Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Husband thinks wife's self-deprecating humor gives him permission to mock her, too

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

Part of my humor -- and my self-defense mechanism -- is to be self-deprecating. I'm getting better about it, as I learned early on that people would use my jokes against me, which never felt good. Plus, I genuinely like myself a lot better with over a decade of therapy under my belt.

I still make fun of myself around my husband...Read more

Traditional parents disapprove of couple's nontraditional wedding

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn!

I'm recently engaged and my fiance and I have begun planning our wedding. From the start, we knew that a traditional wedding ceremony was not for us. Neither of us is religious, and we both struggle with some of the old-fashioned ceremony traditions.

After doing some research on ...Read more

Dad retaliates after being told he can't bring girlfriend on family vacation

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

My dad backed out of participating in the family beach trip when I asked him not to bring his new love interest. At the time, my spouse's parents were coming; they have been married almost 40 years, and I knew it would make them uncomfortable. Additionally, I wasn't comfortable when I ...Read more

A career woman and a stay-at-home mom struggle to remain friends

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My best friend, "Gail," and I have grown apart the past few years. It's no one's fault, we just don't have anything in common anymore. She's a stay-at-home mom with two kids under 4, and is busy with all of the things that come with that. I'm single, dating a couple of guys casually, very busy and engaged with my career.

Five ...Read more

What to do when your boss can't stop mispronouncing your name

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My boss loves me and has really helped with my career. One little issue: She can't say my name correctly. It's a common name but she butchers it; think pronouncing Nina like Ny-nah instead of Nee-nah.

She has heard me and others pronounce my name Nee-nah hundreds of times, but she ...Read more

Husband tells white lie to get out of visiting his mom on Mother's Day

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

My husband asked me how I want to celebrate Mother's Day with our baby, and I suggested the three of us go to brunch Saturday so we could leave Sunday open to celebrate our own mothers. He agreed to that, but then I overheard him telling his mom on the phone that he will be busy with me all day on Sunday (not true).

My mother-...Read more

Relatives defend the mother who abandoned her at age 8

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

When I was 8, my mom left my dad and me and married another man. That man didn't want me around, and so I only saw my mom three times between ages 8 and 18. I also very rarely saw aunts, uncles and cousins on my mom's side of the family.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm beginning to develop ...Read more

Fielding a Facebook request from your middle-school tormenter

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hey, Carolyn:

I just got a Facebook friend request from an old classmate. This woman was my main tormentor in 8th grade, and while I managed to steer clear of her through much of high school, I still wince at some of the public humiliation she put me through. (I was not her only victim by any means.)

My first instinct is just to delete the ...Read more

Considering IVF after the loss of an unborn child

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I have never come up against a critical, uncompromise-able situation where we differed in opinion until now. We recently lost an unborn child (our first) due to genetic defects. Moving forward, IVF with pre-implantation genetic screening is an option to make sure our next...Read more

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Is it really true that "once a cheater always a cheater," even when the cheater didn't cheat on you?

A few years ago, I left my husband after I found out he was a serial cheater. We are now divorced. I have been seeing someone new, and he seems like a great guy. However, he is also ...Read more

Tough love for a relative who refuses to get treated for anxiety

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I have a close relative who is living with anxiety -- diagnosed by a general practitioner, but never treated -- and, I think, at least some mild depression. This person resists any suggestion that some real treatment might be in order, arguing that talking with friends is all she needs, and downright rejecting medication ...Read more

Her presence at half-sister's wedding might spark drama

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I really want to go to my half-sister's wedding, but I don't want to start trouble with her dad, who hates me. He might cause a scene if I go.

My mom cheated on him and I'm the result. They divorced and he got custody of my older siblings. Shortly after I was born, my parents left me ...Read more

Decide your parenting priorities ahead of time

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

As a mother of three young kids holding a full-time job and with a husband who frequently works late evenings and some weekends, I feel my priorities change according to what is in front of me at the time, then I'm reconsidering my choices later.

How do I decide what's most important without feeling guilty or stressed out or ...Read more

She's the unrepentant fox in her daughter-in-law's henhouse

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My son and his family recently moved back to our area. I feel I've missed so many milestones, though I did make the effort to visit them every month or so.

Once the kids started school, I joined the PTA. I so enjoyed my time as PTA president when my sons were small, and thought I could...Read more

She no longer wants to subject herself to the havoc of sister's borderline personality disorder

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My mom died when I was 10 and my sister, "Abby," was 6. My dad did the best he could but life was hard. I tried to make it up to him by helping out and being a good daughter.

Meanwhile, Abby acted out in the worst ways possible, starting when she was about 8. She would set fires -- she burned my homework, our lawn, newspapers...Read more

Is encouraging her boyfriend to stand up to his controlling mother another form of control?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

I'm the letter writer [wanting to help my boyfriend put his foot down with his mother]. You replied, "No, I will not give you suggestions to help you become the next controlling person to whom your boyfriend outsources his uncomfortable decisions." (bit.ly/EnMesh)

I guess I was going ...Read more

The downside of shielding kids from disturbing news

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

We have two young boys, 8 and 6. We got rid of our TV when they were young. As a result, my husband and I get all our news online and through the Sunday newspaper so the boys aren't generally exposed to current events.

In the wake of so much deeply disturbing news, is there any ...Read more

Should she share photos of deceased ex with his grieving family?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

I recently came across an online death notice for an ex-boyfriend. Sadly, he died relatively young, but I'm not too surprised. He battled alcoholism, which is among the many reasons we broke up.

I have a lot of photos from when we were together, whose digital negatives are stored online indefinitely (or until I delete them).

I...Read more

Husband insists on going out to dinner with a post-bedtime toddler

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My son is 20 months old. He is an absolute joy, but not in a great phase for going to restaurants -- which is totally normal. We pick family-friendly places; tip 30 percent; and I try to be really cognizant of not ruining the meals of other patrons.

My husband doesn't really care -- ...Read more

 

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