Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Ultimatums vs. Standards

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I've always been confused about the difference between issuing an ultimatum and saying, like, "I can't live with [behavior] any longer, and if it doesn't change or improve, I won't stay." Aren't those kind of the same thing?

My spouse and I are going through a rough time. Spouse has ...Read more

Mean Comments by Sibling

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

Two weeks ago, my sister and brother-in-law said some horrible things about childless people -- apparently forgetting that my husband and I, who have no children, were in the same room.

Collective jaws dropped. My husband and I excused ourselves. Other family members came to our defense, and let them know how truly crappy they ...Read more

Honeymoon Registry

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

I'm hoping you can calm my panic: I just got the "save the date" for my brother's wedding, and it has directions to their "wedding website" -- which is a "fund our honeymoon" page! My parents are backpacking outside of cell service, but I have to imagine if they had known about this they ...Read more

Drifting Between Continents

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My boyfriend and I, both 30, have been dating for five years. We are from different countries, and currently live in a country foreign to both of us. He recently told me he cannot imagine living anywhere else other than his home country. This surprised me, as he had sung a different tune in the past.

While it would be ...Read more

Horrified

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

About a month ago I caught my mother being physically and verbally abusive to my kids, whom she had been watching daily while I work from home. After we fought about it, she left my home, and I haven't seen or talked to her since.

I'm horrified, both by her actions and that it took me ...Read more

Keeping an Ex-Husband's Name

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

When a woman marries a man, it is usually love. If she decides to take his last name as her unhyphenated surname, has no children from the marriage and then decides to divorce her once-enamored because she no longer loves him, or for other reasons -- WHY does she keep his name?

-- A.

Because her maiden name was ...Read more

Feeling Small and Trapped

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

How do I stop feeling so ... small? I feel like I'm failing some "grown-up" test, overwhelmed with the children, aging parents, sick husband, workplace stress (I think I work with a bully), too little money, too many wants, and just fatigue.

Did our parents feel like this and I just ...Read more

Safety Issue

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

A buddy of my husband's moved in with us last year after some personal/financial/emotional setbacks. He lived in our guest room, watched our pets when we weren't home, and helped out around the house. It was a great situation for everyone. He moved out just before our baby boy was born,...Read more

Missing Her Maid of Honor

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I'm getting married in seven months and my best friend just told me she is pregnant with her second child and can't come to the wedding because it is during her no-fly window.

By way of background, she moved overseas 12 years ago. I went above and beyond to help her plan her wedding because it ended up being a last-minute, DIY...Read more

On "His Time"

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm in a relatively new relationship (six months), and I can't shake the feeling that we always do things on "his time." If he suggests a time to get together, I typically say yes unless I have other plans, and he does always honor that time. But generally, unless I suggest something ...Read more

With the Boy Who Cried Wolf

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My boyfriend and I, turning 30 and 28 soon, have been together for almost five years and living together for four. We have talked about marriage and having a family several times, and it is something we both want. We have gone ring shopping, and he's even asked my mother for her blessing. He is on board with starting a family ...Read more

Everyone's Getting Married

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I have two weddings coming up soon, back-to-back. Both are far away. I've more or less committed to going to one. The other one I could afford to go to, but I'm not sure I want to, given the cost of the two combined. Is it bad form to go to one but not the other? I value both friends ...Read more

Friends Inviting Themselves

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I invited a friend and her family (husband and two children) to vacation with us at my parents' home this summer. My parents were willing to host all of us, four adults and four children in their home.

While at a party at my friend's home, she began discussing the trip in front of her party guests. One guest, a friend of hers,...Read more

Second-Class Citizen

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I have been dating a guy for five years, we live together and plan to get married.

I just found out from a former girlfriend of his that on their first date they went to a really expensive restaurant (one I have expressed an interest in, but that he always said cost too much). On our ...Read more

Grieving

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Six months ago, a good friend died of cancer. Four months ago, my beloved dog died. One month ago, another good friend died of cancer. Four weeks ago, our beloved rescued-from-a-puppy mill, 3-year-old dog died from cancer. Two weeks ago, a much-loved close relative tried to commit ...Read more

Picking the Best Guy

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I am considering getting remarried three years after an awful divorce. I had young twins, now 5. The man I'm with has a lot of parenting know-how, and we can meld our families really well. But the person who is a better fit for me is someone I was with a few years back, who "gets" me and is more selfless than anyone I've ever ...Read more

It Takes a Village

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My fiance's 10-year-old daughter said last week that she wants to call me Mom. Her mom, who has 80 percent custody, is 100 percent against this. The daughter wants to do it anyway and not tell her mom. This doesn't feel right.

On the other hand, her father and I want to support her in ...Read more

Sad in Texas

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Carolyn:

My relationship with my brother and his wife has in later years become one where I drove the several hours to their home, visited, etc., even though I work and he is retired. The phone conversations, however, always went both ways.

Two years ago, I wrote a letter spelling out where I thought we were, and he indicated he wanted to ...Read more

Should I Quit

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I am a working mother of three young children. It's been bothering me a lot lately that I feel unable to conjure memories of them when they were younger. The only "memories" I seem to have are from photographs.

I'm wondering if this is a result of working, and the resulting increased ...Read more

Best Friend Competing

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I have been friends with my best friend for over 10 years. She was recently the maid of honor at my wedding. Ever since I got engaged (two years ago) she has been competing with me! The day after she found out I was engaged, she mentioned how she and her boyfriend (now husband) needed to go ring shopping immediately, and made ...Read more

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