Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Ex-wife props up new wife by putting herself down

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I interact with my husband's ex-wife, "Debby," almost weekly at the kid handoff and other kid-related events. She is honestly one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and she has handled our marriage with nothing but grace and maturity.

Yet there is something that really upsets me every time I see her. She has an almost ...Read more

Should she provide care to a terminally ill, abusive ex?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My ex-husband and I have been divorced for about 10 years. Our kids are grown and in their 20s and 30s. My ex and I still live in the same town we raised our kids, but only one kid still lives here.

Our marriage had some happy times and I don't wish my ex ill will at all. I make an ...Read more

Life is too valuable to waste in a loveless, onerous marriage

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I've heard "life is too short" a lot lately. It makes me think I've wasted significant time, energy and money in a 23-year relationship that has caused me so much pain and exhaustion.

My husband is difficult and controlling. Both tendencies come directly from his family: His mother is a controlling narcissist.

When I was ...Read more

Mom wants to exclude generous aunt from daughter's college sendoff

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi, Carolyn:

When my ex-husband and I divorced about eight years ago, he left town and I got full custody of our daughter, "Jane," and remained great friends with his family (from whom he is estranged). His sister especially helped out with a lot of the logistics of raising a child, like afterschool ...Read more

Daughter-in-law imposes her dietary fanaticism on the holiday feast

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I am in an OOD (Obsessive Organic Disagreement) with my daughter-in-law and her husband -- my son. Three families are coming to my house for the holiday. The OOD couple decided not to join us if everyone didn't contribute dishes made from foods labeled "organic."

The OOD couple have three preschool children. They buy only ...Read more

When living rent-free comes with strings attached

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn!

I just graduated from college and my mom invited me to live with her rent-free so I could save up some money. I'm very lucky and have tried not to be a burden.

We really disagree on what I should be saving for. I want to max out my 401(k), correct some dental issues, and travel. This ...Read more

Initiating the de-Santafication of Christmas

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Hi Carolyn:

My son is 7 and still believes in Santa, that Santa makes toys in his workshop, all of it. He asked Santa for a hoverboard, an iPhone and a $200 robot. I simply cannot afford these things, and he wouldn't get a phone at his age anyway. He'll be getting plenty of other gifts from Santa, me...Read more

Aging mom's baking skills take a nosedive

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My mom has always been a wonderful baker and has traditionally brought desserts to every family function. However, as she reaches her 70s, her baking has taken a turn for the worse and everything she makes is pretty awful. I feel awful because I know she loves to bake but the desserts are inedible.

I've tried everything from ...Read more

Sister-in-law can't afford the vacation they've planned

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My husband and I will be taking a three-day trip with our two children, which we never do. We asked his sister and her family if they wanted to meet us for the trip. She agreed but now is worried about money. My family wants to stay in a decent hotel, dine out, and enjoy local ...Read more

Explaining to kids why the family is estranged from Grandpa

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Hi, Carolyn:

My father is a narcissist living in a different country. I made peace with who he is a long time ago and don't have a relationship with him. I don't feel any connection to him at all.

My two children, 6 and 10, have never met him and have only spoken with him over the phone a couple of times. I don't want them to have a ...Read more

In-laws shower grandbabies with attention but withhold it from their mom

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I'm not wild about my in-laws. They're not awful people, but their conversations tend to be heavy on themselves and light on others -- I don't feel like they have made much of an effort to get to know me. I think they care, but they don't communicate it effectively.

We have 5-month-old...Read more

Ending the grocery store battle with controlling wife

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My wife and I often grocery shop together. My wife will predictably identify something among my few items and ask that I return it to the shelf. It reminds me of a mother telling a child to put back the Lucky Charms. Yet, she may have a few similar items.

I typically put up some resistance but relent to avoid an in-store ...Read more

Parents strongly disapprove of teen daughter's anniversary trip with boyfriend

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My boyfriend and I are both 19, and we'll be having our five-year anniversary this summer. We've dated long-distance the entire time. To celebrate this milestone, we are going on an overnight trip.

My parents strongly disapprove of this. I told them about the trip immediately after I ...Read more

Second-guessing the rules of casual sex

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Meet a guy online, engage in light "sexting," maybe even meet and have sex. Neither of us is interested in anything serious and we establish that at the beginning. I lose interest -- just not feeling the connection -- so the next time he contacts me, I text back something like, "Hey, I'...Read more

Mother takes pleasure in catfishing family and friends on social media

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My mother has gotten very good at getting information and causing trouble with people through social media. She has found which husband would cheat. She has found which teenage son or daughter uses drugs or has homosexual tendencies, by opening accounts and passing as a teenager, vixen, housewife, successful business owner, and...Read more

How to deal with a wife having an affair

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My wife is having an affair, and I know all about it. In fact, I knew about it before it even started, as she came to me telling me she was interested in a physical relationship with someone she had just met.

Ever since then I have been faced with the choice between telling my wife to ...Read more

Dealing with difficult in-laws

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

I haven't spoken to my husband's parents since a week after our wedding. Several things happened that caused increasing tension, including: my mother-in-law blowing up at me when I articulated concern about a racially insensitive comment (I made several olive-branch attempts to reason with her on the importance of my speaking ...Read more

Don't let shyness stand in the way of getting a Metro seat

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I just entered the second trimester of my first pregnancy (very excited!) and recently had a fainting episode. It's not a big deal, I talked to the doctor, and I am otherwise healthy. However, every day I take the metro to work, and I cannot handle standing up for the whole ride, ...Read more

Should I rein in my talkative child?

Life Advice / Carolyn Hax /

Dear Carolyn:

My son is almost 9 and loves to chat, with his friends mostly. He pronounced 99 percent of the words perfectly, including their context, since age 2. That tells me his speech section of the brain developed faster.

Now his teacher complains he chats during the class and does not calm down easily. I am working on it in ...Read more

 

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