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It’s the first day of December and I hope that all of my readers have made it home safely and presently have their feet up somewhere warm and comfortable. If you’re a goal-oriented person like me, it might help to set several self-care goals for your time off. Sometimes we don’t do the obvious things important to our mental and emotional health unless we put them in writing and check them off, the way we might for more strenuous stuff. For me, hosting Thanksgiving is a marathon that it can take a while to wind down from. To get into a healthier mode of thinking I make a list of easy goals I can accomplish the next day: Drink lots of tea, watch that dumb movie I’ve been wanting to see, walk the dog. Checking them off reminds me that my health is more important than a few unwashed dishes. Now, on to the questions.

Dear Queen of Bad Ideas,

I’m starting an online degree soon and my boyfriend keeps saying he’s worried we’ll “drift apart.” The classes will take up some extra time in my life but I’m not leaving the state or anything. I told him I only want to be with him but he keeps insisting it’s going to ruin our relationship. What can I tell him that will help him feel better?

Sincerely,

Future MSS

Dear Future MSS,

I’m sorry to have to say this, but one of two things are happening here, and neither one is good. Either your boyfriend is making this prediction as a prelude to eventually breaking up with you once you start your class or he genuinely doesn’t want you to achieve your academic goals. Either way, I think you need to sit down and have a really honest talk about his expectations for your future together. In a healthy relationship couples will support one another in big life changes and acknowledge that you sometimes have to sacrifice time together for individuals to succeed. If this isn’t something he can do, then you need to know now. Get it over with, you’ll both be the better for it.

Good luck,

Your Queen of Bad News

Dear Queen of Bad Ideas,

I just got my first dog, and I’m terrified I’m going to screw it up. He’s a rescue and he had a really hard life before I got him, and I don’t want to traumatize him any worse. What would you suggest?

Sincerely,

New Dog Mama

Dear NDM,

Bless your heart, you’re going to be great at this! Rescue dogs do often come with a fair share of baggage, but in my experience they also come with boundless loyalty and appreciation for their rescuers. Once you two bond you should be able to overcome most behavioral issues, and I wouldn’t worry about “retraumatizing” him, as long as you’re able to offer love, food, company and the proper training. There is lots of advice online for common behavioral issues such as barking, digging and food aggression. Most trainers will recommend positive reinforcement and consistency. Follow their advice and you’ll be fine. Congratulations on your new family member!

Sincerely,

Your Queen of One Spoiled Terrier Mix

That’s all for this week Queendom! If you need me I’ll be in bed drinking tea, watching terrible television shows and hoping my family takes care of the dishes while I vegetate. Email your questions to lcstansberry@gmail.com.

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