Life Advice

/

Health & Spirit

Brother refuses to call her by her preferred name

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My younger brother -- we are both adults -- calls me by an old name -- one I was given at birth, and have loathed since age 3, and have not willingly used since I was 10.

The name I use -- on my passport, paychecks, everything -- is a shortened version of the given one. My other five siblings call me by the name I prefer.

...Read more

An affection imbalance threatens a marriage

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'd like to warn my husband that I'm unhappy enough that it could destroy us, but I'm not sure how to do it without an ultimatum. I'm unhappy with a general lack of affection, especially the G-rated kind. That bothers me all the more, like I'm only worth an effort when sex is involved. ...Read more

Bean-counting brother disapproves of sister's generosity toward mother

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My sister owns a few apartment buildings and my mother lives there rent-free. My mother plans to give my sister slightly more in her will. Our brother is angry about this, he wants my sister to just charge our mother rent. My sister thinks our mom will spend the money on medical ...Read more

Stepmom and troubled teen at loggerheads

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My 15-year-old son and his stepmom, my wife of eight years, have developed such a contentious relationship that I don't know what to do anymore. He's not a bad kid but has a history of lying about grades, schoolwork, and some really silly things like cleaning his room.

I've been disciplining him for years now. Grounded, do ...Read more

She's dating a man in an open marriage. Will her business partner disapprove?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My best friend, "Pam," and I have been friends since college, and run a small catering business together. We were married the same year and have children who all grew up together. While Pam is still married, I've been divorced for years.

I love Pam like a sister but she's a little ...Read more

Preparing for a downsized lifestyle

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

Over a decade, my salary has tripled (I'm quite well-paid now), my work hours and responsibilities have increased, and -- because I'm so frequently tired or short on time -- my "outsourcing" has increased, too. Think: frequent takeout, a dog-walker, cabs instead of bus, and a whole lot of shelling out money in exchange for ...Read more

Don't choose a Worst Man for the wedding

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm getting married. That's awesome. However, my parents want me to ask my brother to be my best man. The idea of letting my brother, who's spent his whole life being the biggest jerk he can manage, stand up and give a speech about me makes me want to break something.

He outed me as ...Read more

Pregnant woman pulls career bait-and-switch

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm pregnant and have come to the realization that I need to be a stay-at-home mom. My husband and I had planned for me to go back to work, but I now realize staying home with the baby is something I need to do.

My husband is not being supportive at all. He said that if he had known he...Read more

After seven moves for husband's career, she wants to retire on her terms

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

I have been married to my second husband for 24 years. We have a 16-year-old and I have two adult children.

I have moved seven times in 17 years for his job. He didn't have to quit and take another job, but they were opportunities for him to climb the ladder in his career. I have had to pack up and start over seven times.

I ...Read more

Helping a troubled niece

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I set up time to hang out with my 14-year-old niece, who is very sweet and also has been getting in trouble -- skipping school, lying to family, etc. She reminds me so much of myself at her age.

I figure I can relate to her in that regard and try to share what I know now that I'm ...Read more

Handling an overbearing, talkative family member

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

During extended family get-togethers with my side of the family, there is one person who does 95 percent of the talking. When I ask someone else in the room a question about their lives, this person always jumps in and takes over the conversation again. This talker also never inquires about what might be new or important in the...Read more

When to include Mom in the delivery room

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I am six months pregnant with my first child. I've been fixated a bit on who to have in the delivery room with me, I think because it's one of the few elements I can control in this pregnancy. Should it just be my husband, or should I invite my mom too?

In favor of my mom -- we have a ...Read more

How to tell your unkind daughter she's wrong

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My 27-year-old daughter recently broke up with her live-in boyfriend. Now she wants me to tell her I'm on her side of every dispute.

It's her life, she's an adult: Got it. But should I really be expected to tell her she acted well when she didn't? She was needlessly cruel, and she doesn't care at all that she insisted we ...Read more

Help for a snooping sister's marriage

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I just got off the phone with my sister, who is married and has a 9-year-old daughter. Her husband has been having an emotional affair with his high school sweetheart. My sister knows because she has been going through his phone; apparently, he sends the sweetheart text messages and ...Read more

My Super Memory Freaks People Out

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I have an excellent memory for details and while it's a great asset in my work (I do statistical analysis for a pharmaceutical company), it seems to be a detriment in my personal life for reasons I do not understand.

I can remember innocuous things people said or did or what they wore ...Read more

How to handle a brother-in-law-bully

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My husband of 15 years has two sisters who live two and four hours away, respectively. Sadly, both parents died five years ago. We try to keep the family ties despite the distance.

Ten years ago, the sister who lives closer to us, "Liz," married "George." George has three brothers and the family is tight-knit, a small pond ...Read more

Planning a heart-to-heart with a rebellious teen

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I set up time to hang out with my 14-year-old niece, who is very sweet and also has been getting in trouble -- skipping school, lying to family, etc. She reminds me so much of myself at her age. I figure I can relate to her in that regard and try to share what I know now that I'm ...Read more

Parents deny cash-strapped kids financial and emotional support

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My parents (mom and stepdad) are in their 70s, retired, healthy, and doing well financially. They spend their money on traveling the globe and constantly remodeling their new Florida McMansion. That's fine. They can spend their money on whatever makes them happy.

They weren't the most caring parents. They did provide what they...Read more

An attention-phobe's guide to breaking the news of a broken engagement

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

Over the past week, I've discovered I have a pretty bad problem to have, followed by a very good problem to have. My fiance and partner of seven years told me on Monday that he didn't think marriage (or me!) was for him, and moved out -- two months before our wedding.

My question is: ...Read more

Girlfriend refuses to attend his AA sobriety birthday gathering

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I've been in a serious relationship with someone pretty wonderful for the most part of a year. We're super compatible and it could be the real thing. But now something has come up that has made me question it.

I'm a recovering alcoholic, and got sober with the help of my family at a time when it threatened my life. It's been ...Read more

Social Connections

Comics

One Big Happy Wee Pals Dinette Set Candorville The Other Coast The Barn