He’s always with his dorm friends

So, um, we could have grilled cheese in front of City Hall.

I'm entertaining today's letter because everyone's back at college. The young people need our help. They're pretty clueless, actually.

Dear Meredith,

My boyfriend and I have had a great relationship for five months. We have sort of always been more secluded people who prefer to spend time alone together or with a very small group of friends.
We just recently moved to a different state to go to college. He goes to the big university and I'm living alone, working, and going to community college, hoping to be able to afford to go to his school next year. My boyfriend moved into the dorms and now he has a whole group of friends from his floor while I live alone and struggle to make friends.

Now my boyfriend who used to love spending time with me is always with these friends and whenever we spend time alone his friends get irritated. It really stresses my boyfriend out and I don't want him to feel like he has to choose between me and his friends but every time we all hang out together they shut me out.

My boyfriend says not to take it too personally because they apparently don't really accept anyone outside of their group and it's not like they don't like me -- but they don't at the same time, if that makes sense. We fight constantly over this issue.

I understand that they he needs his time with his friends but they're now affecting my relationship. I love my boyfriend and I hate seeing him stressed. He loves me but lives with these people.

Is there anything else I can try to do to fit in with his exclusive group of friends? Is it just a new experience phase that I should just stick out or is there any advice you would give me to try and salvage my relationship with my boyfriend?

– Shut Out, San Diego

SO, first of all, you can't use the phrase "we have sort of always" after dating someone for five months. You haven't "sort of always" done anything. Your relationship is too new to have patterns and habits.

Your relationship changed because he's in college and you're not (obviously). It'd be one thing if he was a senior, but he's a freshman, right? Freshmen travel in packs. They go to house parties in groups of 20. I don't know why they do this. It's just the way they deal with the newness of school, I guess. Come to Boston and stand on Commonwealth Avenue on a Friday night. You'll see what I mean. It's very weird.

I don't know what kind of future you have with your boyfriend -- you're both quite young – but I do know that this pack mentality is temporary. It gets old after the first year. The pack shrinks.
But even in a smaller pack, your boyfriend won't become any less social. College is the time to go out, socialize, and befriend many. You'll want to make your own friends when you join him. Give him space and see if you can get your own pack together at community college. I bet there are social groups on campus. Friends are key -- with or without a boyfriend.

As for getting his friends to like you, well, you've got one thing going for you -- an off-campus apartment. Invite them over, the whole pack. Let them play loud music and lounge in your personal space. That's about all you can do.

Readers? Can you explain the pack to this letter writer? What can she do to befriend the pack? How can her boyfriend balance his two lives? Can they make this work? Discuss.

– Meredith