Dear Annie: I got engaged in June 2017. My fiance and I are planning the wedding for next year, in November 2019. But I’m having some doubts about my fiance. He does not trust me. He keeps accusing me of having another boyfriend. He does not want me to be friends with anyone, male or female. I have a close friend whom he says he hates intensely, and he tells me repeatedly that he does not like the friendship. I asked this friend to be my bridesmaid, and he has a serious problem with that.
When problems arise or he has issues with me, he does not tell me to my face; he goes and tells my cousin every time, and she will tell me. He’s also been sending flirty messages to this cousin’s friend. I suspect he is having an affair with her. He is not taking an active role in the wedding planning process. He has not given me his guest list; he doesn’t want to discuss a budget for the wedding. Should I go on with the wedding or just cancel and let it be? — Confused About Life
Dear Confused About Life: Cheaters are always quick to accuse others of cheating. He’s most likely paranoid that you have a boyfriend because he has a girlfriend. Even if not, all the other behavior you mentioned is reason enough to call off the wedding. The way he’s attempted to isolate you from your friends is deeply troubling and could be a sign of emotional abuse. (You can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline to learn more about this or just to talk to someone about your situation: 800-799-7233.) It’s not easy getting out of bad relationships, but it’s even harder staying in them. You deserve much better than this.
Dear Annie: Speaking up is hard for me. Mean-spirited people have taught me that my opinions don’t matter as much as others’. This is causing problems for me in the workplace. I’m giving 110 percent at my job, but I’m not making my voice heard as much as I should be. Getting past my timidity is even harder in a professional setting, as I often feel overwhelmed by the pressure to perform — as if there are always eyes on me. How can I overcome my learned shyness? I want to be the best employee and co-worker I can be. — Shy but Striving
Dear Shy but Striving: Shyness can inhibit your career growth, so it’s good you’re striving to overcome it. First, know that feeling that there are always eyes on you is just that — a feeling. In the workplace as in life in general, most people are too consumed with their own image to pay too close attention to others’. I don’t mean that your supervisors won’t notice your performance at work; I’m more talking about such things as getting tongue-tied while trying to speak at a meeting. No one other than you is going to be thinking about it that night.
Second, you don’t have to take a huge leap. Little hops will do just fine. Start by saying one thing during a smaller meeting. Do this a few times. The more you do this the more your confidence will snowball, until you feel comfortable speaking up at larger meetings. It will get easier every time.
If your anxiety is simply too paralyzing, consider seeking counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for social anxiety.
Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.