Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

My stepmother never helps with ANYTHING!

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My father's wife (my mom is deceased) never lifts a finger to help, never offers to pitch in, cook or buy a meal, ever. Nothing! On the other hand, she has been on 10-plus vacations with us all over the world -- at our expense -- countless parties, dinners, etc. She is well-off, ...Read more

Living with the fear of disappointing my parents

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My fiance's job is detrimental to his mental health, but he needs it for health insurance due to a serious condition.

Our wedding is next year. We are considering getting legally married soon so he's covered by my insurance and free to leave his job. We would still have our wedding next year for the exchanging of vows and ...Read more

My mom's negativity is impacting my mental health -- Part 2

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Some readers asked for a follow up [to my question yesterday]: I have tried, for years, telling my mom in very different ways exactly how this makes me feel. "You say XYZ and the negativity sends me down an anxiety spiral"; "You are trying to help me and that's amazing and I love...Read more

My mom's negativity is impacting my mental health

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My mother makes everything negative. Tell her a piece of good news, like a job promotion, and her first impulse is to belabor how bad job security is, how much hard work managing people might be, etc. There's never really an, "Oh that's great!" and no matter how much I try to ...Read more

My mother is expecting me to plan my sister's bridal shower, while delaying my baby shower

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

As inappropriate as it feels to "need" a baby shower, my husband was just laid off and we, after several miscarriages, are finally expecting our first child in August.

My successful, established, younger sister very recently announced her upcoming nuptials at the end of the summer.

My mother just yesterday decided to no ...Read more

I don't want my surrogate at my baby shower. Am I wrong?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I are expecting a baby via gestational carrier. The surrogate is my husband's cousin, who has kids of her own and very generously offered to help us when we learned it would be life-threatening for me to get pregnant.

My friends are throwing me a baby shower next ...Read more

I don't like my daughter's weight gain

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

Our daughter, 25, has gained a lot of weight and consequently looks like two pounds of baloney in a one-pound bag in the clothes she wears. Any advice on how to address this? Do we parents keep our mouths shut?

-- T.

Oh my goodness, (b). Mouths shut.

I say this in part because the chances aren't very good your words will...Read more

Feeling freaked after receiving roses from someone I don't know

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I am married and have a 2-year-old son. Last week, someone sent me two dozen roses with a note that said they wanted to make me smile, because I make them smile. It was signed with a first name only (common, think John or Tom). The flower shop told me they will not release ...Read more

Look toward past experiences when dealing with let-downs

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

How does one balance expectations between reasonably high and realistic? I've had a few disappointments lately that hit me fairly hard -- a promotion dangled and then delayed, a budding friendship that's running hot and cold despite my best efforts, a new skill I'm learning in my free time that's been much harder to grasp than ...Read more

My fiance's divorced parents hate each other, and they're both coming to our wedding

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My fiance's parents divorced around the time he and his siblings graduated from college, nearly a decade ago. Since the last one's graduation, they have not seen each other in person and have not communicated in at least five years. None of the kids has gotten married, had a child or, ...Read more

I have a Ph.D., but my narcissistic mom shames me for being a housewife

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I have a narcissistic mother whom I escaped by immigrating to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University. After working for a number of years, I quit my job to take care of my son.

When I visit my country of birth and am asked what I do for a living, my mother...Read more

No matter how many marriages you've had, please don't stay in an abusive relationship

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I was married to my ex for 20 years when we divorced. I wasn't attractive to him anymore since I gained weight with our three children -- his exact words.

I am now married to a woman. I have found myself on the receiving end of punches from her multiple times, each time with apologies. Recently, I was in our bedroom with the ...Read more

Uncomfortable with friend's husband's comments on her pregnancy weight gain

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I had a baby six months ago. Due to luck, general good health, and diet/exercise, I gained a fairly small amount of weight during pregnancy and shed it pretty quickly afterward.

My friend "Mia" is 18 weeks pregnant with her first baby and has gained substantially more weight ...Read more

Brother-in-law takes advantage of others' generosity

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My very generous and wealthy (this is relevant) friends offered to throw a dinner for me and my husband for our 10th wedding anniversary. This is a second marriage for both of us so we're all in our 50s. They asked for the guest list and we gave it to them, including my brother-in-law.

He's the sweetest guy in the world, would...Read more

How to handle anxiety when dealing with a hostile ex

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My ex and I divorced about two years ago after years of emotional abuse. We share custody and communicate only by text, as it's still a toxic relationship with a lot of anger on both sides. I try hard to put the kids first, and we attend school events together mostly drama-free, ...Read more

Why did my ex, who didn't want children, change his mind with someone else?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

Is there anything to be gained from talking to an ex who said he never wanted children, and absolutely refused to have them, about why he changed his mind? We dated for several years and split over this. I wanted children and, as we are both men, it would have required full buy-in by both of us. He said he did not see that ...Read more

How to handle an estranged father

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm 32, married with a great wife and a 2-year-old son, and my life is pretty good except for my so-called father. He left me and my mom alone when I was just a baby and she struggled to raise me and make ends meet our whole lives. I think the hard life wore her out and was one ...Read more

Bothered by boyfriend's vacations with his ex and son

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My boyfriend of a few months seems to like going on vacations with his ex and their teenage son. It really bothers me. The first time he justified it by saying it was booked before they split up and the son really wanted both to go. He said it wasn't going to happen again.

Now ...Read more

How to best help a friend suffering from mental illness

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I have a friend who suffers from a mental illness. Medication does not seem to make a difference. My friend is a good person, but difficult.

I want to be a good friend, but sometimes I feel used. I need help figuring out where to draw the line. It's not their fault -- it's brain...Read more

Mom taking stress out on child

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My first marriage ended, a spectacular shock to me, when I was 34. I would have done anything to make things work but was deprived of that option.

Today I'm with a solid guy I love, we have a 4-year-old. It's not perfect, but it's my family and I would do anything to protect it....Read more

 

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