Life Advice





Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column addresses video gaming

Life Advice / Ask Amy /

Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column briefly to work on other creative projects. (Anyone interested in my personal essays and photographs can subscribe to my free newsletter:

I’ll be back next week. Today’s “Best of” topic from 10 years ago concerns video gaming.

Dear Amy: My husband and my ...Read more

Annie's Mailbox: Maybe It's Not Just Hormones

Life Advice / Annie's Mailbox /

Dear Annie: I am 32 years old and live with my girlfriend, "Sarah," who is 37. We have been together for eight months. Things were great in the beginning, but lately the relationship has been going south.

There is an ex-boyfriend who won't leave the picture, and Sarah is partly to blame. When he sends texts or calls, she deletes them so I can't...Read more

My Best Friend Makes Me Feel Like Second Choice

Life Advice / Dear Annie /

Dear Annie: When our sons married and left home, my husband and I decided to make sure our sons and their families would never have to choose who to visit on any holiday. We also wanted to make sure that we got to see all of our extended family members during the holidays. So, we announced that we would always have our holiday get togethers at...Read more

Single File: Hide-and-Seek

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: I often think that people who get wrapped up in their feelings for someone who doesn't return them (and obviously will never return them) are, at bottom, terrified of love, because this way they won't have to expose their feelings. Instead, they can fantasize about the feelings they have for the person who isn't the least bit ...Read more

Stefan Dahl/Dreamstime/TNS

Erika Ettin: In dating, it's easy to get in your own way

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

I used to rent office space to meet with clients (now everything happens on Zoom… thanks, COVID-19), and that space was in downtown Washington, D.C. When I walked to the office (gotta love city living), I tried to avoid streets where the sidewalks were closed due to construction. In the spring, I made sure to steer clear of the throngs of ...Read more


Barton Goldsmith: When you've had too much loss and trauma

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

Losing a loved one is very hard. Suffering more than one loss at a time can turn into something clinicians call “complicated grief.” Along with depression comes a very low tolerance for any kind of loss. It could be as simple as your favorite TV show getting canceled or as upsetting as your best friend moving far away. Losing something or ...Read more

Science Advice Goddess: Death Meddle

I knew my girlfriend wasn't right for me, and I was super unhappy. Friends I confided in kept saying "Relationships take work" and "Take the good with the bad." I listened to them and stayed in the relationship, which led to an ugly breakup. When evaluating a relationship, how much should you take advice and how much should you rely on your ...Read more

An Examination of the Scripted Life

One of the commonalities that my husband and I stumbled on was the tension-filled road trips of our youth. His family would travel hundreds of miles for church events, and he remembered the tense atmosphere radiating from the front. I recalled that my parents would start to bicker before the trip began, leaving me, as the only child in the ...Read more


Erika Ettin: Less outcome, more journey

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

What is dating? Many think it’s a means to an end (that “end” often being a relationship), but I would rather everyone look at it as more of a dynamic process.

Not everyone will be “the one.” In fact, by definition, all but one will be. So many of my clients, wanting to find their future long-term partner or spouse, only have this ...Read more

Single File: Mutualism

Life Advice / Single File /

Love, schmove! The word is generally overused and universally misunderstood. After temporary insanity (aka love) gives way to reality, as it should and must, far too many romantic relationships devolve into the humdrum. Partners become their parents' clones and do what they saw their parents do, not giving it much original thought. They don't ...Read more


Barton Goldsmith: Releasing your emotional pain is a necessity

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

Anyone in the mental health field will tell you that if you repress your pain long enough, it will show up in other ways and areas of your life. Repressing your pain will also hamper your ability to function the way you’d like, and people who know you will notice. It may also temporarily turn you into a jerk or a hot mess.

None of this is ...Read more

Science Advice Goddess: Ex Salad Sandwich

My boyfriend of a year is caring and thoughtful and perfect in nearly every way -- except one. He's really good friends with his ex. They grab lunch every week, and she'll call him to vent or get advice. He assures me they're just friends, but I can't help but feel threatened. Is it crazy to tell him he needs to put some distance between them...Read more

The Impotence of Individuality and the Strength of Us All

My 6-year-old wanted to know what I had wanted to be when I grew up. I told him that I had wanted to be an architect. He asked me why I didn't become one. I explained that there's a difference between admiring beautiful buildings and really doing the math that came with designing them.

When I think back, I was enamored with the tilted desks and...Read more

Single File: Apartnership

Life Advice / Single File /

No, that's not a typo. We're together, you and I, to explore a new and delicious way of keeping love zesty. Those of us who dream of one love for a lifetime, for whom a lifetime isn't sufficient, will take this new form of love quite seriously. (I do hope you're among them.) Actually, it's a style of living in which both partners are deeply ...Read more

Erika Ettin: You're single because...

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

I saw this meme once that said:

Me: I hate being single.

Also me:

— *Doesn’t reply on the apps for weeks.*

— *Cancels dates if I don’t feel like getting dressed.*

— *Cuts people off for the dumbest things.*

I hear things like this almost daily from both clients and friends. They complain about not wanting to be single. But when I...Read more


Barton Goldsmith: When a lot goes wrong at the same time

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

If everything is really not OK and you struggle to keep it together despite temporary setbacks, then you are life-juggling.

Has there ever been a time when more was going wrong in the world? How could so much wrong not have a direct impact on our lives? Well, like it or not, it’s having an impact. And if anything more is added to the mix, it ...Read more

Science Advice Goddess: Heavy Settle

I'm a guy who falls into relationships too easily, ending up with women I'm not particularly interested in. I thought I had discriminating taste, but obviously my relationship track record says otherwise. How can I grow up and stop being so impulsive?


You're far from alone. People will insist they're highly "discriminating" ...Read more

Millennial Life: Reclaiming the Stewardship of Your Time

An email back in December had a request from a stranger. They requested I call so they could tell me a tale. Normally, I enjoy tales and replied that I would try to find time, but taking a chance on a stranger wasn't high on my priority list, particularly during a month when holiday obligations make time infinitely more rigid. I forgot to call. ...Read more

Single File: Safety Zone

Life Advice / Single File /

DEAR SUSAN: You recently printed a letter from a woman who said she is attracted to married men. Well, I, too, seem to be drawn to husbands. Of course, I'd never get involved with one. Plus, these men are out of my reach because they're loyal to their wives. (Maybe that's part of the attraction.) I do feel guilty, though, especially if I'm ...Read more


Barton Goldsmith: 7 tips to deal with the isolation blues

Life Advice / Dating Advice /

Most of us have been dealing with some form of our activities being limited, and some people have been dealing with almost complete isolation. No matter who you are, you are probably doing life differently than you did before COVID-19. And it’s not much fun. For us, it means no more live music nights or premieres. In fact, 90% of my social ...Read more