Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Should she include her ex-husband in holidays to appease her daughter?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I left my husband of 25-plus years, and it's only been a few months. A year ago, he told me he didn't love me and there was no chance he would change his mind.

My adult daughter and I were very close, but since the split she's been distant to me, closer to her dad. Understandable -- I'm the "dumper" and this rocked her world. ...Read more

Fielding nosy questions after a name change

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I've just changed my family name from my father's to my maternal grandmother's. My father is (and always has been) a horrible, abusive person, and I've wanted to make the name change for years.

A few people know the reason, but what do I say to everyone else? "Why did you change your ...Read more

Did she ruin her brother's job prospects by revealing his age on social media?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hello Carolyn:

My brother turned 50 (although he looks younger) several months ago. Along with the usual card and gift, I wished him a wonderful 50th on social media.

That did not turn out well. He was in the process of looking for work and was going into his third and final interview with one particular company when I made the post. He ...Read more

Her husband orders a burger at their favorite Mediterranean restaurant. Could it be cognitive decline?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

My husband is 75 and very bright. An incident occurred the other day that really concerned me. We went to a Mediterranean restaurant that we have gone to several times before, and foods like kabobs with rice, pita bread and hummus are familiar to him. But he ordered a burger. I did not ...Read more

Helping parents cope with the aging process

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My father recently suffered some irreparable damage to his eye as a symptom of the aging process coupled with diabetes; he's 75 and in fairly good health otherwise. He has had 20/20 vision until this incident, and is now very, very bummed and irritated about this deterioration in the ...Read more

Parents do time for their son's felony

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

Our son committed a felony two and a half years ago. It was a horrific shock and he has been receiving the best possible treatment. It was not a crime against people.

Since that time, our other children (with one exception) will not allow us to have their children at our home unless they are personally present, though we baby-...Read more

Assuming the role of holiday scheduler after mother-in-law's death

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband lost his father in 2015 and his mother in early 2017. He has two sisters, both local with families, and he loves them both but has never been good at keeping in touch with them except as absolutely necessary.

Last year (without my mother-in-law) was the first time we did not...Read more

How to approach your daughter if you fear she may be in a controlling relationship

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

My daughter and her boyfriend moved into my house a few months ago because they were having financial difficulties and I wanted her to be able to finish her degree, which she did in May. I started noticing how little she wanted to communicate with me, but I thought she was just busy and stressed.

Her boyfriend has anger issues...Read more

Must a second (or third, or twelfth) wedding be an intimate affair?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm engaged to a wonderful man, "Jim," and we're planning our wedding. We just booked a gorgeous inn and I am going to wear a stunning full-length white dress. We'll also be having a sit-down dinner with band and dancing for the reception.

I'm in my 30s and Jim is in his 40s, and we ...Read more

Stepmother worries husband's daughter feels entitled to full cost of her wedding

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My husband's daughter just announced she and her boyfriend are getting married, and we are very happy for them. They are planning a wedding that is not out of line with the kinds of weddings their friends have been having, but that we consider over the top. The cost will likely exceed her annual salary.

My husband has been ...Read more

Is there a wrong way to grieve?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My parents died in an accident a year and a half ago. We had a wonderful relationship, and they were part of my family's day-to-day life. I grieve for them every day and still find it difficult to talk about them without tears. I see a grief counselor and have been screened by my doctor...Read more

Wife verbally abuses his family of origin. Does he have a duty to defend her?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My wife occasionally picks fights with members of my family of origin, especially my sister. What am I supposed to do about that? The general guidance is that protecting my spouse from my family of origin is my responsibility -- they're my family, not hers -- but it was my wife that ...Read more

Boyfriend isn't comfortable seeing her ex at family events

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I have been dating my boyfriend for about a year and a half. Things have been going well but recently he began expressing to me that he was uncomfortable about the fact that nine years ago, I used to date the brother of my now-brother-in-law (through my sister's marriage). My boyfriend said he is uncomfortable being around him...Read more

Why do people insist on body-shaming pregnant women?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

What's the appropriate response when people -- some I know, some I don't -- express surprise that I'm "only" X weeks pregnant and feel the need to tell me I look bigger than that? I think sometimes it's meant as a compliment, sometimes it's meant subversively, and sometimes it's ...Read more

Parents object to daughter's goal of adopting or fostering a child

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I'm a 45-year-old single woman who is financially secure and a self-described introvert. Years ago, I moved miles away from my parents. My parents' positive qualities far outweigh their negative ones, but lately I feel increasingly upset about our seemingly happy family.

I am happy being single, have a decent job, own a home,...Read more

Two adult daughters move back home, but only one pays rent

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

Our daughter "Annie" has moved back home at age 33 to save some money while doing postdoc work and teaching college courses. She works hard and studies for grueling hours, and she contributes to household expenses. Our daughter "Bonnie" has moved back home at 29 after a sudden breakup, ...Read more

What's one spoiler between two avid readers?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My boyfriend and I are both avid readers and he recently finished a book by a well-known author with a very distinct writing style. He decided to read a new book by this same author, which I have already read. When we were sitting down last Sunday to read over coffee, he pulled out his book, to which I said, "That book is wild!...Read more

Envious of husband's approaching retirement

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband is hardworking and also a caring and loving husband. Our relationship is absolutely wonderful. However, there is something I fear may soon destroy all this happiness. He is going to retire in a couple of years, several years before me. He is very much looking forward to fun ...Read more

Husband has severe anxiety about getting his driver's license

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My husband does not drive. He's had his learner's permit multiple times over the years, but always let it lapse. He's taken exactly one driving test, which he failed. He told me he would have his license before we got married ... oh whoops, wedding plans overwhelmed him but he'll ...Read more

Husband thinks it's unwise to fully embrace new step-grandkids

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear C:

My daughter recently remarried, creating a new family with a wonderful man, her young son and his two children.

My husband and I have a close relationship with her son. She and he lived with us for several years. I have tried to get to know my grandson's two stepsiblings but that is made more difficult by the custody schedules, ...Read more

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