Relationships 101:
Five Reasons to Stop Clinging

by Bonnie Burton

Party season is on its way. Do Hannukah, Christmas and New Year's ring any bells? Even though you're excited about all the fun you'll have, a part of you can't help but be nervous about what might go wrong during the festivities when you have your boyfriend in tow.

Do these fears cause you to cling? Here's how to keep yourself in check. Hey, the last thing you want to be is sulking by the punchbowl all night.

Fear: If I leave his side, another girl will flirt with him.
Reality: Just because you're out of sight, doesn't mean you're out of mind. However, the more you cling on to you beau, the more you might seem out of your mind. Give him a chance to mingle with all kinds of people at the party, not just the ones you approve of. If you want a good relationship, you have to trust the guy. Plus, you'll have more to talk about when you come back together.

Fear: I won't know anyone here!
Reality: That's the best part of going to a party! You get to meet new people you might not normally run into. You don't have to be best pals with everyone just to attend a shindig. Get away from the bean dip and mingle!

Fear: What if he heads for the alcohol or wants to get loaded before the party?
Reality: You're old enough at this point to know that you don't have to drink to have fun. You're also mature enough to realize that drinking can lead to other problems since it's illegal to consume or have alcohol on you before a certain age. Even though you know this, he might not. Or he might not care. Either way, you can only be responsible for your own actions, not his. But if people in your group do decide to drink, don't get in the car with them unless the sober, designated driver is behind the wheel.

Fear: Someone might hit on me.
Reality: So what? If someone flirts with you or asks you to dance, that's all right. It just shows they have good taste. However, this doesn't mean you have to flirt back with some stranger just because he winked at you. Remember, your boyfriend might be cool as a cucumber, but no guy likes his date to be playing the field, when she's supposed to be with him. How would you feel if your boy danced the night away with some cute blonde?

Fear: His ex showed up.
Reality: It was bound to happen. The girl who captured his heart before you came along is at the party. She's dateless and she's walking your way. Question is, do you instantly clutch your boyfriend's arm to show that you're his girl now, or do you smile and act like a girl who has nothing to worry about? Why not play it cool and be the mature one? Chances are she just came by to say hello because it's the polite thing to do. Plus, she might still consider your boyfriend a close bud. And unless your guy is harboring feelings of unrequited love, there's no need to hit the panic button.

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