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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Dear Rosanna: She's invited herself on our trip of a lifetime and she'll ruin it

Rosanna Davison. Photo: Brian Mcevoy
Rosanna Davison. Photo: Brian Mcevoy

Q: I'm going travelling this summer with some pals and it's something I've been so excited about - three months traipsing around Asia before heading back for our final year of college.

We were a tight group of six who sort of vetted each other before finally agreeing that, yes, we would get on and be the sort of people who could compromise and go with the flow to make sure we all got a bit of what we wanted while looking out for one another.

But just last week, another girl who we know really well invited herself along without waiting for us to agree.

She's lovely but very demanding - when we go out together she has to have everything her way - that's fine on a night out in Dublin when you can bail and hop in a taxi at any stage, but quite a different story when you're abroad.

This girl will not make this easy, but none of us really feel like facing up to her with the truth that we just don't want her on our trip as we have to come back and do our final year with her. Any advice? We've saved really hard to be able to do this and it's a once in a lifetime for us?

Rosanna: This is a very tricky situation and it's not really fair that this girl has invited herself along. You had your plans made and she's wormed her way in.

But, as tough as it is, you're all going to have to pluck up the courage to speak to her. You certainly can't just cancel a trip that you've worked so hard to save for and organise, and I doubt you would feel confident about just bringing her.

So you must sit her down as a group and explain the rules. Tell her that the original six of you got together because you know that you'll all get on well.

But you're slightly concerned that this girl's addition will change the group dynamic.

Ask her if she's willing to go along with what the group wants at all times. I don't think you can prevent her from going at this stage, but lay down the rules before you go.

 

Q. My boyfriend has taken up meditation and is kind of ramming it down my throat - mindfulness this, that and the other is his only topic of conversation these days.

It's not my bag and, at this stage, I'm just so sick of hearing about his inner peace and how he banished the babbling monkeys by going on this journey that I feel like breaking up with him.

We live together and have been together for eight years so I am torn - he got into this mediation lark about six months ago and is now a born-again lifestyle guru with extreme views on how we should live.

Is there any point in trying to reason with him given how far down the rabbit hole he has ventured, or should I reclaim my youth and sanity by moving out and having some fun with someone who doesn't think organic carrot juice counts as a treat?

Rosanna: I'm a big fan of meditation and mindfulness too, so I would very much understand how your boyfriend feels. He's obviously experienced a massive and much-needed change in his mental and emotional wellbeing since starting it, which is great.

But I do appreciate how frustrating it must be for you to live with him when it's not something you're interested in.

However, I think it would be a mistake to break up a long-term relationship just because your partner has discovered a new passion. Relationships need to be about supporting the other person through everything, and he hasn't exactly done anything wrong.

My advice is to make the effort to find a bit more about meditation and all that interests him. You might become just as involved, and it would be a brilliant way to grow closer. It's all about compromise.

Q. I want to get a dog and my girlfriend won't - she refused point blank as she says she will be the one left to care for it and talk it for walks - as if I am some kind of child who won't commit to this.

I actually thought she would love the idea as we'd be making a statement of intent about our future by caring for an animal together and she loves other people's dogs.

She says she just wants a nice clean house and no stress to come home to, but it's well known that animals are great stress relievers. To be honest, I resent her not even discussing it with me as we are supposed to be sharing our lives and home.

Rosanna: I absolutely agree with you that having a dog is extremely therapeutic and a great way for a young couple to learn about shared responsibility.

I also understand your girlfriend's concerns. She doesn't want to agree to something that you're taking on as a couple and then be the one left doing all the hard work.

You must prove to her that you're capable of sharing the work of owning a dog together and to help her understand that being parents to a happy, healthy hound is such an enriching experience.

My advice is to gently raise the subject again and arrange a visit to a reputable animal rescue centre, like the ISPCA, and speak to them about taking a dog home for a trial period so she can see what having a full-time pet would be like.

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