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Dockter Duval's Advice Column

I recently moved in with my boyfriend and things already aren't going very well. The problem is that he always has to know where I am, where I'm going and who I am with at all times. He doesn't trust me being on my own, and now that we live with each other, we barely have any time apart. It's as if I can barely be my own person. He thinks I'm going to cheat on him again, but it's not as if he has not had his own string of deceptions from time to time. What should I do?


Lacking Individuality

Dear Lacking Individuality,

I will start by saying that you're not only lacking individuality, but also a decent relationship. I also could not help but notice that after talking about how your boyfriend does not trust you, there was a small mention of him believing that you might cheat on him ... again. If I didn't know better, I would think that you were trying to slip that one by unnoticed, but unfortunately the word "again" in that context sticks out like a bad toupee. This means that at some point you did in fact violate his trust and it is probably justified that he is insecure about your fidelity.

The problem is that he has good reason to be insecure and there is probably no way to quickly fix this problem. Trust is something that really cannot be violated without major repercussions. Even a momentary slip-up is enough to disrupt the entire foundation that has been previously built.

Because of his insecurity, your boyfriend feels like he has little control over the situation, and to counteract that impotence he is trying to watch you like a hawk.

On the other hand, he needs to understand that if he cannot trust you, he needs to move on from this relationship. Trying to exert his power over you is completely wrong because it will only make the relationship worse, and, more importantly, because it is mentally and emotionally oppressive.

Honestly, it sounds as though you both need to assess whether the relationship is salvageable. As it stands, you did something that made him lose faith in you, and it will take a long time for him to regain it. At the same time, the only thing he can do to feel secure is suffocate you. Seeing as how trust, an essential part of any relationship, is lacking, perhaps it might be best to think of taking a break for a little while.

Dear Dockter Duval,

I like the café idea in Alderman Library. However I don't like not being served! The other day, I ran over to the Café to get a latte so I could actually study and not fall asleep on my books, and they told me they'd already closed! It was only 10:05 p.m., and the person in front of me got served, so what gives? Besides, there were still three people behind the counter, so why couldn't one of them just take a break from sweeping for a second and at least get me some coffee or SOMEthing? I know they probably still had some, though one girl told me they didn't. Would it be that much trouble? I don't get it. How am I supposed to stay awake to study if the cafe people close way early and are really mean about not serving people?


Confused Coffee lover

Dear Confused Coffee Lover,

If you're right about one thing, it is definitely the fact that you're confused - oh, and also a little selfish. Whoever said the customer is always right may have been a nice person, but she/he was definitely gutless considering that often times, such as in your case, the customer is very, very wrong. Actually, I should probably thank you for turning yourself into such a fine example to illustrate my point.

Any establishment has certain rules and regulations that must be followed at all times, regardless of the situation. As an employee of Greenberry's, I understand this concept. If the café is supposed to close at 10:00 p.m., then those who have not been served by that time will, unfortunately, have to go elsewhere. There really is nothing else to it. It does not matter if you are next in line, or near the front, because if you were to be served, then someone else would become that "next person in line," perpetuating the cycle. Although it is hard for completely egocentric consumers to think of anything other than satisfying their own desires, they must realize they are not the only people with agendas. The people who work at the café have certain times to open and close the café, and considering that they are not the owners, they have no say in establishing these times.

You also should consider that these workers have tests of their own for which they must study, places they have to be at certain times and deadlines that must be met. They work at the café to provide a service for an allotted amount of time, but after that time, 10:00 p.m., they are not required to do special favors such as extending hours and working longer. You should be respectful of the fact that they are individuals, too, and not take it personally if you don't get your coffee. The problem is that some people believe if they want something bad enough (e.g. multiple shots of espresso) it should inherently be theirs. But we all know this isn't true. Otherwise I'd have been dating Natalie Portman by now.

I have seen the madness that strikes the café several times a week when caffeine-starved undergraduates desperately seek whatever will keep them awake for the longest amount of time. There is a certain strain in the half-closed, baggy eyes of students that without any words so clearly say, "Please, dear God, let there be coffee." Quite frankly, I think it's rather scary. Whatever happened to that age-old tradition of getting some rest when you're tired? I've heard it all before, "I've got too much work to do," or "If I stop now I'll mess up my grades." This is probably true, but if you do stop now, you might also be able to prevent that brewing ulcer or a heart attack at the age of 35 - come on people, relax a bit would you? If you have to rely on coffee to handle the rigors of academia, I wonder what will happen when something really demanding comes up. Run for the hills, I suppose - after all, that's where the coffee beans are grown.

Questions? Email Dockter Duval at


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