Dear Amy: My girlfriend and I have been in a close relationship for more than five years, and all signs point to marriage way down the road.
However, I keep a few close friends, both male and female, and one in particular has my girlfriend irked. I have never had any romantic interest in this girl, and I have been honest and open about my meetings with her to catch up.
My girlfriend sees this as an issue, and it has caused us a fair amount of stress as we debate whether this is OK.
While I care strongly for my girlfriend, I care about keeping my friends as well. Your thoughts on the matter? Can close friends of the opposite sex be maintained in a relationship?
— Good guy
Dear Guy: This question is asked so frequently lately that it leads me to diagnose a new relationship ailment: CFC — chronic friendship confusion.
Close friends of the opposite sex can be maintained while in a "couple" partnership.
Close friends of the opposite sex cannot be maintained exclusive (or outside of) the "couple" partnership.
After five years together, your girlfriend should be comfortable with all of your other friendships. How would you make her comfortable? You would include her in your friendships. You would be completely transparent, inviting your opposite sex friend to your home or to go out with you and your girlfriend.
You would give both women ample opportunities to get to know each other in case they, too, wanted to strike up a friendship. You would not spend time alone with this opposite sex friend unless your girlfriend was comfortable with it.
And if after doing all of these things your girlfriend was overly jealous or possessive of you, you wouldn't marry her.
Dear Amy: Responding to "To Work or Not to Work," I have been a stay-at-home mom for 22 years.
I've heard it all from people telling me I should work. People should never feel guilty for taking care of the family. You will reap far better rewards being there and guiding your children. All the material things cannot replace time spent raising your family. Life is too short; kids grow up too fast. Enjoy every moment!
— Happy at home
Dear Happy: My mother was also a stay-at-home mom for 22 years, and then my father left. Without a profession, it was a struggle to find decent work. Staying at home is a privilege many moms do not have.
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