Life Advice


Health & Spirit

My mom 'poisoned' my girlfriend

Carolyn Hax on

I'm not singling you out as unworthy of love by saying this. I think we all have a blind spot (the sizes of which vary) when it comes to the sacrifices we ask of those who choose to be with us. Whether it's "deal with my morning snappiness" or "don't judge me for my lack of ambition" or whatever else, we all have deficits that compromise whatever great qualities we offer.

Your mother's jaw-dropping act of smugness and hostility made her one of your significant deficits -- grounds for Cleo to seek companionship elsewhere. Your ridiculous suggestion that she eat solo in advance of group meals adds another.

Please accept Cleo's decision as a sound one, as in, accept that her potential sacrifices are too great under the circumstances to warrant her staying with you.

As for how you get over your anger at your mom, I can only say, watch and wait: See if she actually gets it.

Re: Cleo:

Cleo would be totally within her rights to press charges, since the poisoning was intentional. That's a well-recognized point of no return for social relationships. Why did you somehow think that Cleo would continue to associate with your mom?

-- Anonymous

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Is it wrong this struck me as funny?

Poisoning: 1. administering a substance that usually kills or harms an organism; 2. a well-recognized point of no return for social relationships.

Full disclosure on the poisoning story: I've seen a few like it recently. I suspect it's an offshoot of our foul cultural moment, where those different from us are openly (again) part of some contemptible Other who must be called out and shunned. Can't wait till it passes.


Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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