April #AskGretchen: Daddy Issues, Finding Love, & Ailing Parents

#Ask Gretchen; Let's get real.

Dear Gretchen: I’m 27 and approaching my 28th birthday this summer. Most of my female friends are still single, as am I. But I am feeling anxiety about not being in a relationship and potentially “missing my window” to get married within the next three years. I have occasional thoughts like, “This guy I’m seeing is okay–I could marry him.” I know marrying the wrong person could make my life really small (or make my thirties miserable). But I’m also haunted by Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon character on 30 Rock. Do I need to be strategic about getting married and make decisions moving to a new city, etc.) accordingly? Or, am I catrastrophizing? – Liz, who does not want to become Liz Lemon

Dear Liz: Instead of focusing on a love strategy to find a husband, take this time to focus on living your very best life so that you don’t end up with a was-band. There’s no time clock on love. It happens when it happens. Do things that make you happy. When you shine from the inside, you will attract the right kind of partner. There is nothing more alluring than someone who is confident and comfortable with who she is. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: I have been in all types of relationships; ones that are restrictive, ones that are tumultuous, ones that are abusive, and some that are pleasant. I am currently dating a great guy! He’s ambitious, we get along, he gives me my independence, and treats me exceptionally well. However, I always find myself feeling complacent and bored. I don’t know if this means I am with the wrong person or if this is me having an intimacy block. What do I do? This ALWAYS happens to me. – Bored with love


Dear Bored: It sounds like you might have some unresolved daddy issues. When you don’t feel good in any relationship, it’s time to unplug your umbilical cord from your Him and plug it into the source. You can call it God, the Universe, Higher Power, or Nature, whatever floats your boat, just as long as it’s something that can be a spiritual presence in your life. The feeling that you’re searching for is never going to come from another person. No man, no matter his qualifications, will be able to fill that void. With the right support and guidance, you will be able to discover your worth so that you can attract and be satisfied in a relationship that’s right for you. Good luck! – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: I want to encourage my boyfriend to hang out with his guy friends and to do fun activities on his own. How do I do that without nagging? – Wanting some autonomy


Dear Autonomy: Set the example! If you want your boyfriend to go out with the guys, plan a girl’s night and give him advance notice. Make sure your life is full of fun activities so that he can see what that looks like. Let him know that you love spending time with him, but that you want him to feel comfortable doing things that he enjoys without you as well. It is healthy to do things separately and creates a well-rounded relationship. Just make sure that you aren’t avoiding your man by filling your life with so many activities that there isn’t room for him. – Gretchen


Dear Gretchen: I took some time off to look after my ailing elderly mother. Then my father needed attention. Every time I began my job search and interview process, one of my parents suddenly became ill or needed my attention. For some time, I’ve had a fear that as soon as I start working and living my life, something terrible will happen to my parents. Three years have passed, and I feel stuck. I cannot seem to move forward in my life. I’m unemployed, unhappy and alone. Your advice? – Feeling fearful


Dear Fearful: You’re a good daughter with a tender heart and have gone over and above for your parents. You will never regret the love, kindness, and care you have given to them. But, it’s time to live your life. You have taken on the role of caretaker and have forgotten to take care of yourself. Since your job search coincided with ailing parents, your brain associates finding work with illness. It’s time to find a way for these two conflicting parts to work together. I encourage you to create a vision for yourself, which includes you loving your parents while living your very best life. The only requirement for your vision is that it can only be good. When you can see these two areas intersect in a positive way, your brain will release some of the negative associations and past experiences. You are not abandoning your parents by moving forward and you can’t keep them from getting sick by staying in place. Having an all or nothing attitude in life is easy to adopt, but it will keep you stuck and rob you of the life you are meant to live. I understand that you are scared for your parents, but underneath that there is a deeper fear about your own life that you haven’t addressed. Ask yourself what you are really hiding from. The answer may surprise you and could be the key to moving forward. – Gretchen

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