Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Fitting in with a family of strangers

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I grew up as the son of a single mom. She was a free spirit so I had an unusual childhood. I don't remember living anyplace longer than three years, and we lived everywhere from a house shared with three other single moms to a tent.

When my mom told me she had terminal cancer, she ...Read more

'Ghosting' a friend betrays immaturity

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn,

I would like your perspective on a ghosting situation. I met "Rose" four years ago in college. We kept in touch even after she transferred to a different college and after I graduated and moved to D.C. Despite a six-year age difference, we've always gotten along and talked almost every day.

Then, one day two weeks ago, Rose ...Read more

Can't afford to join boyfriend on trip to Paris

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My boyfriend and I have been together two years. Some longtime friends of his are planning a group trip to Paris, a city I've always wanted to visit. I flat-out can't afford it this year.

My boyfriend wants to go, and asked me how I would feel if he went. Part of me wants him to have ...Read more

Teaching kids gratitude

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My family is extremely lucky -- enough to eat, a safe place to live, health, loving extended family.

I have two small children, and I want them to understand just how lucky we are, and that we should be grateful and give back. How can we encourage small kids (2 and 4) to be appreciative...Read more

Ashamed of thigh tattoo and former party lifestyle

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

I'm 25 and just finished a three-year graduate program. Early on I met this guy, G., who pursued me multiple times but I always rejected him.

I entered graduate school as a very sheltered, innocent girl. I think that was what attracted G. I then befriended a couple of girls who influenced me to become this wild party girl. I ...Read more

Introvert copes with a yearly invasion of houseguests

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I live with my husband in a 750-square-foot apartment in an expensive city. I'm an introvert and I hate having houseguests for more than one or two nights, but my husband has made it clear that his family's visits are priorities. When his sister and her kids come to visit, we give up our...Read more

Outrage over partner's refusal to apologize

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My partner said something hurtful, which was not meant to hurt me but did. After I explained why it hurt and how I felt, he refused to apologize for hurting my feelings.

When I explained that people who care about each other are supposed to apologize if they cause hurt even unintentionally, and I consider being able to do so ...Read more

Social butterfly can't cure partner's loneliness

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Is there a way to help someone else build his social circle? My partner and I are both in our 30s with no kids and a fair amount of free time. We do spend quite a bit of time together and go on regular dates, etc.

I am a "joiner" and am involved in things that occupy the rest of my ...Read more

Feeling obligated to stay with abusive husband

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

Can therapy for anger ever really work? My husband is a screamer and a bully when he feels he isn't getting the attention (sex) he "deserves." He agreed to go to individual counseling a few months ago after I issued an ultimatum; we have small children and I wanted to give it one last shot.

This week there was another outburst...Read more

Mom takes "ladies first" school of thought to extremes

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My mother frequently asks men to defer to her in situations where I feel that her requests are ridiculous. For instance, at the grocery store, if the person in front of her in line is a man, she will always say, "Excuse me, will you please be a gentleman and let me go ahead of you? ...Read more

Lesbian PDA offends conservative Christian friend

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I have known "Sarah" for half my life. We are now in our late 20s. I came out to her as a lesbian two years ago and am currently dating someone.

Sarah is a conservative Christian, so I have made sure to be careful around her regarding our public displays of affection. I basically told ...Read more

Refusing to fight boyfriend's mom battles for him

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I've been dating my boyfriend for about three and a half years and we are moving in together. I'm 38 and he's 35. Everyone in his family has been so welcoming to me and is happy we're doing this.

His mother, though, is never nice to him. She's always been nice to me, but he's told me stories that still haunt him about verbal ...Read more

After Dad's death, a possible half-sister emerges

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My father passed away very suddenly several weeks ago. Though he had to cope with being a single dad my entire life -- my mom died when I was a baby -- he was the best dad any guy could ask for. He had a lot of relationships with women over the years but never remarried and pretty much ...Read more

Wife's teasing may cloak an ulterior motive

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I know teasing can be a playful way to get close or nudge us not to take ourselves too seriously. But sometimes I feel my wife uses it to express an opinion or point about me without saying it straight out.

These exchanges always seem a bit off, like little sidelong digs, but if I look at her inquisitively she says she was "...Read more

Mom of triplets gets judged for dressing them similarly

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I have triplet boys, preschool age. We're blessed, but one thing has become bothersome.

We usually dress them similarly. It makes things easier because we can buy three outfits at a time, they aren't fighting over who gets to wear a certain shirt, and we can easily pick ...Read more

Admitting fault in the battle of the sisters-in-law

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My fiance's sister and I have a strained relationship. I see her only at Thanksgiving, Christmas and occasional family events. She does not acknowledge me upon entering a room, her home, or my home. She heads straight to one of her family members without a word even when I acknowledge her. As the event progresses, she may ...Read more

Grandma yearns to tell new parents they're doing it wrong

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My son and daughter-in-law just had a baby, our first grandchild, which is wonderful. A lot seems to have changed since my kids were babies, and it's hard for me to keep up.

I formula-fed my kids and that worked out fine, but my daughter-in-law insists on nursing even though the ...Read more

Mother rejects traditional gender roles, at a cost to her kids

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My sister-in-law has a daughter and a son and has always wanted to avoid bringing them up in traditional gender roles. Relatives were told not to give her daughter anything pink. The girl got signed up for martial arts at a young age while the boy got signed up for ballet. That kind of ...Read more

Recovering from a friendship collision

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

Years ago, I had a friend named "Amy" who was very explosive and ended up being verbally abusive toward me. I ended that relationship.

Fast-forward to today -- my closest friend "Julie" has recently befriended Amy, and they do lots of social things together most weekends. I feel upset that Julie is becoming close with someone ...Read more

Dad's trust helps teenage son build confidence

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On liberating through boundaries:

When I was 16 and driving, I asked my dad if I could go out with my buddy Jeff for the night. Jeff was a tough, strong-willed troublemaker, and I appeared strong but was secretly meek.

After I returned, Dad told me that it was up to me what I did, but if ...Read more

 

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