Who is Alex and what is this? This is an advice column where I, Alex, answer your questions about dating and about life. Got a question you want to see featured? Submit it in the comments below!

Changing the Routine in Your Relationship

My longterm partner just got a substantial promotion. I’m very excited for her, but ever since she got it she’s been acting differently towards me. She’s more dismissive of conversations about my career and seems less excited to spend time with me. What should I do?

It sounds to me like the most favorable and actionable scenario is that your partner is finding more fulfillment in her work life than she is in your relationship. If you guys have been in a routine for a while, this positive change in her work-life could have drawn her attention to the lack of change in your relationship. I think that this contrast, coupled with her new sense of financial agency, may have her seeing the world—and more specifically the concept of change—differently.

Couple watching tv on couch
Couple watching tv on couch

I think a lot of people gravitate toward routine because usually routines form around things that we enjoy or that are easy. In the winter months, sometimes my partner and I will spend weeks binge watching Netflix and ordering in because it prevents us from having to go out in the unforgiving Minnesota winter hell-scape. But then eventually someone will strong arm us into attending some kind of event and we’ll remember why it is in fact worth putting on a couple extra layers and braving the winter—and when we come back, streaming television stops being interesting.

So what do you do? First find out if I’m right. I only have your side of the story after all—this might have nothing to do with her promotion. But if I am right, make some kind of change to your relationship. I don’t necessarily mean a change in the rules, definition, or functions of your relationship.  Change the way you spend time together, the things you do, the goals you have. Work together to make your relationship provide the same sense of fulfillment and progression as her career track.

Revealing Halloween Costumes at Work

My company is having a Halloween party next week and I’m worried my costume is a bit too racy/revealing. Normally I’d just wear something else, but there’s a guy that works with me who’s attention I’ve been trying to get and I feel really confident in this outfit. Should I throw caution to the wind and wear it or should I dress more modestly so as not to cause problems?

If you aren’t feeling 100% about this costume, then you probably should’t wear it. I doubt you’d actually get in trouble so to speak, but the confidence you feel wearing the costume around your house/friends will completely vanish if you’re feeling out of place at this party. If you really want this guy from work to see you in the costume, just upload a picture of you in it to social media.

Woman in Halloween makeup
Woman in Halloween makeup

If he doesn’t follow you on said social media, strike up a conversation with him at the party, reference a picture of something or someone (like a cat) that you have a picture of on your social and pull out your phone to show him. He’ll see the picture and if he’s interested in you, he’ll probably ask to follow you.

If he does follow you on social media, I’d also propose a secondary plan: just invite him to whatever non-work event you’re planning on wearing this racy costume to.

Socializing with Coworkers

How do I make friends at a job I’ve already been at for a while? My boyfriend and I just broke up and I’m trying to reconnect with people I may have shut myself off from. I’m really awkward in general, but now I’m extra nervous that I’ve burned a few bridges. How do I reconnect with coworkers?

Really the most important thing is that you just start showing up to things.  If everyone’s going out for a drink afterwork, go with them and don’t make a big thing out of it. It’s a very normal, expected, human thing to crave social interaction after or during a break up and I don’t think anyone at your work is going to fault you for making that effort even if the effort wasn’t being made in the past.

Coworkers toasting at happy hour after work
Coworkers toasting at happy hour

During work hours, you can also make an effort to learn more about your co-workers. Try to find out about any shared interests or about upcoming events, like concerts or movie screenings or conventions that you’re both attending.  If you know about an event that you think might be interesting to them, invite them.

This is all really basic stuff, but in my experience there aren’t really any shortcuts to making friends and connections. You really just need to put in the time and the energy.  Good luck!

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This article originally published on GREY Journal.