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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Dear Rosanna: How do I tell my new girlfriend that she's taking things too fast?

Rosanna Davison
Rosanna Davison

A girlfriend who is moving too fast, a shoplifting friend and a hard-to-please mother are amongst this week's problems

Q: I JUST started seeing a really nice girl about a month ago. She stays around mine a lot as she has a bunch of housemates in her place. I feel like it's moving a bit too fast.

I was fine with that at first but she has started leaving a lot of her stuff here and offering to cook dinner for my mates etc. I've made a few jokey comments about this the last two weeks but I think I need to have a serious word because she stays at mine about five or six nights a week now.

How do I tell her I want to date her, have her stay over a few nights and give our relationship a better chance of success by slowing things down? I'm just afraid she'll think what I say is code for I want to break up, and it's not.

It's great to hear that you've met somebody you really like, but I do agree that a new relationship needs to be taken at a pace that you're both comfortable with. She sounds like a very kind and willing person, who obviously wants to make you happy.

But if you rush things now, then there will be less to look forward to further down the line. I think that your only option right now is to have a very gentle and casual chat with her.

Start by explaining how much you like her and her company, but you're worried that it's moving too fast and will face burnout in the not too distant future.

Give her a chance to express her own thoughts on the subject, and whether she agrees. You will have to come to an agreement about how often she stays over, and whether it's OK to leave some of her belongings at your place.

Work together to compromise on what you both feel happiest with, and make sure she knows that you're doing this to give the relationship a chance to last a long time.

Q: MY friend has started shoplifting and our whole class knows because she makes a point of showing what she robs at lunch time and at the weekends. Most of the stuff she robs is not even stuff she wants or needs as her parents are pretty well off and she gets a good weekly allowance.

I'm not sure why she is stealing all the time but it seems like it has something to do with needing attention. I'm worried as she is so open about it, it's only a matter of time before someone else's parents or a teachers hears about it and then she'll get in real trouble. But then maybe that's what she needs to happen?

Your friend is going down a dangerous road of petty shoplifting that could end up getting her in very serious trouble. I think you're right that she's enjoying the attention from other classmates, and perhaps she doesn't realise the gravity of the situation.

Whether she needs the items or not shouldn't matter. Stealing is illegal and she shouldn't be doing it.

I don't agree that she needs to get herself into big trouble in order to learn her lesson, but I do strongly feel that an adult needs to be told about what she's doing. Halting this habit of hers now will prevent so much trouble down the line, and if she's just started then there's still time to return the items to the shops and apologising for making a big error of judgement.

My advice is to speak in confidence to a teacher and explain the situation, and I would imagine that her parents will then be notified. You can be very discreet about it and she never has to know that it was you who told an adult. But it's completely for her own good and will ultimately be worth it.

Q: MY mother has always been hard to please, but I thought that when I grew up things would ease. That has not been the case. She's stayed the same but I'm a 30-year-old woman still trying to please a woman who doesn't seem to want to meet me half way.

There have been lots of chats and arguments over the years but nothing changes, so I think I need to, but this is a big deal and I don't know where to start?

I can understand why you feel driven to make your mother happy. It's normal to want to make your parents feel proud of your achievements and the way you live your life. But this should end now you're an adult - it shouldn't interfere with your life or your relationship with your mum.

It's important to identify the areas that you feel you need to improve on to please her, and ask yourself why exactly you're trying to do these things for her and not you. If she's still dissatisfied with parts of who you are after 30 years, then it's unlikely she'll ever change. She clearly has unattainably high standards, but that's for her to worry about. If I were you, I would just live my life and do my best in all areas because it makes me happy and nobody else.

You simply can't go through life trying to please others, especially when you don't follow your own dreams because of it. There's also no need to apologise for not doing what your mum expects from you. You're old enough to make your own decisions and live exactly how you please.

Look at this issue as just being a part of who your mum is, and not actually a standard that you have to reach.

Viewing the situation differently should help you to feel less under pressure from your mum.

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