Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Baby Name Clash

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My family is Irish and my brother and his wife named their baby daughter "Aisling," a rather traditional name. The name is pronounced similar to "Ashley" traditionally, but they are pronouncing it "A-zling." My father insists on using the traditional pronunciation, arguing that it's ...Read more

Suggestion Creates Friction

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My 13-year-old niece is tiny and has a big nose. We live in a community where a lot of teenage girls have cosmetic surgery at 16. I suggested to my brother in private that his daughter may be a candidate for this procedure. (My 19-year-old stepdaughter and my wife have had nose jobs.) My brother was deeply offended and angry ...Read more

Scattered Over Dating

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

I'm back to dating after a multiple-year relationship. Years ago, I think I believed it was wrong for people to "date around" without being explicitly clear that's what they were doing. Now that I'm closer to 30 than 21, things feel oddly less clear, not more. I am not sleeping with ...Read more

Wedding Guest

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I RSVP'd with my plus-1 for a wedding that is tomorrow. My live-in boyfriend stormed out last night in a fit of rage (not uncommon behavior for him, unfortunately), so now I am left to decide. Do I go alone? Do I not go at all? Can I take my 18-year-old son as my plus-1? The invite was ...Read more

Opposition From Husband

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My married daughter, with two young daughters of her own, has decided to file for a separation. I felt from the beginning that things may not work out. They were both young, my daughter just 22, and it was the pregnancy that mostly pushed them to marry six years ago. I remained optimistic and embraced my new son-in-law and his ...Read more

Hating "Hate"

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My 10-year-old son has started expressing that he "hates" certain people/kids. How do I go about getting him to stop using that word?

For what it's worth, he told me he hated some kids at camp, and I asked him why and what did he do about it. He said they cheat when playing games, and ...Read more

Tapped-Out Aunt

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

My sister has four school-age children, and my nieces and nephews have, quite frankly, had to do without.

My oldest niece (who is on the dreaded "spectrum" and has struggled because of this) has started a running program, helping her get out some of her anger from her parents' divorce as well as sort out some of her other ...Read more

Losing an Old Friend

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Karen and I were best friends, talked every day by phone, email or text. Both divorced with kids and dating online. Sharing stories, experiences, advice. She finally found the man of her dreams, blending their families together.

I understand she is busy -- I don't expect our ...Read more

Outing a Sibling's Affair

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

Last summer, my sister-in-law cheated on my brother. It was a months-long affair that continued even after my brother found out about it, and was followed by some other odd/out-of-character behavior that led my brother, and eventually her, to suspect mental-health issues.

Although it seemed like they were headed for a divorce,...Read more

Not Processing Grief

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My only sibling and I lost our mom earlier this year to a surprise infection that set in following routine surgery. She wasn't sick, rather she was very healthy, so it was a total shock to us and very devastating to the whole family to see this vibrant, youthful woman deteriorate before...Read more

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

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