Thursday, October 11, 2012

Real Talk With Rachel: One Is the Loneliest Number

by Rachel Kurzius

Dear Rachel,

I am a thirty-year old woman engaged to the love of my life. He recently got a job that he has dreamed of for a long time. However, this job has completely upended our way of life. We used to be able to have dinner together, and now I eat alone. He always spends time outside of work with his new colleagues. And, he often is so tired from his work and socializing that our sex life has become almost non-existent.

I feel both left out from his new life and worried that we are both making a huge mistake in deciding to spend the rest of our lives together. I voiced my concern, but he told me that it’s all just transitional, and things will go back to the way they were. I just don’t see that happening.

What should I do?

Friendless Fiance

Dear Friendless Fiance,

If you are going to spend the rest of your lives together, the two of you need to talk more about what you imagine that life will look like. Is it important that you share dinner most evenings? Do you need to share friends? How often would you like to have sex?

No matter how clearly you sketch out this vision, life will throw you curve balls to complicate it. And that’s okay. You just need to make sure that you’re starting from a shared understanding.

I commend you for telling your fiance how you feel. It brings you both a step closer to that shared vision. What interested me most about your letter was that you acknowledge your fiance’s new job as the culmination of a life of work towards it, yet you seem taken aback that this realized dream has some unintended consequences.

Starting a new job always involves a transitional stage. For a dream job, as you describe your fiance’s, it makes sense he would put so much extra time into making sure he is doing the best he can. Your letter doesn’t say how long he’s been at the new job. I would give him some time to adjust to his environment, meet and enjoy his colleagues, and get accustomed to his new level of stress. This will involve your being forgiving and supportive.

However, he needs to be giving and supportive, too. I can understand why you might feel concerned if he’s out partying with his colleagues each night. Have you asked him if you can meet them? Perhaps you’d feel less left out if you were welcomed into the fold, and could put faces to the names he tells you.

You should also take this newfound free time to do some exploring of your own. Your sign-off, “Friendless Fiance,” surprised me. Just because your fiance is especially busy shouldn’t mean that you have no friends -- unless he’s your only confidante. In that case, you should start doing some things on your own that make you happy. Catch a movie after work. Pick up a hobby. That way, you will feel your fiance’s absence less profoundly.

Things never go back to “the way they were.” They will just continue to become whatever they will be. This is a never ending process. If you can imagine steering through these changes with your fiance, then you’re not making a mistake. If he continues to make you feel selfish and lonely, perhaps you need to rethink.



Rachel Kurzius revels in giving advice, and has provided counsel both as a columnist and a friend. She lives in Washington DC, where she works as a news producer. Real Talk with Rachel is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv,, on Wednesdays. Need advice? You can write to Rachel via

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