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May 2, 2014

12:03
P.M.

Chock full of updates: Carolyn Hax Live (Friday, May 2)

Total Responses: 39

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997 as a weekly feature for The Washington Post, accompanied by the work of "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis. The column has since gone daily and into syndication, where it appears in over 200 newspapers. Carolyn joined The Post in 1992 as a copy editor in Style, and became a news editor before turning to writing full-time. She is the author of "Tell Me About It" (Miramax, 2001), and the host of a live online discussion on Fridays at noon on washingtonpost.com. She lives in New England with her husband and their three boys.

Carolyn's Columns
Past Chats
Way Past ChatsHax Philes Discussions

About the topic

In her daily column in The Washington Post Style section, Carolyn Hax offers readers advice based on the experiences of someone who's been there. Hax is an ex-repatriated New Englander with a liberal arts degree and a lot of opinions and that's about it, really, when you get right down to it. Oh, and the shoes. A lot of shoes.

Carolyn was online taking your questions and comments about her current advice column and any other questions you might have about the strange train we call life. Her answers may appear online or in an upcoming column.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

Carolyn's Recent Columns

Past Carolyn Hax Discussions

Way Past Carolyn Hax Live Discussions

Hax Philes discussions
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

Hello everybody. What's new? Anything good happen lately? Or bad but with potential as a punch line? Or bad with no up side and you can use some collective sympathy? Tell me a story. I've finally got daffodils outside my window and I'm in too good a mood to listen to me all day.

Q.

Is this today's chat?

It looks like the date is wrong. Trying not to be a complainer here, but as a longtime Hax addict, I've noticed these chats have recently been a lot more often misplaced/difficult to find, and often show up RIGHT before the chat time (which defeats the purpose for those who want to submit hours or days early). I understand the producer role has changed hands a few times, and I understand there may be adjustments each time. Is this something that'll become more streamlined? Am I overlooking an easy way to access the chat in advance? Sorry for complaining! Thanks very much for the free entertainment, always!
A.
Jess the Producer :

I'm so sorry about that. The incorrect date was completely my fault and has been fixed now. I know it was really confusing and I apologize.

On the brighter side, thanks for giving me the opportunity to share the best ways to access chats...

There are two really easy ways to find the chats in advance:

(1) Go to live.washingtonpost.com. That's our full chats schedule and you can scroll ahead in the calendar to see all the upcoming chats.

(2) Go to Carolyn's page. That's where all her latest columns and chats appear. You should see the most recently completed chat and the upcoming chat relatively high up in the list. And when I title them correctly, it's easy to tell which is which!

And, of course, you can always see all the chats for the current day on the homepage (on the right side if you scroll down about halfway), so on Fridays that's the easiest way to get here.

– May 02, 2014 12:13 PM
Q.

My daughter is a mean girl

Dear Carolyn, My husband and I have one daughter, 10. She is our absolute highest priority and we have always made sure to encourage her academically and culturally. To our delight, she is growing up to be smart, a hard worker, interested in lots of things, and quite excellent at a hobby she loves. The problem is that she's mean. She reminds me eerily of the "mean girl" stereotype in lots of sitcoms. I can say for sure that my bookish, sheltered 10-year-old self would have cowered in fear of her if we were in the same classes in school. She has tons of friends (why does this always seem to come with the "mean girl" territory?), but I sometimes hear her say things to him that seem borderline abusive (I always talk to her about it, but I can't change what I don't hear, of course). My husband is less concerned than I am, and believes that as long as she is a good student and stays out of trouble, we should accept the personality she has. I don't feel able to do that--I want a daughter who is a nice person, too. Is this too much to ask? I also worry that this may be partly our fault, because we always laughed when she was little and said precocious teasing things aimed at either one of us. What can we do at this point?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

Yikes. You can keep letting her know when her words cross the line into cruelty. That's not "personality," that's conditioning. No, you can't make her stop saying these things and you can't do much about what she says when you're not around, but when you witness her misbehavior you can, every single time, let her know what is unacceptable and why.

You can also trace through your history to a slightly different culprit. While I'm sure it didn't help that you laughed at her precocious snark (and the Wisecracking Old-Soul 6-Year-Old who's written into every single kid-oriented sitcom does not help), look at your own words up higher in your letter: "She is our absolute highest priority." That's an appropriate thing for a parent, but to a degree. If you acted on this priority by making her the center of everything, then your best intentions could be on the path to creating a monster.

Please turn your attention, stat, to correcting any impression she might have that she's the most important person going. For example, take on a real, difficult and consistent volunteer commitment, as a family. Show her that what she takes for granted is not a birthright, but a privilege many people don't have. And/or, when you talk to her about the mean things she says, consistently frame it in terms of how she'd feel if this were done to her, and how people feel when their the targets of scorn. 

In other words, don't let her keep thinking that you, her friends, and her world are there for her. Make it clear they are there whether she's in it or not--and she has both a choice and a responsibility to make an effort to make her surroundings better for her presence.

– May 02, 2014 12:19 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

It's apology day, apparently. I just noticed how long it took me to write that answer. Had I anticipated that, I would have saved it for a column. 

Q.

good news

Something good did happen. My youngest daughter, who has been working her hiney off all year was just offered a paid internship for the summer in her major with a great company. So proud of her. Thanks for asking!!
A.
Carolyn Hax :

You're welcome! I thought "paid internship" had become an oxymoron. Well done, Youngest Daughter.

– May 02, 2014 12:22 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

I've got a pile of follow-ups. Would you rather have those, or new Qs? Or 15 minutes of dead air.

Q.

Respecting Mother's Wishes at time of sickness

Hi Carolyn, my mother is fighting cancer and ever since she was diagnosed, she rarely discuss the illness (approx. twice a month). She is very private and so it is difficult to figure out how she is doing and how I can help her. I am trying to respect her wishes, but as a young adult, I struggle with the possibility of loosing my mother and how to help her. Do you have any suggestions on how to cope with the situation and overcome my own worries?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

I'm sorry about your mom. It is really, really hard to watch people you love struggle, and to face losing them. 

Your impulse to get involved is natural, but problematic, too. You want to ease your worries by doing something concrete, but if you press your reluctant mother to talk about how she is or say what she wants or needs, then you're essentially shifting the work of addressing your worries onto her--and I know that's the last thing you want to do.

One basic way around this is to decide something you'd like to do for her--keep it low key--then say you're going to do it unless she tells you not to. For example: "I'm free Saturday so I'm going to come stock your fridge and do your laundry, unless you tell me not to. Is 10 a.m. okay?"

For what it's worth, discussing her health about twice a month is not what I would call "rarely." To me, it sounds as if she's keeping you apprised without having to dwell on it. Since that's when she's telling you, then you might want to consider reflecting her preference in the way you ask--i.e., call or email as often as you usually do, but ask about her health once a fortnight.

– May 02, 2014 12:34 PM
Q.

Follow ups!! Follow ups!!

my vote...
A.
Carolyn Hax :

You speak for the multitudes. Coming soon ...

– May 02, 2014 12:35 PM
Q.

Dirty dirty laundry update

Hi carolyn. I was surprised to see my "dirty laundry" letter featured. I didn't realize my issues were that interesting. But now that I've gotten the exposure, I have something to say. . . Everyone told me to dump the guy. The comments said I had no self esteem and the guy was a schmuck. Well, now he's my fiance, and we haven't had a single fight about my past since a month or so after I wrote the letter. Things can get better, people. He is an absolute sweetheart and treats me like a princess. I think we've both just done some serious growing up while we've been together, and he's just finally gotten over it. So thanks for nothing to everyone who decided to put me down instead of giving constructive criticism. Carolyn, I don't blame you for saying the relationship needed to end, but it is hard for someone writing a short letter to describe all of the positives well when there is one glaring negative.

A.
Carolyn Hax :

I appreciate your frustration, but I believe "thanks for nothing" is gratitious. Your choice of words--"he loves to throw things in my face," was not only extremely pejorative, but also an indicator of possible abuse. Rephrase it to "he loves to punish me"--essentially saying the same thing--and I think you'll see what got everyone going.

I don't know how the comments were phrased, but I can easily see people expressing concern for your self-esteem as just that--concern. As in, hey, you deserve better and need to treat yourself better by not staying with someone who treats you that way. That's what I picked up in the comments I saw--most people were worried about you, not judging you.

I think it's great that you've moved past this problem and that you've "both just done some serious growing up"; that's the best possible outcome. Please consider pushing the growth an extra meter or two, and not responding so defensively to people's scrutiny and challenges. It's not an easy thing to do (ask me someday about how I used to feel when I received hate mail), but learning to recognize, tamp down and make constructive use of defensive feelings is worth every bit of emotional work it requires.

– May 02, 2014 12:46 PM
Q.

Good News

You responded to my question in a previous chat about going crazy from being alone so much, and I've got my first Meetup scheduled for this weekend. It took a little while because I actually had a run of spending more time than usual with family and friends, which is also some good news.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

It is, it is--thanks so much. (Anyone feeling linky? I don't want to burn any time Googling for the original. Thx.)

– May 02, 2014 12:48 PM
Q.

Too Much Skin or too pushy boyfriend? follow-up

Hi Carolyn! I'm the poster from two weeks ago who wrote in to ask about how to handle my boyfriend's requests to cover up more when we go out. You tossed the question to the ravening wolves- erm, I mean peanuts :) - in the Philes. I wanted to say thanks- you and other posters basically reminded me of my better judgement and gave me the push I needed to just *talk to him already* when I had been unsure what to say. I gave a more detailed update post in the Philes, but basically he agreed to back off and to be more careful in future not to let his own jealousy issues (he had a few when we started dating that he's since gotten over) spill over onto me. Thanks again to you and the thoughtful posters. (A few others were not-so-thoughtful, but the strong reactions on all sides did give me the push to take the issue seriously, and I'm aware the discussion isn't 100% about the actual OP anyway.) Love the column, and am wearing really cute caramel leather boots today, btw, for the shoe lovers :)

A.
Carolyn Hax :

Well done, both you and the pack.

And it brings up the perfect question for this chat: "What are your feet wearing?" 

 

– May 02, 2014 12:52 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

Though I am a traitor among you. I've pretty much been in Uggs since last October. 

 

I feel better for having admitted that.

Q.

Update from "Don't Wanna Get Over It"

I typed that letter at a specific place in my embarrassingly long and complicated miscarriage recovery, and seeing it in print, I feel like I've made progress since writing it. It might be an odd approach, but I starting treating the urge for a third child almost like an unwelcome crush: I spent time thinking about how a third child would be a pain and started applying for jobs in the new city we're moving to so I'll have something else to occupy my time with. I'm trying to rally, I really am. My husband had treated me both before and after about as awfully as possible without actually walking out on me (he openly considered it), and I think subconsciously I thought that agreeing to a third child after all was the only way he could prove that he loves me and is really sorry. Now I'm trying to look at his actual actions in our life together. FWIW, you were a tad unfair about the birth control. The first accident, sure, we both careless, but then I got an IUD, which improbably, failed. Aside from that, thank you for a well-timed push to keep working on my recovery. Your letter helped me take the next step and give my husband the go ahead to get a vasectomy--I had asked him to wait after my miscarriage, but denial time is over--and it's scheduled for next week.

A.
Carolyn Hax :

I am so happy to hear you're doing better. 

I was wrong about more than the birth control (sorry about that); I was wrong not to note that the grief from your miscarriage was no doubt influencingyour unwillingness to let go. A couple of readers wrote in to point that out to me, and rightly so.

Thanks for writing back, and good luck with your continued recovery.

 

 

– May 02, 2014 1:04 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

That's what I have for now--thanks everybody. I do have an update from the "It's a Dog, and It's Sleeping" post to Philes, but I haven't had time yet to ask permission to use it. Anyone else?

Q.

Bad at "Dating" for Friends

I just moved back to the US from a very inclusive expat community where basically if you were a fellow foreigner you were immediate friends with any other foreigners you met anywhere and everyone was very friendly. It was also a community where almost every family consisted of one stay at home parent (usually the moms). Now I'm a parent in the US for the first time with 2 under 3 and I have no idea how to make friends. We go to parks and museums and see other families but the conversation never progresses very far. I've had a few extended chats but the parents also work and so I feel like a huge anomaly as a parent who spends all her time with the kids and therefore is seeking playground, activities, etc. I feel really silly as an adult asking how to make friends, but seriously, how?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

First of all, do not feel silly. Making friends as an adult outside of a firm social structure is really stinkin hard. It's a question I receive constantly. 

Second, see above for your answer: "firm social structure." When you don't have one, make one. People make friends through repeated, regular, common-goal-or-interest-based proximity. That's why school and camps and teams are where kids make friends, and where workplaces are where adults make friends, and why there's such a thing as adult kickball leagues.

You just need to get your kidlets into some artifical parent-relief group, like a music class for the kids or an exercise group for you or whatever fits your interests and budget. And if hitting the little-kid class network doesn't bear fruit (it's tougher for the younger ages, you're all so focused on kid-wrangling), then find something you can do sans kids--again, a class or volunteer group or something that puts you among the same group of people with similar interests regularly. The repetition is key. Good luck.

– May 02, 2014 1:17 PM
Q.

Another update

This was me. I did end up taking your advice, and we waited for a few more months before we got married. But honestly everything felt so numb and empty that I couldn't really tell if my husband-to-be was legit or not. Well on our wedding day, he showed up! I couldn't believe my eyes! He actually showed up, and that's when reality started kicking in. Being married is great. Whatever it is I couldn't see before, I could see now that we were official and I could be me with no one threatening to walk out because I picked the wrong movie. I've never had that before so it's difficult to get used to! Some days, it still doesn't really feel real, but I can't believe we didn't marry sooner. (And I'm honestly kicking myself that we didn't.) As for my husband, he has been truly great. He has followed through on everything we talked about, which still amazes me every day. I ditched the birth control a few weeks ago, and my husband totally kept up with our agreement! He didn't back out at all! All in all, it has been a total surprise so I'd say my only regret is not doing the deed sooner. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap and whatever happens is going to happen. Luck will either come your way or it won't! (And every day, I am grateful for how lucky I got.)

A.
Carolyn Hax :

Lucky to find each other, maybe, but the rest is what the two of you are putting into it. Here's to kindness. 

– May 02, 2014 1:22 PM
Q.

Follow up from years ago

You put this one in the paper - I was irritated with my girlfriend-now-wife (thank you, Maryland voters!) for not remembering how to put things away in the kitchen and not washing the outsides of things. Turned out she was on her way to a seizure disorder derived from a supposedly-minor head injury. She is recovering, has figured out how to wash the outsides of things, and I am happy to put stuff away because that lets her spend her mental energy on recovery rather than minor things. Thanks.

A.
Carolyn Hax :

Wow. Thank you, and fingers crossed for your wife's recovery.

– May 02, 2014 1:26 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

I am really digging this. Thank you. 

 

Here's another opportunity for you to vote: I've got regular Qs to A, stories happy and sad, and an astonishing number of footwear updates. What would you like to see?

Q.

Needy neighbor friend

Hi Carolyn, We love our next door neighbors and often socialize. She and I do things together, like take yoga classes, visit across our gardens, etc. I don't think I could be more clear that we value them and our friendship. But she is moody, and if I somehow don't respond to her in the way she likes, she goes immediately to "I guess you don't care about me." It's wearing, but she can be so touchy and easily offended (not when she's feeling good, but other times) I'm afraid to bring it up and it feels awkward. I'm not sure how to deal with it when it happens and would love your advice! Thank you!
A.
Carolyn Hax :

If this were an intimate relationship I'd answer differently, but given that you're friends and that you live next door, I suggest a deliberate arm's-length approach to these episodes. Namely, you don't engage when she says these things. For example:

You: "I'm sorry, I can't go to yoga with you today."

She: "I guess you don't care about me." 

You: "No, I just can't go to yoga today. Coffee [date and time you can manage]?"

Your continued, voluntary friendship is the reassurance to offer, period. Addressing her Eeyore comments directly and assuring her that you care, etc., is a rabbit hole. 

 

 

– May 02, 2014 1:36 PM
Q.

You are SO pretty

How do I respond to the numerous adults who tell me, in front of my 10-year-old daughter, how pretty she is? I tend to just say thanks and move on (sometimes these are people I know, and sometimes not), but I'm beginning to worry how this is affecting her. She and her friends are starting to become much more body/image conscious and I don't want all these compliments to make her more so. I'm sensitive to this issue, because this seems to be a repeat from my own childhood, and I still cringe as I remember my parents responding "thank you, but even more importantly, she is nice and smart!" I know they were saying that for my benefit, and I do not want to do that, but I do want my girl to know that her gifts of empathy, and humor, etc., are things she can really be proud of ... with the underlying message, perhaps, that beauty, while an asset, is really just a matter of luck. How do deal?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

Have you ever asked her how she feels when people do this? Run it by her next time this happens; it could lead to an interesting conversation about looks (hers, yours, everyone's) and values (hers, yours, society's) and what well-meaning doofuses people can be. Bringing her into the conversation will do orders of magnitude more for her intellectual self-awareness, I expect, than telling people she's smart.

– May 02, 2014 1:42 PM
Q.

Ups and Downs

Is this normal and healthy? Wife is subject to mood swings triggered by stressful situations. When she triggers, says hateful things that will curdle your blood. Then cools off after a few days, after which she is the most pleasant spouse imaginable. Until the next trigger. I know when to expect it and try to not let it jade my own feelings of self-worth, but those episodes are painful. She is not open to discussing possible hormone imbalances as there is always a "reason" whereas I have provoked this episode. Never says she's sorry. Only will give me another chance. Then life rocks on until the next event. How destructive is this lifestyle?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

You're in pain and being blamed for it, so it's destructive on some level for sure, and saying to a loved one "hateful things that will curdle your blood" sounds like a layman's definition of verbal abuse.

Since she won't even admit fault, much less get help for it, I urge you to do it. Find yourself a good marriage and family therapist, ideally one who has an established working partnership with a psychiatrist, and start working on (a) understanding what's going on with your wife, since any number of emotional and health problems could be at work here, and (b) figuring out what, if anything, you can do improve the situation (or just how long to try). 

Short answer: This may be her normal, but it's not everyone's, and it's not one you need to tolerate if it's hurting you to do so.

– May 02, 2014 1:51 PM
Q.

Just a Toddler

Carolyn, I often feel like my husband is too quick to wonder if there's something "wrong" with our three-year-old. He doesn't ride his balance bike as fast as our neighbor. He's not fully potty trained. He may or may not have pushed his brother down the stairs. He has tantrums and won't stay in his bed in the morning. To me, these are all normal toddler behaviors (not that I don't address them, of course). I'm not an expert on toddler development, but I feel like my husband puts me in the position of being the family expert and of defending our son. I wind up saying, "I really think that's normal" over and over again. (FWIW, he doesn't do this with our superficially easier-to-love almost two-year-old.) How can I disrupt this pattern?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

First, you can bring in an actual family expert in toddler development. Not by dragging your 3-year-old to a specialist, but by dragging your husband to a good parenting class or seminar. If you're in the D.C. area, PEP is one option--and if you're not, your pediatrician can likely recommend one. This will bring the two of you together onto the "range of normal" page.

The range idea is important, because you might be right, but so might he.

Certainly the potty training and balance bike are best not dwelled upon as markers of normal development, since these are well established as areas where the range of normal is wide. (Age 3 is prime potty training time, not a marker of failure!) Tantrums, too, are part of the toddler package ...

But this is where it gets more interesting. There are standard toddler tantrums, and there are tantrums that are trying to tell you more about your child's developmental arc. And when you put them together with a gross motor issue and a toilet training issue and aggression, you could also be describing a child who needs some kind of intervention. 

I'm not saying yours does! Or even that you have to worry about it--just that at the toddler age, it can be hard to distinguish normal behavior from signs of developmental delay. ADHD symptoms, for example, are hard -not- to find in many 3-year-olds, but many will show in just a matter of a year or two that they don't have ADHD, they were just being 3.

That's why the best thing both of you can do at this point is not close your minds, about either of your children for that matter. That means your husband remains open to the idea that both kids are just fine and developmentally on target, just very different from each other, and you remain open to the idea that a snapshot is never the whole story of a child. 

And when in doubt, look to a trusted resource on child development to answer your questions, instead of anguishing that little Jake down the street can throw a 90 mph fastball at age 4.

– May 02, 2014 2:15 PM
Q.

How much are you supposed to give?

I have a question about how much you should give (or at all) to peoples' causes. For example, an acquaintance's sister died, and people were asked to give donations in her name. Or a (new to me) coworker is retiring and people were asked to give money to buy gift cards for her. In general, is it expected to give? I have priorities with my money, and these usually don't hit that threshold.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

No, donations are not required, and anyone who expects one is out of line.

Here's a one-two approach for donation situations that might work for you: Do I have the money to give, and do I have the emotional investment that warrants it? Yes to both, you give; yes to one, your call; yes to neither, pass.

The emotional investment, by the way, can be broadly applied. It can be about the person being honored, the person asking, the cause you'd be supporting, or the position the request puts you in. For example, if someone's passing the hat at your office, and you like your office crowd and/or don't want to be the person who wouldn't throw in five bucks, then that's a "yes" to being emotionally invested.

– May 02, 2014 2:22 PM
Q.

New Boyfriend Sexist?

Carolyn, how can you tell if someone's sexist? My new boyfriend is great. He treats me amazingly (takes me out to dinner, drives an hour to eat lunch with me at my work, compliments me etc), but on social media he comes off as a tad sexist. I've seen him re-post and comment on articles either written by women he doesn't agree with and he'll state exactly why they are "wrong" or written by men displaying how women are "wrong". For example, there was a recent article published on Yahoo about how a woman's husband's new obsession with fitness was killing their marriage. My boyfriend re-posted the article and tore her apart. I think he believes that psychologically men and women are different. Men obviously being more rational/logical in his eyes. We had a brief conversation when we first started dating to get all the awkward conversations out of the way: children, politics, and religion. We got on the subject of feminism and when he asked if I was one and what being one meant to me (I do indentify as one), he simply told me "no, you're not a feminist". I think he has the radical, bra-burning, negative view of feminists that a lot of people have. I want to bring this up to him but I don't know exactly how to do that. This is an important issue with me and I'm having second thoughts about our new relationship because I'm stewing and worrying about it. Any advice?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

I'm not sure what advice to give you. You seem to have plenty of information about his views, right up to his telling you what you believe, and about your discomfort with all of it. What are you waiting/looking for? What can I add? And why is there a "how" to bringing this up, vs. just saying to him: "From the stuff you put on [social media of choice], I take that you think men are more rational/logical than women. Is that true?" And as a follow-up, if warranted: "Why did you tell me I'm not a feminist--what do you think one is?" 

Come to think of it, here's some advice I can give: The consequence I'd be afraid of, if I were you, is of being in a relationship with someone at odds with my core beliefs just because I didn't ask questions. Up against that, the consequence of a breakup or an argument or being called a radical just doesn't sound that terrible.

– May 02, 2014 2:35 PM
Q.

Making friends as an adult - dork it up

When I moved to a new city, I sent an e-mail to a local mommy listserv explicitly begging for friends. It was dorky, but it totally worked. I made some great (also-dorky) friends!
A.
Carolyn Hax :

A group for dorking moms, perfect.

– May 02, 2014 2:40 PM
Q.

For mean girl's mom

As a former middle-schooler who now works with kids (and has come across some grown up mean girls in my time,) one of the most striking common threads I've seen is an inability to be wrong. Almost every mean girl I have met seems to be harboring this profound insecurity that if she is wrong or bad at something, even for a minute, she will lose her spot--at home, at school, with friends. Everything CH said about making sure she knows she's not the center of the universe is spot on, but also make sure you're modeling productive mistake making, and teaching her that her lovability is not wrapped up in her abilities. "Mean girls" can certainly be menaces to their friends and classmates (and, I would argue, their effect is greatest in late elementary school) but I can't help but think that a lot of their put downs and behaviors come from a deep-seated fear of being revealed as a fraud and losing everything.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

Yes, to this, yes, thank you. 

– May 02, 2014 2:41 PM
Q.

Hamster wheel of despair

I'm the dating hamster wheel of despair. I've now been dating a fantastic guy for nearly a year. I wasn't doing anything wrong before--I just hadn't met the right guy yet. But I was beating myself up, thinking it must have been my fault somehow. I was impatient, sad, and frustrated. The only answer, though, was time. That wouldn't have given me much comfort at the time, but patience was all I needed.

A.
Carolyn Hax :

The hamster wheel comes full circle. Thanks!

– May 02, 2014 2:45 PM
Q.

Re: Ups and Downs

That wife was me, before therapy and medication. Do not tolerate this another day. The longer my husband put up with it, the less respect I had for him. I have deep regret for what I put him through. We divorced for a variety of reasons after I got help. But because I got help, it was a very cordial divorce and we are good friends and good parents to our grown children. Please don't wait - she is suffering in her own way, too.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

"The longer my husband put up with it, the less respect I had for him." I appreciate the honesty, but my eyebrows just curled.

 

– May 02, 2014 2:49 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

Story time!

Q.

Good(isn) news

I had the flu last week (something I didn't know one could get at the end of April) and my friends were great! I recently moved to this town by myself so my network here is still very small. Both a friend and a coworker stopped by to check on me and bring me soup! What great people! If you're struggling, don't be afraid to ask for help. Most people really do want to help you. Have a beautiful weekend!!
Q.

More Good news

I only have two final exams this semester!!! I'm so happy because I hate exams! I do have like three final papers, but I love to write so it's awesome! I'm and English Writing Major, so that explains everything...
A.
Carolyn Hax :

Sort of. I was in a similar major and hated writing, then became a writer. But enough about me.

– May 02, 2014 2:51 PM
Q.

Good story

This is good for a chuckle. I'm 32 weeks pregnant and got all three of these comments this week: -You must be having a boy; you're sticking out too far to be having a girl. -No way you still have 8 weeks to go. You couldn't possibly get any bigger. -(After asking me how old my first is): You sure you're up for this? (Um, a little late to be asking, huh buddy?) Pregnancy and the general public don't mix. ;)
Q.

Dogs and Feel Good Stories

I had a lot of good lately! After a long busy winter of full time school and work I am finally finding time to breath again. My poor neglected pups had become monsters this winter who wanted way too much of my precious attention and I was seriously considering my ability to handle them anymore. (These are pups who normally are the light of my life) A couple weeks of me time and I am finally able to smile at them again instead of hating them for needing me. They even have been complimented multiple times this week at the park and pet store for their good behavior, amazing recall abilities, and how in sync they are with me. I could not be happier with them and am finally not feeling guilty at the secret hate I had over their neediness. Amazing what a little me time and sunshine will fix.
Q.

Sweetest response to death

My grandmother died on monday. It had been a long time coming, but for some reason I just couldn't be that sad this week. In the pacific northwest we are finally being blessed with some AMAZING sunshine. I told a co-worker about this, and she replied that my grandma must have sent the sunshine to me. . . It was the sweetest thing I'd ever heard, even if it was the first thing to truly make me cry since her passing.
A.
Carolyn Hax :
– May 02, 2014 2:52 PM
Q.

I could use the collective sympathy...

Yesterday I had to put down my 16 year-old cat that I love more than anything in the world. He was very sick, and I know it was the right thing to do for him. But for me... I'm much more sad than I thought I would be, and I could use some advice on how to deal with it, and also how to not cry at work because it's really embarrassing! Sorry to be so depressing...
A.
Carolyn Hax :

We'll set up a group hug in Philes (that okay, Jess?). I'm sorry about your little buddy.

– May 02, 2014 2:53 PM
A.
Jess the Producer :
– May 02, 2014 3:01 PM
Q.

Postcard from Laidupville

Hi Carolyn, I am slowly coming out of a really, really terrible month. I've been poked, prodded and diagnosed, and the treatment protocol is (fingers crossed) starting to work. If I may, I'd like to answer the age-old question: "How can I be helpful?" The answer is this: Be specific. "Can I do anything?" is not helpful. Lord knows, I've said these words in the past. I won't anymore. Walking my dog would help, but I'm not going to ask because maybe you're busy or find my dog to be hard to manage. You say: "I'm walking my dog at 6. Can I walk yours then too?" Maybe (definitely) I need food. But I don't want to send you on an errand when I know how busy your own life is. You say: "I'm off to the market this afternoon. Do you want to give me a list?" The less likely I am to feel that I'm making you spend time I know you don't have, the more likely I am to take you up on the offer. Same with "I am making a big vat of soup this weekend. Can I bring you some at <state a time that is good for you.>" Offers to take me to doctors' appointments are great too--the more specific the better. "I'm out of pocket Wed afternoon, but I'm around Monday and Tuesday if you need a ride." Also: Please don't ever say, "I'm worried about you." I'm worried about me too. That and a buck 85 will get me a ride on the bus. This might be less organized than I imagined--still on opioids--but I wanted to share. Now my question: How best to thank those who went out of their way??
A.
Carolyn Hax :

A: A quick note when you feel better, and doing the same for others when they need you to (and you're able to).

Thanks for this.

– May 02, 2014 2:56 PM
Q.

Just a toddler

Eh, Jake will need Tommy John surgery by age six. Eight tops.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

:D

– May 02, 2014 2:57 PM
Q.

I posted my one year anniversary from Chemo on FB...

... and got NO likes. WTF? Oh, I'm wearing pink suede flats today. Screw those people on FB.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

FB might have hidden you from their feeds (not knowing about the kicks).

 

– May 02, 2014 2:59 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

And now, feet:

Q.

What are my feet wearing?

Four the past four days, bright yellow rain boots with bumblebees on them. (I'm in Minnesota.)
Q.

What are your feet wearing

I rode my bike to work today, and forgot work socks. So along with my black and fuchsia blouse/pants/sweater, I am wearing lime green leopard spotted socks.
Q.

What are your feet wearing?

Sneakers, specifically Saucony Guides, since my boss is working remotely and can't see that I'm not in dress shoes.
Q.

My feet are wearing...

Yellow fake-alligator peep-toe heels.
Q.

White and black snakeskin boots

with three straps and copper buckles. I felt kinda bad walking down the street today because normally I'm not so flashy (they are major rock n' roll shoes) but I am taking the shoe-focus of today's chat as an excuse to rock it!
Q.

"What are your feet wearing?"

A cat--he's feeling needy today.
A.
Carolyn Hax :
– May 02, 2014 3:03 PM
Q.

What my feet are wearing

Open toed shoes. Sandals in fact. It's Boston. And it's a little cold. But I'm done. It's Spring, already, I've decided. Wintah is OVAH.
A.
Carolyn Hax :

Heah, heah (but still in my Uggs).

– May 02, 2014 3:05 PM
Q.

Carolyn Hax :

That's it for today. Thanks for all of it, have a great weekend and I'll type to you here next week.

Q.

Little Jake down the street who can throw a 90 mph fastball at age 4.

I'm a scout for the Nats, can you tell me the street this kid lives on?
A.
Carolyn Hax :

If you are really a scout for the Nats and don't just play one in anonymous forums, that will make my day. tellme@washpost.com

– May 02, 2014 3:21 PM
Q.

 

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