and I have been looking at new places to move into together. It’s been an exciting time, and I keep daydreaming of our future — marriage, kids, nesting, chore charts, the whole thing. However, a wrench has been thrown into our plans. An old co-worker let him know about a great job — 1,000 miles away. He’s really interested in the position, and he’s been looking for new work for a while now, but an offer, if it were to happen, wouldn’t come in

for a few months. In the meantime, it feels silly to keep looking for new places to live, especially because we would most likely have a yearlong lease. But it also feels silly to stop. Neither of us wants to put all our eggs in one basket (this new job). I know life’s not perfect, and there will always be uncertainty, but, Annie, how do I keep moving forward when I feel as if there’s a roadblock in my path? -- Stuck in Santa Fe

Dear Stuck: Though you two might not be moving yet, you are progressing. Keep focusing on the possibilities and you’ll solidify the foundation for the life you’ll build together. It’s also a great time to study up on couples communication skills, which will come in handy when sharing close quarters. Though I understand why you’d like to get an apartment together now, it’s not as if you two are stalling for no good reason. Hang tight and wait to hear about the job (if you’re comfortable relocating — and that in itself might be a whole other letter).

Dear Annie: We live full time in a pretty pool home on a canal in Florida. Especially in winter, everyone wants to stay at our home. Our family comes first, and we welcome family members to our home. We have many friends who call and request a stay at our home, as well, or intimate that they are in the area; they might as well invite themselves. Many of these people have stayed at our home repeatedly. I end up doing most of the cooking, cleaning and serving. My husband is not a big help and only grills. As I’ve gotten older, this has become a burden upon me physically and become mentally stressful. Attending to others’ dietary needs and pets can also be difficult. If we say that we are busy, they try to talk us into a visit or put a guilt trip on us. How can I find a method to say “no” while keeping my friends? — Crowded Canal

Dear Crowded Canal: People who stop talking to you because they couldn’t stay with you were never real friends to begin with. Rest assured that your true friends will understand and respect your boundaries. It’s perfectly reasonable that you would like the space to yourself, especially as company has begun to feel like a mental and physical burden. So take the plunge. Try out saying the word “no”— and no apologies necessary. I wager it will get easier with time.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com. To find out more about Annie Lane and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.