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Baggage Check: Field of dreams needs a ref

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: My girlfriend has decided to try to enter my field. Our two fields have always been related, but she seems to think that she should be able to get a job similar to mine, at my level. I want her to succeed. But I resent that she thinks she can do my job after such little experience. She thinks I’m being “possessive” of my field. We’re fighting a lot about this because I think she should set her sights a bit lower.

I can understand your discomfort, but I can also understand her sensitivity. She might take your views as a judgment that she’s not as intelligent or capable as you are, even if you don’t mean it that way. And I wouldn’t blame you if you felt that her overconfidence was a direct undercutting of your abilities.

The good news is you’re not in charge of the hiring decisions. Unless she’s unemployed or in a job that’s toxic to her mental health, she can afford to spend time getting rejected for jobs that are above her experience level. And if you’re wise, you can take that time to practice forming your lips into a sentence that looks a lot more like “I’m sorry, babe” than “I told you so.”

Q. My fiance and I have been engaged and broken up twice. But we’re determined to be in it for the long haul this time. My friends and family don’t seem to respect us and our wedding plans. We want to do a destination wedding but I can’t seem to get my sisters on board with bridesmaid duties, and his parents haven’t made travel plans yet. I can’t help but wonder if it’s because they’re judging us for the past.

They are. And can you blame them?

You’ve broken off your engagement twice; that’s more than enough reason for someone to balk at buying a nonrefundable plane ticket. You seem more worried about logistics (a destination wedding after such a rocky road? Really?) rather than the fact that your family and friends might have valid concerns.

Forget the hotel reservation blocks and get some counseling. Any time someone declares that they are overly determined to override past problems and they want everyone else just to trust them, when they give no evidence as to why that should be the case, it’s a sign that something might be off.

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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