Life Advice



Ask Amy: Lovebirds encounter a serious red light

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband and I were lovebirds in college. We had so much in common!

Unfortunately, an autoimmune disease hit him when he was in good shape and he lost most of the sensation in his body.

At the age of 37 he worked with an unusual paleo diet and conducted lots of internet research. He is now stronger and healthier than before the disease hit.

Now he makes his own kale chips, toothpaste, and deodorant.

Frankly, I feel like I can't keep up.

He thinks I'm not thin enough, while my doctor compliments my physique.

To avoid shaming, I hide snacks and eat forbidden foods like oatmeal in the basement.

I thought that helping him to pay for and set up a red-light sauna in the basement was supportive and cute, and now I am pressured to sit in it and absorb a health treatment I know nothing about.

I’ll admit it, I haven't watched the same YouTube videos he has.

Had I met my husband now, with all the health stuff, I wouldn't have continued the relationship, due to these large differences between us.

When I expressed my feelings about this obsession he threw “eBay shopping” back in my face.

I have a “you do you” policy, but I'm beginning to think it isn't a two-way street.

I don't want a divorce, just a reverse lever.

– Health Nutty

Dear Nutty: You don’t seem to be trying to force your husband to join you in your eBay habit, but he seems to have the power (or you’ve granted it) to coax you into a red-light sauna, which is currently having something of a moment with its promises to cure just about every ailment.

Your habits are furtive, and while you claim to have a “you do you” philosophy, if you accept his right to eat and do what he wants, then why don’t you accept your own right to eat and do what you want?

In short, if you don’t want to eat and spend time in your basement’s red-light district, then take your oatmeal upstairs.

I suggest that you apply the “reverse lever” to yourself.

Continue to accept and support his health journey – as you have been. And make a choice to take good care of yourself in your own way.

Health evangelists can be hard to live with. If he bullies you about your body or hectors you over your own confident personal choices, you should find a counselor who might be able to mediate.

Dear Amy: I've been hired on a new team where I work very closely with “Bruce.”


We are assigned group projects and submit our work together.

The problem? He's an idiot. He's a nice guy, but is sloppy in his work, incompetent, irresponsible, and can't manage priorities and deadlines.

We are both new and I'm afraid his poor work will reflect badly on me.

I don't want to hurt anyone, but I'm wondering how long to wait before I approach my supervisor.

I find myself managing him, though we have the same job title.

What should I do?!

– Worried Worker

Dear Worried: If possible, wait until you’ve completed one project together. If you continue to believe the quality of your work could be compromised by “Bruce’s” incompetence, you should go to your supervisor and ask to be reassigned.

You should be able to do this without throwing him under the bus: “Bruce and I have very different work habits and capabilities. I believe I could achieve much more and be more productive working with someone else. Would that be possible?”

Dear Amy: When people write to you, would you be willing to change the word “girl” to “woman” or “young woman” when people refer to adults in their questions?

Calling a woman a “girl” is demeaning and sexist. You have a powerful, feminist voice. I wish you would tell the world that you are doing this.

I think it would be eye-opening for a lot of folks.

– Another Amy

Dear Amy: I agree that referring to women as “girls” is demeaning and sexist. And yet, most often (at least in the questions sent to me), other women are using these terms, referring to: “girls’ night out,” “girlfriends” “a girl I work with,” etc.

I believe this language reveals the basic attitude of the writer.

Overall, I appreciate the way people tell their own stories, and I like to leave these stories in the voice of the writer.


(You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2022 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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