Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Parents are a couple of bad restaurant guests

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My daughter and son-in-law live an hour from us and we meet once a month or so at a midpoint restaurant for dinner. I always enjoyed this time and thought it was a nice custom.

Recently I caught my son-in-law talking to our waiter, giving him an extra tip and saying something about how...Read more

Fatherzilla of the bride

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

This past weekend, my boyfriend proposed to me while we were in New England on a trip! We are both in our 30s.

On the way back home, we stayed overnight at my parents' home. Over dinner, my father came to both of us to talk about his vision for the wedding -- the most convenient city to have the festivities (not where we live ...Read more

Pre-pregnant and struggling

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I've been trying to get pregnant for over a year, with many doctor visits along the way. We are finally heading in the right direction but this has really taken a toll on me, both physically and mentally.

Do you have any suggestions for getting through each "hurry up then wait for weeks...Read more

Tween daughter thinks it's dishonest to humor Grandma

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My 11-year-old daughter is going through a phase right now of extreme, black-and-white thinking. Right is right and wrong is wrong. This is challenging sometimes.

My mother-in-law loves to host but it's pretty obvious she buys entire meals pre-packaged from a grocery store chain and ...Read more

'Thank you' not in daughter-in-law's vocabulary

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

About a year and a half ago my youngest son married a lovely woman who I am genuinely fond of, if not very close to. We are a large family and she's an only child, and I know that can be overwhelming.

So I've tried to overlook this thing because it seemed so trivial. But it's really bothering me. My new daughter-in-law NEVER ...Read more

Standoff over who gets to unload the dishwasher

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

When my family members visit, they always help out in the kitchen (which is much appreciated), but they put things away where they don't belong, and it drives me absolutely bats when I can't find things. So I asked my family members when they visit to not unload my dishwasher.

Sister A...Read more

Drama, thy name is Grandpa

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn

I am at my wits' end with family drama. I will spare you the very long and ugly details and start with the most recent heartache.

My husband's daughter from a previous marriage invited our son and his wife and 2-year-old to spend the weekend with them since they were going to be in town for a wedding. His wife accepted. My ...Read more

Forgiveness for a dying mother-in-law

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My mother-in-law has terminal cancer. She is undergoing her second round of chemo, and it's unlikely that she'll be around for much longer.

I've never liked this woman. She's always been rude, if not downright nasty, both to me and my oldest daughter from a previous marriage. I've also...Read more

New mom can't stop bragging on social media

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I have a 4-year-old grandson who is wonderful in all the ways a 4-year-old boy can be! His mother, our daughter-in-law, is a professional photographer who posts photos of her boy on social media at least once every day, stating how exceptionally wonderful, smart, beautiful, special, compassionate, you-name-it he ...Read more

Anxiety over the prospect of losing another parent

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm single and in my late 20s. My dad passed away over a year ago, and lately, I've been having panic attacks at the thought of my mom passing away soon, too.

I was sure I wasn't going to get through the grief of losing my dad without going insane, but I'm here and hanging on -- I just...Read more

Husband lets the pregnancy news out of the bag

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I am six weeks pregnant; we confirmed it last week. My husband then told two of our closest friends without my knowledge. He told me he wanted to get me a gift and was at a loss at where to start, so reached out to them for advice.

His heart was in the right place, and he's already ...Read more

Father reverts to eating habits that almost killed him

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hello, Carolyn:

Three years ago, my father had a heart attack and needed triple-bypass surgery. He almost died.

Up until this point, he never paid any attention to what he ate. There were a few years after the surgery where he consistently exercised and ate right. I guess it was a wakeup call for him.

Ever since he lost that weight, though...Read more

Stuck in the middle of two former friends

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Do you have any tips on how to navigate relationships with two friends who've stopped speaking to each other? I'm still friends with both. I spend more time with one, but actually tend to think he's more at fault in the falling out.

Should I completely butt out, or express my feelings ...Read more

Steering relationship with mom away from religion

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hello, Carolyn:

My husband and I were both raised in the same religion, which for various reasons we have not chosen to continue as adults. In my household growing up, we were not exceptionally observant, but my mother has grown more devout over the years. She continually asks whether I've done this or that observance, none of which I've ...Read more

How to retract a proposal and stop living a lie

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I got my girlfriend pregnant by accident when we were at the tail end of grad school together. We were both 27 at the time.

I was ambivalent and leaned toward not continuing the pregnancy, but she wanted the baby, so we had a son and continued our relationship but did not get married. ...Read more

Sister wants a plus-two to the wedding

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I am getting married this July. My fiance and I at some point told my younger sister she would get a plus-one. She said she was going to bring her best friend from college, and I cautioned her at the time that she might want to wait in case she gets a serious boyfriend between then and the wedding.

Now my sister is in a ...Read more

Baby shower for a habitual deadbeat dad?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

A relative I don't particularly like has a pattern: He gets a girlfriend pregnant, announces how thrilled he is to be a father, then breaks up with the girlfriend before the baby is a year old and has little or no contact with the ex or child going forward.

He has done this twice, and ...Read more

Forgiveness for a dying mother-in-law

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My mother-in-law has terminal cancer. She is undergoing her second round of chemo, and it's unlikely that she'll be around for much longer.

I've never liked this woman. She's always been rude, if not downright nasty, both to me and my oldest daughter from a previous marriage. I've also...Read more

Protecting teenage daughters from abusive grandma

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My mother was a pretty good mom until I turned into a teenager, and then she became verbally and (occasionally) physically abusive. This has continued into my adulthood, so I try to only be around her when there are witnesses.

I have three girls. For each one, her good grandma-ing ...Read more

Bride allows family to control her wedding

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hello there!

I am getting married this winter. My fiance and I want a small formal ceremony. We found a small chapel that holds only 12.

My mother told everyone in my family and invited someone I don’t even know to our wedding, and then manufactured a list of people I “have” to invite. I went home to my fiance and cried my eyes out.

...Read more

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