Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Gracefully Decline

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I have just purchased our first home. We are very excited to finally host all the friends and family who kindly fed us over the years.

My husband is agnostic, I am atheist, and we do not say grace. My father-in-law always says grace and insists everyone bow their head ...Read more

Very Sad & Confused

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

During my 10-month engagement we've had a couple of bumps in the road and seen a couple's counselor. Recently we have come to a crossroads. He can be overly sensitive -- a carryover I'm sure from his childhood. This can result in arguments where he is wounded by something that SHOULD ...Read more

Cruel Mother

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

My daughter, an 18-year-old about to graduate from high school, is in a serious and loving relationship with a young man who will be 18 himself this month. He goes to school full time and works full time, and they spend much of their free time together.

I found out today that his mother has designated his bedroom for his ...Read more

Conflicted, again

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I am the letter-writer from the Oct. 22, 2015 column (http://wapo.st/1QUi2dz). I wanted to say thank you for responding and give you an update.

His mom died last fall. I did what you advised, I was there for him and supportive of him regardless of how we defined what "us" was.

...Read more

Childless Couple

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

What do people really want to hear when they ask when my husband and I are going to have children? When I say we don't plan to, the next question is, why not? Do I tell them it was a tough decision to make and one I find myself struggling with but know to be the right one? That we can barely keep ourselves afloat financially or...Read more

Trusted Friendship

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I recently confided in a good friend some personal news, and told her not to tell anyone. I didn't think trusting her was a problem, as she has confided in me numerous times in the past and I have kept her personal stories to myself.

Within a few days, she had told two other friends. ...Read more

Secretive Sisters

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My mom died two years ago and she ruled my parents' relationship. My 86-year-old father has never had to make any decisions and can't step up to keep the family together.

One of my five sisters, "Rosie," has alienated all of us (by being verbally abusive) but lives closest to my father and has ingratiated herself into his life...Read more

Gauging Time Apart

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

How much time apart should a couple who live together have per week? I'm trying to gauge the healthy amount of togetherness and quality time as opposed to time apart with friends, family, and weekend overnights away from each other.

-- Gauging Time Apart

Some people don't need any,...Read more

New Relationship, but Old Parents

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm married with two kids. I went through a lot to figure out why I can't have a good relationship with my parents and probably never had one.

It's clear to me now that they are trying to have a relationship with their kid, not their adult child. They get angry and afraid when I ...Read more

Starting Kindergarten

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My spouse and I are at a complete impasse about my son starting kindergarten this fall. He has a late August birthday, so he can go this year at 5 or wait until next year.

My son is smart and well-behaved and academically will probably be fine. I want to wait a year so that he will be more mature, spouse is adamant that we do ...Read more

Who Am I?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I like to think of myself as a well-put-together person. I'm educated, have a good job, responsible, etc. But I'm starting to see signs that I'm just kidding myself. I dress well for my job, but rarely go through a day without spilling something on my tie.

I also like to think of ...Read more

Frustrated and Annoyed in Baltimore

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My family is very lucky to live in a big house with a big front porch, backyard, and a second-floor back porch. My preteen daughter especially loves that back porch. In the summer she spends whole days out there listening to the radio and yakking on her cell phone. This is great for the rest of the family -- she is not ...Read more

Mother-In-Law and Autistic Kids

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I wrote you over four years ago about [my energetic young boys, 4 and 6, one of them with autism, and] my critical mother-in-law, "Milly" (http://bit.ly/LoudKids). After I wrote that letter in 2011, my Milly continued to criticize our parenting (a lot) whenever we visited. I asked her ...Read more

Bachelorette Party's Bad Date

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

I'm the maid of honor in my best friend's wedding. The only date for the bachelorette party that works for the whole group is also my long-term boyfriend's birthday (dating seven years, turning 28 this year).

We went ahead and started planning the party a few months ago. I just told him about the date conflict and he is very, ...Read more

Seeking Forgiveness

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

What if the person you need to forgive is yourself? I bullied my younger sister as a kid/teen, and as a grown 30-something I feel incredible shame and guilt. I have apologized to her as an adult, which she seemed to have accepted, and I know much of it stemmed from being bullied and ...Read more

Splitting the Housework

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I know you're a believer in the idea that housework needs to be split 50-50 between two spouses, but I'm wondering if there are any exceptions.

We recently moved from a small apartment in the city to a house with a big yard in the suburbs. I really, really didn't want to make this move...Read more

OK With Being "Not the Best"

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My parents had a lot of strengths, but one of their weaknesses was a tendency to be very critical, with high standards in every area (grades, accomplishments, extracurriculars, etc.). This led to a very distant relationship after I left home for college and continuing well into my late 20s. All the high achievement did make for...Read more

Ignoring Ill Mother-In-Law

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My very elderly MIL is in the hospital and it is apparent that she will be unable to return to her home. She is slated to be released from the hospital in about 12-14 days. NONE of her children, including my husband, has made any attempt to find permanent housing for her. She cannot come...Read more

Will He Fall Off the Wagon?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I have been dating a wonderful man for about six months. We love each other and see a future together. He is a recovering addict, which isn't exactly the problem.

The problem is I live in fear that he will relapse. He told me he has relapsed numerous times, never getting much past a year sober, but people don't notice because ...Read more

Supporting a Male Domestic Abuse Victim

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I don't know where to start with this one, so I appreciate your help. I have a male relative who's being physically and verbally abused by his wife. It looks like he's now ready to leave the situation (yay!) but we want to give him additional protections and support. Can you recommend ...Read more

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