The Carolyn Hax couples we rooted for

So often advice columns see letters from people in bad relationships, with bad partners, together for the wrong reasons, and we want to shake the people involved and tell them to Get out! Dump him! Love yourself! Every once in a while, though, there’s that letter that breaks our heart the other way, where we can’t help but root for the couples to make it and find happiness together.

In advance of Valentine’s Day we asked, which couples from past Carolyn Hax columns did you hope would make it?

Some of these letters could be ripped straight from a romantic comedy, some are heartbreaking in their honesty, and at least one will make you believe in storybook romance. All of them will make you hope that these couples beat the odds.

(Letter writers, if you’re out there, let us know how things turned out for you.)

1. The “very very average” girl

Okay, I’m dating someone I really like, but he and most of his friends are super high achievers: best schools, prominent careers, athletic, etc. In comparison, I feel very very very average.

I haven’t been hiding anything though, so he already knows the truth about the things I feel insecure about: school, job, etc. So that must mean, in spite of these things, he likes me anyway? Right?

My fear — and this is in all relationships because this happened to me once and completely shredded my soul and my self-esteem — is that he’s just using me “until something better comes along” and I’m too dense to see it.

Carolyn’s response. 

2. The guy who hadn’t told his best friend how he felt because “I don’t want to put her in the position of having to reject me”

I’m a single guy who has harbored feelings for one of my best friends for a number of years. I’ve never said anything to her since I don’t want to put her in the position of having to reject me, and I know in my head it wouldn’t work out between us due to a number of lifestyle and religious hurdles.

Recently she has begun seeing someone. I’m happy for her, but at the same time I don’t really want to subject myself to being around her right now. How can I take a break from our friendship without ruining it forever? Should I just drop off the grid, or do I need to explain why? I truly want her to have her best chance with this relationship, and I don’t want to do anything that may jeopardize that.

Carolyn’s response.

3. The mother who was desperate to “save my family somehow”

Please help; I’m desperate. My husband and I are parents to an 8-month-old son, and while we were very excited to welcome a baby, we have learned over the past eight months that parenthood is not for us. We knew we would be changing a lot about our lifestyle, but we had no idea we’d be miserable every day doing it.

We can’t talk to anyone because it’s so shameful admitting this level of failure at something others do naturally. We are honest only with each other, and it is obvious that what we are doing now won’t work. We can’t imagine what options we have. Please, please help me look at this from a new angle and, hopefully, save my family somehow.

Carolyn’s response.

4. The husband who found “someone to be happy with”

My wife and I celebrated our 40th anniversary last Sunday. What did we do? Nothing special. We exchanged cards (hers was funny; mine serious). I bought her flowers (she loves fresh cut flowers). We went out to dinner to a restaurant we had not been to in many years. We had a couple of drinks, talked about our children, the changes in the restaurant, the fact that it didn’t use tablecloths, etc. We were home about 9 p.m. Watched some TV. Went to bed. It was great! I love being with her.

I’ve always respected my wife. She is the most intelligent woman I know. She has a sharp mind and grasps concepts almost immediately. She is a professional in a field that I would never enter (education, but she is not a teacher or administrator. My profession involved creative endeavors). But when she discusses her work with me, I am fascinated. Her mind is organized. She has a certain way she tells a story that really makes you want to hear it to the end. She’s a problem-solver and will tackle a job immediately while I tend to procrastinate until I am under a tremendous deadline.

We talk a lot. Sometimes we chat for a couple of hours. Sometimes the topics are inane, sometimes they aren’t. We both like to read, so we will sit in our respective chairs and not say a word for a couple of hours.

Why has our marriage survived while others have not? Damned if I know. She’s my best friend. I would sooner be with her than anyone else. I still get warm, fuzzy feelings when I see her enter a room full of people. I often sit back and think about how lucky I am.

I think part of our success has been because we come from similar backgrounds. Her family was poor. So was mine. She worked her way through college. So did I. We met in the Peace Corps. We have similar values. We’ve had our differences. We do not get sick of each other. We rarely argue. We have never had a major fight.

How do you know someone is the right one? You don’t. But if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone to be happy with.

Original letter.

5. The girl whose boyfriend yelled “BLECH!”
(Okay, we weren’t sure whether we actually wanted this couple to make it, but we’d love to know how what happened.)

I love baking. My boyfriend has some sort of cake aversion, although he likes sweet stuff in general.

I bake whenever I get a chance for an appreciative audience, mostly for potlucks, where the tasties are devoured by people who sometimes literally queue around me when I walk through the door with a batch of cupcakes. But BF is not so subtle about saying, “BLECH!” and spitting out things that he tries, just to be nice, but thinks are too sweet.

I am very careful about making recipes with balanced flavors; I often REDUCE the amount of sugar in a recipe. I myself am not a sugar hound, and I know that on the terms of sweetness, these things are nowhere near overbearing.

I say, DON’T WASTE A PERFECTLY GOOD CUPCAKE that you know you won’t like. And if you do elect to taste it, don’t make noises of disgust, but rather, choke it down, or discreetly set it aside, if necessary. I don’t spit out his -or anyone else’s- recipe failures.

So, my question is, how can he possibly think it’s OK to stand in a room full of people who are all eating, and yell “BLECH” about the dish I brought, which everyone else likes just fine, but be silent about the real potluck stinkers?

Am I missing something, or is he just being incredibly rude? This seems like a no-brainer to me, but he acts like he is unwilling/unable to restrain himself from commentary, and won’t understand why I am angry with him after these types of gatherings.

Carolyn’s response.

Which couples from the past did you root for? Any couples (or no-longer-couples … *tear*) with an update to share? Let us know in the comments.

Jessica Stahl is a producer on The Post's audience engagement team.
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