Real Talk: Oblivious Boyfriends, Grad School and Shopping Addictions

Dear Savannah, I’m struggling with how to handle a situation with my boyfriend. While it may seem silly, he often doesn’t respond to my texts until hours later. I understand if he’s at work, but most of the time he’s just gaming, which makes me feel like I’m not important to him. Am I being ridiculous, or should I bring this up with him? We’ve only been together for six months so I’m still new to being open about my feelings with him. 

First, your feelings are completely valid no matter how long the relationship has been. I’d definitely recommend bringing it up with him, especially since the relationship is still fairly new – he may not even know that there’s an issue. Guys can be pretty oblivious (my boyfriend still is sometimes, and we’ve been dating for over three years!). This is a great opportunity for you to show how much you value communication, and I’m sure he’ll appreciate your honesty and your being comfortable enough with him to tell him about this. When you do discuss this, make sure to encourage empathy – let him know how you feel and give him a chance to explain his side and how he feels, so that you both can work towards a solution together. Your ability to recognize and understand why things are feeling off is a great trait when being in a relationship – it allows you to set boundaries, communicate, and provide support and understanding for both of you. Good luck! 

Last week I got rejected from my dream grad school. I want to take a year off and try again, but my family thinks I’m being crazy. Should I just settle for less, or try again next year? 

I’m so sorry to hear about the rejection from grad school – that can be a really discouraging situation, but your dedication is admirable. It’s important to make sure to grieve the rejection before you make any decisions going forward. When you’ve moved on emotionally from that, then you’ll be able to fully weigh your options. A gap year is a huge change, and it requires a lot of dedication. It’s also important to consider that going back to school after time off can be difficult. But of course, there are many factors to consider, and if after thorough consideration you’re confident that taking time off and trying again is the right answer, go for it. Being told “no” in that situation can totally throw off our plans, but that doesn’t mean all is lost! Make sure that you’ve processed and acknowledged the rejection to grad school, and after, take some time to make a plan. If you want to proceed with the gap year, make a thorough itinerary of what that year could look like – not only will it help your family see how serious and committed you are about this (and provide them some relief to see that you have a strategy to achieve your goals), it will help you to better assess the situation. I hope that you find peace of mind in whatever you choose to do, and remember that it’s okay to take time to make that choice! 

I think I’m developing a shopping addiction. I can’t seem to stop browsing online stores and buying clothes on impulse. Whenever I see a piece that I like, I end up convincing myself that I absolutely need it and my wardrobe will be incomplete without it, and then end up never wearing it. I’m at a point where I’m wasting all my money, but I just don’t know how to stop. 

When I worked as a manager at a consignment clothing shop, I ran into the same thing – so I totally understand. I used to shop to cope, and it took me a long time (and a lot of credit card debt) to get past it. Here are some tips that hopefully can help you out! 

  • Go through your closet and recycle/donate the clothes you don’t wear. Take time to do this, and take note of all the NWT (new with tags) items you find – it’ll help you realize the magnitude of the situation, and you’ll be donating to the community! This made me realize how much money I’d spend that I (technically) didn’t have in the first place, even if the clothes were on sale when I bought them.
  • Remove all of your credit/debit cards from your laptop and phone – paying electronically is horribly convenient, and it also takes away the concept of spending, since you’re not putting in any effort to purchase the item in the first place. When we shop in person, the amount of clothes we’re carrying becomes a burden, literally! There are tons of moments to reconsider when you’re shopping in-person, and creating a similar situation online can assist. Honestly, I’ve skipped on buying certain items simply because I don’t want to get up, get my wallet, and put in all of the information each time. Plus, it gives you more time to consider: is it an impulse, or do I actually want it? If you’re still having trouble with over-buying in-person, bring cash or a debit card with you when you shop. This way, you’re forcing yourself to budget within your means. 
  • If you do find yourself purchasing and quickly changing your mind, make a conscious effort to return the item in a timely manner. This will get you into the habit of thinking before buying – and you’ll be getting your money back! By returning, I found that my impulsiveness started to wane, because the return took a lot of time and effort, especially for a thirty-second decision I’d made the week before. 
  • Try to make yourself wear the clothes you haven’t worn – be creative! Some pieces you’ve purchased may be as cute as you expected them to be after all; it just takes the right accessories. 

I hope that these tips can help you curb the shopping addiction. Go you for noticing it in the first place – it took me ages (and several shopping sprees) to figure it out! But it is possible to curb, as difficult as it may be, and I wish you the best.