Carolyn Hax Live: "'Strangers on a Train' except with carpooling instead of murder"

May 25, 2018

Advice columnist Carolyn Hax chats live every Friday at noon to answer any questions you might have about this strange train we call life.

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Want answers now? Search past Carolyn Hax live chats and find answers to your questions even if she is offline by clicking here.

Hi everybody, happy Friday.

Hi Carolyn - Your advice is always so helpful and affects a great many readers. So when you wrote in a reply, in a live chat on April 20th, that an introvert “skulks” (“keeps out of sight, typically with a sinister or cowardly motive”) off to bed, and his introversion is “eccentric” (“unconventional and slightly strange“), you perpetuated horrible, unfair stereotypes. Can you please explain why you wrote that, or will you leave your remarks out there, as-is, to mark all of us introverts even further with a huge scarlet “I”? Thanks for any clarification you can provide. (LINK )

I'm an introvert myself. I leave my own parties, and joke about skulking off. To me it's just colorful language, written with no intent to insult or perpetuate stereotypes. 

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 it has become clear that I cannot handle standing up for the whole ride, especially in the morning. I risk fainting and falling, which is dangerous right now of course. The obvious solution is to just ask for a seat when there's not one available, but I don't really look pregnant or unhealthy. And (this is the real issue) I am painfully shy. The thought of spontaneously talking to a stranger to ask them for the favor of standing up for me makes me ill! So far I've just been waiting for a train with a seat and enduring the longer commute. What else can I do???

Force yourself out of your comfort zone far enough to ask for a seat.

I wish I had a better answer for you, but the circumstances you spell out here have had their say and it's this: You find another way to commute, you keep waiting for emptier trains at the cost of a longer commute, you risk fainting, or you ask for a seat. That's it.

Since you're about to become not just a mother, but also the official spokesadult for another human being, whose initial helplessness can put this in life-or-death-responsibility territory, this is an excellent time to practice pushing far enough through your social fears to be an advocate for your baby's needs. It'll feel hellish at first but I expect you'll not only get better at it with practice, but also feel stronger for it, maybe stronger than you've ever felt.

Congrats on your coming baby and go tell that metro what's what.

Meet a guy online, engage in light “sexting,” maybe even meet IRL 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’m sorry but I don’t think we’re a good match." In response, the guy argues with me, tries to convince me to give him another chance, or asks questions that are really just arguments disguised as inquiries. Almost any reply seems to be an invitation to convince me to continue texting and/or hop (back) into bed. In a more established relationship I would feel terrible about “ghosting” someone. But in a casual, hook-up situation where both parties have explicitly stated they aren’t looking for anything serious...is it wrong? FWIW, a few guys have done this to me, and it didn’t upset me. I sent a message saying, “I had fun! Hope to see you again!” and when I didn’t hear back, I figured that was my answer. I don’t want to be hurtful, but I also don’t think I owe anyone an explanation for not wanting to date/sleep with them, especially when the relationship is explicitly casual and very brief (these aren't men I've slept with repeatedly). Is there a kind but firm way to convey that my lack of interest is non-negotiable? Or is this just the price I pay for casual sex?

What the what? You can't "ghost" someone when you've already said you're not interested. Okay, "Hey, I’m sorry but I don’t think we’re a good match" might not be as explicitey-explicit as, "I am not interested in seeing you anymore," but it's close enough for this disinterested bystander to believe you more than met the explanatory burden for not ghosting. You tried it, you didn't like it, you broke it off. Good instincts on that one, by the way.

And no, you don't "owe anyone an explanation for not wanting to date/sleep with them, especially when the relationship is explicitly casual and very brief ." 

Please stop second-guessing yourself, and please stop explaining yourself to this guy. It would have been appropriate, in response to his first attempt to argue with you, to reply: "This isn't a debate, it's a decision. I am not interested." But after that--and certainly now, that he's pushed the boundary so hard at this point--for you to stop responding. Block him if he persists. 

(more)

As for your parting shot, "Or is this just the price I pay for casual sex?," it's a fine line and I fear you've put yourself on a shamey side of it. I hope as a society that we've matured beyond "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" cautionary tales where women who own their sexuality are depicted as sacrifices to homicidal man-karma.

However, any person, male or female, looking for anything from other people, be it a restaurant meal or ride share or app sex, casts his or her lot in with strangers. There's an element of this to life in general, so I'm not suggesting that we all treat every single stranger as a danger to us. The numbers don't support that (the people we know and trust mess us up plenty) and sanity doesn't recommend it. However, we all have to understand and own the amount of risk we assume. If this experience has you rethinking how much risk you're comfortable assuming, then honor that, whether it means you screen more or earlier, phrase your no-thank-yous more clearly, or tap out altogether. All entirely your call. 

I once overheard a young lady ask for a seat. She went up to the healthiest man she spotted and said, "I'm sorry, I'm pregnant - may I please take your seat?" He immediately stood up and actually helped her down. I'm sure it didn't hurt that the looked like she was about to hurl. It's all the facial expressions! (and yes, I joke, but Mom does need to start being assertive about her own needs).

Don't ask any one individual for a seat. Just say, loudly enough for several people to hear, "Would anyone mind giving up a seat?" I can just about guarantee someone will. Asking one individual for a seat can be problematic because that one individual might have a legitimate but not obvious reason to need to sit, such as having arthritic knees.

My husband and I have been struggling for nearly a year. There's no infidelity or abuse or any one issue that got us here, but just a lot of unhappiness (we're like sad zombies working on autopilot). It mostly stems from complacency in maintaining our relationship and issues we never addressed, which of course lead to hurt, resentment, etc. (mostly at my end) . We're in couples counseling and also both going to therapy individually but it's hard to figure out when we've put ourselves through enough. How do I figure out if/when to throw in the towel? Note: I think it'll have to be me who ultimately makes the decision; I feel like my husband would go down with the ship, god bless his masochistic heart.

"it's hard to figure out when we've put ourselves through enough"

Oh dear. 

What's your goal? Actual things learned or accomplished or let go of. I ask this both assuming and hoping there isn't a calendar block circled somewhere with "sufficient time spent suffering to justify a divorce."

Hope you're still here--Teddy, would you pls keep an eye out?

I work in an open office and the woman who sits next to me talks herself through her work everyday. She also speaks very loudly on the phone several times a day and often conducts conference calls on speakerphone. The IT guy alternates yelling obscenities at his computer, drumming on his desk with a pencil, and yawning loudly. The cleaning person comes in and mumbles to himself while collecting the trash. Then I go home and my mom - who lives with me for the time being - chatters on about every move she made that day, talks loudly on the phone, talks to the dogs, talks to the TV, talks to herself. The constant noise is driving me batty. I’m permitted to wear headphones at work but even music can get to me after long periods of time. My mom is a terrible driver but I’ve been letting her take my car out just so I can get some peace and quiet after work once in a while. Is there anything else I can do?

Noise-canceling headphones without any music on? (Paging Phil McCombs ...)

It's tough when your circumstances give you so little control over the noise in your environment. The best recommendation I have, besides the headphones, is to commit to finding improvements on the margins--which is basically a plan to take control of the parts you're able to control. Can you move your desk somewhere? Find a quiet/restorative place nearby to take your breaks? Take up a quiet hobby that gets you out of your house? Hiking, yoga come to mind ... reading in a library ... and if your mom is cooperative, maybe you can work a deal with her. I imagine she's lonely and happy to have someone to talk to when you get home? Maybe you can honor and appreciate that while also letting her know that your unwinding of choice is quiet, so maybe after an initial half-hour or hour of checking in she can grant you stillness for a set period of time.

I haven't gotten to it myself, but the book most recommended by readers over the years has to be "Quiet" by Susan Cain. It offers a chance to feel understood, if nothing else.

When I was visibly pregnant and commuting by public transportation, I found that the people who most willingly offered to give up their seat for me were youngish women and - surprise! - teenagers. I assume that the women had some empathy for my situation, but to this day I can only speculate why the teens were so nice. But it occurs to me that if you have to ask for a seat, these two groups of people might be the most accommodating and the easiest to approach since you are shy. And please always remember that most people really like the opportunity to help a stranger in a small way; even if it makes you feel awkward, it makes them feel good.

Always happy to give teenagers some good PR, thanks.

Hi Carolyn! Thanks for taking my question! I just graduated college in December, 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 during this arrangement. The issue is, 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 really upsets my mom. She wants me to save to buy a new car, and is always mentioning the benefits of new car models she likes. If I had to guess, she probably thinks the timeline for me to save is urgent, since she wants to give my car to my brother when he graduates next May. I honestly want a used car. My current one is 15 years old; it runs fine, and I really like it. I don't know how to talk to her about this. I don't want to be disrespectful, since she is being very kind by letting her adult child live with her. But I feel like our priorities financially are just so different. Is there a way to compromise, or politely talk it out? I love my mom, I don't want to be the ungrateful daughter.

Sounds like it's time for a come-to-Prius moment. (uuuuu)

Setting: A time and place when you and your mom are together and at ease and not scheduled to be anywhere.

Opener: You tell your mom how grateful you are for her generosity in giving you this opportunity to save money.

Point: Say you are concerned lately that her goals for this time and yours might be different, and you'd feel better if you knew what she had in mind. You don't want to be an unwitting source of angst or frustration.

Key question: Is she willing to share her expectations? Such as, a deadline for you to move out? A goal she'd like you to reach personally? A goal of her own that she has, that's dependent in some way on you? (Like your giving up your car to your brother.)

If she isn't forthcoming, then all you can do is keep trying to pull your weight, save like the wind (we're pretending that's a thing) and get out of there as soon as it's prudent to.

If she is forthcoming, then you work with that--bending where you can or where it won't cost your integrity much to bend, and holding firm where you need to. And if holding firm is a problem for her, then this grace period might be up. It happens. 

 

Dear Carolyn, My ex-husband and I have been divorced for about 10 years. Our kids are grown and in their 20’s and 30’s. 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 effort for milestone events for our children to be as smooth as possible for the kids. But for the last 5 years of our marriage, my husband was an alcoholic who verbally and emotionally abused me, so I do not wish to spend time with him alone. He was recently given a diagnosis for a terminal illness related to alcoholism. Our kid who lives locally asked me to help with his care, mostly driving to appointments and visiting him and running errands. He will always be my kids father and we shared some wonderful times together. But I’m not sure I want, or can, spend this much time with him one-on-one. I’m trying to decide what to do and it feels like there are no good options.

This weight is going to fall hard on your kid who still lives in town, much harder than it will on the siblings just by accident of geography--so while I'm comfortable saying you have zero obligation to help out your ex-abuser, I also think it's worth sorting through the possibilities for helping out. Find the ones that allow you to assume parts of your child's burden that don't cost you your soul. Running errands? You can do that. Not with your ex, but on your own with a list, sure. Visiting him? Nope. Driving him somewhere? Maybe, maybe not, depending--but can you arrange rides? Taxi, Uber/Lyft? Can you tap any public resources for people with health problems? Can you get someone to ride along with you as a buffer? Can you arrange a swap with someone who has a similar toxic (ex-) relative--kind of a "Strangers on a Train" except with carpooling instead of murder?

Anyway. The answer available to anyone facing a request for help is always no, especially when it involves pushing healthy boundaries. But I don't think it will be a source of regret if you at least stop to do some Venn-diagramming of ways to help your kid that keep your health intact.

Can you go away by yourself or even with a close buddy who is a confidante for several days. I think you need space to think this through. My ex fiance and I had a whirlwind romance and then as we spent more time together it wasn't going well - but were both putting in the effort. It was only when I went on a self-guided retreat at an ashram, in beautiful countryside, where I had the time and space and - importantly - distance to think it all that I realized what I think we both actually knew: we were not a good couple. You don't have to go on a retreat of course, that was just what was right for me - but going away to a lovely place where you can sit with it could make all the difference. Incidentally - I this taught me a lot about my patterns etc and I did a lot of Personal Growth and I don't think I'd now be happily married if I hadn't gone through that - as difficult and upsetting as it was at the time.

Thanks for this.

I'll add my plug for the power of changes of scenery and of people who knew you when. A close buddy of any kind can be helpful, but I've found that when I see people who knew me young, or just before the situation I'm struggling with, I get a perspective on myself--often, specifically, on how far I've drifted from the person these people once knew.

Anyway. 

I’m a man in my 50’s, and went through some very turbulent years in my youth (my parents died a few months apart when I was a teenager). In the time since, I’ve thrived – college grad, career, good kids/family, etc – but I feel that I have a bit of an emotional ‘dead zone’ inside because of the grief I had to tamp down & ignore just to get through those tough times so long ago. My question is about staying on the path towards long-term happiness after tough times. Is it generally a better bet to continue burying the issues of the past and focus on enjoying the real pleasures & accomplishments of the present? Or would it be better to dust off those demons & confront them once and for all… even if that risks going back to a painful part of my life that I’ve mostly managed to leave in the past?

Short answer, if you're asking, then you probably want to confront the demons. People who are sure they are living their lives "to the fullest" just don't dwell on this stuff. Which sounds so traumatic, I'm sorry.

In my experience they have done some (or much) dwelling already and are just ready not to anymore--but there are also people who are generally and genuinely at their best when they shrug and leave stuff behind. I actually see them as kind of inspiring since I'm a dweller. I think of them--affectionately I swear--like sharks. They stay alive through constant forward motion. 

So my suggestion to you would be to spend some time deciding if this is how you want your life to be, or if you feel nagged by the idea that there's more out there. More love, more depth, more feeling, more joy--and of course more pain. It's okay to want this and it's okay not to. 

I do suggest you talk it out with your spouse first, if there is one, and find a good therapist--even if you take these talking steps only to help you decide whether to dig any further. 

Headphones, noise cancelling or otherwise are key but also just ask. It is perfectly ok to ask your colleagues to keep the noise down. It is ok to ask the colleague who takes conference calls on speaker phone to use a headset. It can be as simple as , hey I am trying to concentrate here, could you use the headset, please. And for your mom, i need some quiet before I hear about your day.

Just wondering if the car that the writer drives was given/loaned to her by mom. If so, could you offer to buy that one from her (perhaps for current retail Blue Book)?

Confidential to "Pumping at Work": May I send your Q to Karla Miller, @Work columnist? Offices aren't my turf. Thanks.

I'm the OP from the chat Q turned column published last Friday about taking my 20 month old to dinner after bedtime. I thought I'd give an update. I spent my lunch break that day going to Walgreens and getting a little toiletry bag which I filled with toys, crayons, and snacks. We went to a local casual establishment that is very child friendly (we're suburban so this is legit, the place was full of kids). Everything went completely fine. My kid did great (not a church mouse, but 100% within reasonable social behavior), we had a nice dinner, and every one made it through alive with no inconvenience to neighboring diners or the staff. It ended up being really good for us for a variety of reasons from practical to emotional... First of all, we now have the restaurant bag which is now our transportable diaper bag. Instead of carting a separate bag everywhere, we keep two diapers, some wipes, and a rotating stock of toys in it at all times and it just gets tossed into whatever purse or backpack we are carrying around anyway. Keeping it small and replacing stuff as we use it has ensured we always have what we need and has saved me many times over. Moreover, the departure from bedtime and my kid's ability to handle it gave me confidence to relax about scheduling for our family. Finally, in the months since the question, I have begun to work on letting go of the idea that I get to say how we parent our child 100% of the time. It is hard, because I think that I know best about everything, but my husband is just as much of a parent as I am, and has valid experience-based opinions (kid can handle it) while many of my opinions (strict adherence to absolute bedtime) are mandates from books or websites. We have to have a balance of the two in order to make it through this crazy life. My husband, who while not perfect is not the divorce-worthy trash monster some of your commenters suggested, knew (because he is an involved parent) that our kid could handle it, and knew me well enough to know that while I was in a stress-spiral, I would be grateful for the time spent with friends (which I was), and most of all knew that we would be able to work together to deal with whatever came up while out. We may have had a communication fail on making the plans, but all in all this story has a happy ending. I urge a lot of your readers to give people the grace of the benefit of the doubt in the future and remember that there are real people reading the responses they post. It was really hard to read comments calling my husband a glass bowl and me a pushover. I was having a bad moment when I wrote the chat question and it was just one momentary snapshot of our lives together, so I hope people will remember that when diagnosing an entire marriage on one moment of one partner's one bad day.

Definitely a hazard of the medium, and I'm guilty of it myself--it's not just the commentariat. Thanks so much for the follow up and I'm glad you got enduring benefits from this one not-terrible-after-all evening.

Hi Carolyn, love your columns and chats. Here's my question: when my ex-husband and I divorced about 8 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 after school coverage, and she has also come to school plays and activities with me. In addition, she is wealthy and has been amazingly generous to Jane, over the years buying clothes, taking her on wonderful trips, etc. By the way I never asked Aunt for these things (have been able to support Jane ok, just not as well as Aunt can). Aunt offers gifts directly to Jane or just outright gives in a generous if overbearing way. Jane loves her Aunt, and not just for the stuff. That's all great. Now Jane is headed to college and Aunt has offered to cover any amount we need (about half, wow!). Jane and I are accepting this amazing gift but now I am uncomfortable with Aunt's plans to come with us to school for the big drop-off and whatever else goes on when you leave your child at college. Is it too late to draw this boundary now, with Aunt about to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on Jane's education? As Jane's mom, I want to have the college road trip and drop-off just for me and my daughter. What do you think? Jane is ok either way, she is used to her Aunt inserting herself.

Okay, I might change my mind (have at it, anyone)--but what I'm seeing is not an aunt who is paying to play, but a close relative who practically surrogate-parented to play. And if that's too strong, then at least invested herself and her love significantly over the years. After-school coverage and going to her events and traveling with her make Aunt a huge part of Jane's life. 

I find myself mentally replacing aunt with grandparent, and imagining this grandma or grandpa as essentially a pinch-parent (I like that better than surrogate) for the past eight years, and if I were in that grand's place I could see wanting to see Jane off. Hoping, tho, not imposing it or assuming. In your place, I could see, yes, wanting that grandparent along for the big launch. 

Of course this argument exists independently of your feelings, and your feelings about wanting to make this a just-you-two event are fair and valid. I just don't think it's right to minimize the aunt's place by reducing it to a money issue. It's about presence, and Aunt's presence has been steadfast. It's ultimately your decision, but please at least make your decision on that.

 

Dear Carolyn, My boyfriend and I are both 19, and we’ll be having our 5 year anniversary this summer. We’ve dated long distance the entire time. To celebrate this milestone, we are going on an overnight trip about 3 hours from my home. The problem is, my parents strongly disapprove of this. I told them about the trip immediately after I booked it and have been honest throughout the process, but this seems to cross a line for them. They’ve always been very protective of me and my sisters, but I don’t know why this in particular is so hard, because I’ve travelled on my own internationally and my boyfriend stayed with me at for a weekend at college. I feel that my boyfriend and I have proven ourselves to be in a mature and healthy relationship, but my parents still don’t like that I’m dating someone on principle. Recently, my mother told me that if we go on this trip, we will be jeopardizing my boyfriend’s relationship with her and my dad for the long term. Every adult I trust besides my parents (rabbi, therapist) has told me that it’s okay for us to take this trip, and I don’t like that my mom threatened my boyfriend, but at the same time I love my parents and I don’t want to make things difficult-life is tough as it is. Do you think I should go on this trip, or should I keep the peace with my family?

I think you've got a toughie there. 

I think 19 is as good an age as any to make a tough, adult decision. The definition of "adult decision" being, of course, one between two things that each will cost you something you value. The only thing you can do is figure out your values and priorities, rest your decision on them, and accept the consequences. 

Sorry for the delay--plumbers at the door. And I was doing so well with the no-interruptions-and-dead-spots thing after last week's distraction cabaret. Oh well.

My husband and I have worked out a pretty fair split of household chores. We each do the chores we sort of enjoy, or, at least, don't entirely hate, and the workload seems pretty evenly divided. However, I've noticed a lot of these chores seem to fall along traditional gender roles. I do all of the cooking and shopping. He does most of the driving (we carpool) and a lot of the yard work. We have a 3 year old and a baby, and the 3 year old already seems to think Daddies don't cook and Mommies don't drive. We don't need to blow up our whole system, do we? Are we teaching them outdated ideas?

No and no. It works. And that's all you need to say: "It came out that way in our family, but all families are different." Repeat till it verges on self-satire and you'll be fine.

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 really know me or have made much of an effort to get to know me. I think they care, but they don't communicate it effectively. We have five month old twins, our first kids. My in-laws, who live about five hours away, have visited a couple of times since they were born, and I struggle watching them interact with the kids when they visit. They oo and ahh and take pictures and hold the babies and all the things adoring grandparents do - and it bugs me. I don't want to share the kids with them. I feel like they haven't taken the time to get to know me and interact with me, but they want to play with the babies, and something about that bothers me. It's just my in-laws, too. My parents bring us dinner every weekend, and it's the high point of my week to see my dad holding my son or daughter. The look of love and adoration on his face makes me so happy, but watching my father in law dance with my daughter while my mother in law took pictures - I kept thinking, "she's not a show!" I don't want my issues to get in the way of the kids relationship with their grandparents, and I know that my feelings about his parents make life hard for my husband. He knows how I feel about his parents (though not the part about them interacting with the kids), and he understands where I'm coming from. I don't expect them to change, and saying "hey, pay attention to me!" feels... immature. How do I change my thinking so I'm more on board with the grandparent train?

If it helps, you're hardly alone in this. There's so much just bad or meh mixing with in-laws that it sure seems like the exception when all mix in well.

But here's the thing: What you describe here is basic human frailty. So your outlaws are a little self-absorbed. Okay. Or, maybe they're not really in other circumstances, and maybe they're just not clicking with you the way you or they would like, and their way of keeping things friendly is to keep up a level of patter ... about ... whatever feels safe and handy, i.e., little stuff in their lives. Which comes off as self-absorbed when really they're just trying to support their son and his marriage and not do anything to mess that up. Possible?

Now think of these possibilities and ask yourself, is any of these violations of character or behavior serious enough to warrant the punishment of losing their grandkids? And to warrant punishing your kids by taking away two apparently loving grandparents just because you're not feeling the love?

I do not minimize how hard it is to be in your spot. You're new to this and your body is still in the throes and it's hard to be around anyone who doesn't feel completely safe for you personally. But as long as, to your eye, these grandparents are a benefit to your babies and husband--and specifically are not doing anything that would harm your kids or your marriage--then try your best to see what ways their presence can benefit you, too. A little relief, a few extra helping hands, more people in the world who love your kid. Deep breaths. 

If they were writing to me, by the way, I'd advise them to be mindful of you as an equal member of this family and not just the grandchild vessel, because that sounds like at least part of your resentment here. But without their attention, I have to do what I can with yours, and any extra you have for this situation is probably best invested in your marriage. Be mindful of your husband's attachment to his parents but also don't be afraid to ask him to stand up for you if and when any relatives elbow you aside in a beeline for baby time. 

 

Applause, applause, applause!

And read Michelle Singletary's stuff, and submit this question to her weekly chat on Thursday. She'll like that you prefer a used car, and will give her opinion on the rest of it, too. She's written a lot lately on adult children living at home, too.

Seconded--Michelle is solid and unflinching, thanks.

Just want to put in another good word for the teenagers of today. My kids did a lemonade stand on our relatively rural road, and by far the best customers were teens. And then there are the Parkland teens and others their age doing their best to make the world better. Don't underestimate them. If they're our future, we're going to be fine.

Thanks. 

I also beg people not to lump generationally lest they be lumped. Millions of people, people. 

Hi, I have a good problem to have, but one I'm still struggling with. After a divorce and more than a decade of basically being single (some dating and short term relationships), I've unexpectedly started seeing an old friend, and it's amazing. I have no doubt that our relationship is real, or that it's very healthy. It's more the idea that something so unexpectedly good has happened to me, so I vary between disbelief, shock and happiness. Without complaining, my life hasn't been very easy, and I guess I feel like I have to work extra hard for the good things in my life. How do I get over the feeling that I don't deserve this happiness?

If you don't, then who does? 

Congratulations. 

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

In This Chat
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.
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