Life Advice

/

Health & Spirit

Alcoholic ex emails, but it's not to make amends

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My first love emailed me out of the blue, after 10 years, to make amends as part of his AA program. He was an incredible person, but after many years and many chances, the alcoholism won.

While it was a traumatic break -- we lived together and talked marriage -- I soon met a wonderful man who is now my husband.

The lengthy ...Read more

Planning a solo trip but worried about Mom's reaction

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn!

My mom was always strict and overprotective. I wasn't allowed to do a lot of things that other kids my age were doing growing up.

Now I'm 37 and know this stems from anxiety. I'm planning my first solo trip and I'm very excited about it, but I hate the thought of telling my mom. I want ...Read more

How to fly sister home for the holidays without ruffling feathers

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My sister attends school overseas and lives with her boyfriend. My parents recently told me she can't make it home for the holidays this year because she's on a student budget.

I'm in a position to pay for my sister and her boyfriend to come and would like to offer that to them, no strings attached.

They may have any number ...Read more

Snooping on husband confirms her unhappy marriage

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I made the mistake of reading my husband's texts and read many between his family where his sisters made fun of and made disparaging remarks about me and my mother. My husband did not defend me, or tell them to stop. In fact, he encouraged this by participating in the discussion and ...Read more

Abuse in the family tree

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Many family stories were told about my dad's poor aunt, his mother's sister, who was married to an abusive man. The fact that this uncle by marriage was a wife-beater and a "violent man" is well documented both orally and in written recollections by my side of the family. My grandmother...Read more

Engaged to a racist

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I am engaged to a great guy with many wonderful qualities and I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

But he is prejudiced against one specific race, which also happens to be the race of several of my ex-boyfriends. He works in law enforcement, so part of me wants to attribute the racism to the fact that...Read more

Is it wise to embark on a long-distance relationship?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

I'm contemplating a long-distance relationship with a guy I met at an event through an organization we're both part of. We've been texting nonstop for a few months and have had a couple of in-person dates. I'm waiting to decide until after we see each other during a weeklong event we're ...Read more

Avoiding the in-laws isn't possible when they move across the street

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

My husband is extraordinarily close with his siblings and parents. They visit with one another at least four times a week. I feel pressure to attend, but usually politely decline. This prompts questions about my whereabouts and "we never see you" comments.

Frankly, so much sweet togetherness freaks me out. I grew up in a small,...Read more

Holiday cheer held hostage

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband doesn't enjoy holidays. Everything about holidays is reluctant and grudging. He will dutifully eat any holiday meal that I plan, shop for, prepare, and clean up after, but his interest goes no farther.

I decorate, or it doesn't get done. He doesn't seem to care one way or ...Read more

Wife won't grant 'Grandma' title to stepmother

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

Both of my parents are deceased, and my father remarried after my mother passed. I have not always had a great relationship with my stepmother but it has grown to one of mutual respect and understanding. She has since remarried, but my siblings and I include her in family decisions and functions.

My issue is that my wife does ...Read more

Fighting back against Grandma's gift gluttony

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My mother was raised in pretty austere financial circumstances, and for my entire life has equated things with love. My childhood was materially abundant but emotionally austere, so I'm definitely a skeptic of these values.

I'm now the mom of two, and I've spent the last four years ...Read more

The recipe for successful divorced fatherhood

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

What do you think the "recipe" is for men to continue to stay close to their children after a divorce? I have witnessed over and over again men moving on to their next relationship and the relationship with their children gets moved to the back burner.

-- Witness

The recipe is for...Read more

When having a second child means adding a soul-sucking suburban commute

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I'm really, happy with my wonderful toddler son, husband, dream job, apartment, etc. My husband is really happy working for himself, and we both love our adorable, walkable community. We have flexible enough schedules that we get lots of time with our son. When he's sleeping/napping, we have free time to chill or work on ...Read more

Cutting off sister-in-law's weight-shaming at the pass

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My sister and her wife, "Sue," will be visiting soon. I'm looking forward to seeing my sister, but feeling anxiety about Sue's visit.

Sue has a habit of making comments about my weight and what I'm eating -- commenting on my portion size, how many helpings, my weight, how often I ...Read more

Mom can't stop babying 55-year-old daughter

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I was laid off recently from a job of 15 years. My confidence took a blow.

When I told my mom, she said, "Hurry up and update your resume. And don't forget to add your Employee of the Year award." I had of course already done that, and asked her why she thought I would forget about the highlight of my career. She said, "Don't ...Read more

Visiting sister won't pitch in around the house

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I live overseas with my husband and two boys. My sister visits often due to work travel and generous vacation benefits. Sounds great -- especially as I have no other family member who can visit as often, and I would like my kids to know my part of the family.

The problem is my sister. ...Read more

Sister is the victim of financial abuse

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My sister stays home with her two small children (2 and 1) while her partner works. Recently, during a fight, he took all of their money -- not much under any circumstances -- and left. He has since returned and they have patched things up for now. But they fight frequently and she is on edge about what he will do next.

Is ...Read more

A married couple decides to survive on one salary. But who gets to quit?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I, both unhappy in our jobs, have determined that with some strategic penny-pinching, we can live on one salary for a while. The question now is, whose salary?

The argument for my husband quitting is: He's been in his job for longer than I have, and unhappier for longer,...Read more

Treating tween twins as individuals

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

We have 11-year-old identical twin boys who are wonderful and very different little guys. They both do well in school and their other activities, but "Dylan" is pulling ahead a bit, particularly in sports. We are finding that even though "Cole" enjoyed the sports equally at first, he ...Read more

 

Social Connections

Comics

Cul de Sac Curtis Carpe Diem Andy Marlette Marshall Ramsey Cathy