washingtonpost.com
Tell Me About It

Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 3, 2006 12:00 PM

Carolyn takes 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.

Appearing every Wednesday and Friday in The Washington Post Style section and in Sunday Source, Tell Me About It offers readers advice based on the experiences of someone who's been there -- really recently. Carolyn Hax is a 30-something 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.

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New Albany, Ind.: I'm expecting twins in just a few months. I'm feeling overwhelmed and everything I'm reading talks about how incredibly difficult it is in the beginning. Yes, I know that. I have a child, and I understand that they don't really sleep at first and that childbirth hurts. I get it. I'm now going to try a little positive thinking, since there isn't any going back! So tell me something wonderful and great about raising twins that I have to look forward to.

Carolyn Hax: They entertain each other. Much less work for you that way, once they're old enough to interact with each other. Congratulations!

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Chicago, Ill.: Hi Carolyn,I recently started taking antidepressants, under the care of a therapist I've been seeing for several years. It was not a rash or easy decision, but one that we both think will help a great deal. But here's the problem: the one I'm taking does not allow me to drink alcohol. How do I explain why I'm not drinking to friends and coworkers? It will be noticed -- not that I drank a lot, but I always had a drink or two when it was available. My decision to take the medication is nobody's business but my own, but I don't know what to say when asked why I'm not drinking. I've already gotten a few questions and raised eyebrows in the first week! You're always the best for coming up with the perfect response to intrusive quesitons, so any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks, but I don't really deserve the compliment, since my strategy is usually to look uncomfortable and stammer out something stupid.

But seems to me in this case the easiest route is just to say you're on a new medication. For all they know, it's for your depression, skin, hormones, vestigial tail. And if people ask what's it's for, you can either say what it's really for, or say that's an awfully personal quesiton, or say, "Intrusive questions."

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Suburbs, Maryland: Hey Carolyn, quick question. Why do exes insist on keeping themselves around? What on earth would possess someone to attempt to rekindle with their long-lost boyfriend/girlfriend? Does it not occur to these people that others move on, and that their selfishness could be hurting all sorts of people? I'm coming at this from the perspective of one who's recently been contacted by an ex, AND had my significant other recently contacted by an ex, AND had to deal with a friend who was upset after an ex contacted her? What is with this phenomenon? Do people not know that the word "past" means "not present, not future?" Thanks for any insight you can lend, but please don't just say that maybe it's something they have to do for themselves, something they still need to work out.

Carolyn Hax: Why not? Certainly some of those cases can be selfish, but certainly there are others where these bounce-back exes were denied any sort of breakup satisfaction other than, "Seeya"--which, obviously, is its own kind of closure, but it seems a bit heartless to condemn every single one who tries to find some hint of why.

And, some people actually do rekindle relationships, so I think it's a bit harsh to condemn all attempts as selfish and unrealistic. If someone wants to get back together with an ex, that person does have a right to give it one shot, don't you think? (Then, when the answer is no, take it on the chin and stop trying.)

And, you're also assuming that all contact from exes is an attempt to rekindle. There is the possibility that, though officially "ex," these people enjoyed their time in the relationship and occasionally act on their warm memories by saying hello. To call that unacceptable is also pretty cold. "We were in love and spent every day together, but now we're not and we don't, so please have the courtesy to drop off the face of the earth and never contact me again."

Simple, non-pushy, onetime (or widely spaced occasional) contact doesn't have to hurt anyone. You say hi, you ask how s/he's doing, you decline invitation to rekindle, you express warm wishes, you say goodbye.

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A seasonal response to no alcohol: How about "I gave it up for Lent." If you're Jewish or atheist or never ever talk about your faith, it's funny and distracts people. If you are really Catholic, or of whatever other faith really does give up things for Lent, it's perfectly believable.

Carolyn Hax: I like it, thanks.

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To the woman having twins: My best friend has seven-month-old twins as well as a three-year-old. Just make sure you have plenty of help in the beginning. I used to go over and everything was kind of like an assembly line. She would feed one, give her to me, and I would burp her while she fed the other one. She wouldn't trade having them for the world, but you need to prepare yourself that it's rougher than just having one at a time. Congrats, by the way!

Carolyn Hax: Thanks. I would substitute "rougher," though, for "more labor intensive." But you do develop assembly line-type tactics, and it isn't so bad--you can even get faster/more efficient at a lot of things than parents of singles, who aren't forced to find workable systems.

And yes, accept all offers of help (unless it's from people who tend to create more work, and those you identify pretty quickly).

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For Chicago...: Been there, done that. And I used to drink pretty heavily before I went on my antidepressants. I've always used the "I'm on medication -- I can't drink" comment, and I've never been questioned further. If people ask, they're rude, and are best answered with the Icy Stare of Death. As a matter of fact, after a while, people don't even ask why you're not drinking.

I even joke about it and say I'm always the designated driver.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks.

And just for good measure, to anyone reading this: Please put, "Why aren't you drinking?" on the list of Questions You Just Don't Ask People, right between, "Are you pregnant," and, "So when are you guys getting married?"

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Washington, D.C.: Fluff question: How rude is it to turn down an invitation to be a bridesmaid? My (younger) brother is getting married to a woman who is younger than him, so I'm like 15 years older than this woman and have gotten the whole bridesmaid thing out of my system by now. My 12 year old would get a much bigger kick out of being in the wedding than I would at this point -- is there a tactful way to steer the conversation in daughter's direction? Thanks

Carolyn Hax: Just tell her you're flattered but feeling a bit old for the gig, then offer your and/or your daughter's efforts in some other way. I wouldn't be so explicit as to suggest your daughter as a replacement bridesmaid. It could make her feel cornered.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have what I think is an odd question, but I figure it can't hurt to ask... I've been dating my boyfriend for over a year-and-a-half. When I was single, I constantly scanned the Metro, crowds, gym, etc. for attractive men. For the first year-plus that I dated my boyfriend, this completely stopped -- I had no interest in checking guys out. Over the last couple months, I suddenly started scanning the crowds again, and this is weirding me out. Is this a sign that something is wrong with my relationship, or is it natural to have on blinders for so long and then have them suddenly fall off?

Carolyn Hax: Seems natural to me, but that doesn't mean it doesn't mean something. It just means that, while it -could- mean you're losing interest in your BF, it doesn't -have to- mean you're losing interest in your boyfriend.

And if it helps: If you are losing interest, you already have a bunch of other, better signs telling you that.

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Technical question - just curious: Carolyn,

How early is too early to post a question for the chat? Do the questions get read if a person posts the day before or the morning of the chat? Some of us are in vastly different time zones and I just wonder if our questions are sometimes left out because of the time of day they were sent in.

Carolyn Hax: I never know when something gets submitted (so no need for people to point out they're posting early).

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Seattle, Wash.: So, I'm about to start a volunteer job/informal intern type thing working for a person I've been peripherally aquainted with for a while, but whom I've only been getting to know since we started discussing this job. I sense a mutual attraction, but this person is about to be my quasi-supervisor. I know, I know, the general rule is that you can't date your boss, but just say we're bent on this and have our eyes open wide? what's the protocol? do we just try to keep it discrete, consult volunteer services/HR or what?

Carolyn Hax: I think the "general rule" goes out the winder when there's no pay or advancement potential involved, doesn't it? Unless it's an experience-type internship (snicker snicker)--in that case you'd both need to be careful you're not getting plum assignments and/or access. Otherwise, the main rule that applies is good taste. Be discreet enough not to make any fellow volunteers want to ralph.

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Getting in touch with exes: Prompted by the person in the suburbs who is mystified by the desire of people to get in touch with their exes, I'm looking for some advice ... from you or the peanuts.

I would like to get in touch with my ex but I don't know whether I will be comfortable enough with the situation to continue it.

Is it a bad idea to get in touch with someone when you're not 100 percent sure that you want to, but when you think you do? I have no interest in rekindling the romantic part of it, but we were together for four years and many things I encounter remind me of him.

Carolyn Hax: So what are you trying to accomplish by contacting him? Until you've got that straight, I wouldn't do it.

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Chicago, Ill.: While we're on the topic of how to answer intrusive questions -- I've recently decided to convert to a different religion, namely the religion of my fiance. This decision has not been easy and has taken a lot of careful thought and reflection. How do I handle the reactions of family and friends who disapprove of my decision? I've heard everything from "Why doesn't he convert?", "You're ruining you life!", etc. Is there a nice way to respond to these sort of comments? Thanks for any help you can provide -- I'm a long-time fan.

Carolyn Hax: "Thanks!" Seriously. Don't engage in the discussion. Think of their comments as darts, and you are a steel door. Clank. Plop.

If you don't have the "Thanks!" attitude in you, you can go with, "Thanks for your concern." Clank. Plop.

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RE: Fluff Question: As a survivor of the "wedding wars" and all the carnage that occurs in their aftermath, I am wondering if the older sister really want to deal with all the resentments and hurt feelings that will result from her declining the bridesmaid invitaion? It's a little work, yes, but not a huge investment of time compared to the potential downside. And, you get a really tacky dress in the bargain!

Carolyn Hax: Another way to look at it, thanks. One thing she should weigh carefully is the temperament of the bride-to-be. Some would prefer the honesty, some would be relieved, and some would ... :

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Bethesda, Md.: Re: Bridesmaid question.

You may have gotten the bridesmaid thing out of your system, but this is your brother's wedding and your presence in it obviously meant enough to them to choose you rather than a friend or your daughter. Making the decision of who will be a bridesmaid is a tough decision and that you are blowing it off becuase "you're over that" is pretty uncaring. and selfish. If you don't feel you can support the marriage or can't uphold the duties, that's one thing - maybe you can ask to be a reader instead. But it's not just some play put on for other's enjoyments, at least it's not supposed to be, and being asked to be a part of it, as a bridesmaid or however, is an honor. If I were the bride-to-be, and I knew you felt that way, I would be extremely hurt. And I am older as well, and at an age where I guess I could "be over it" if I chose to look at it like that.

Carolyn Hax: ... freak.

Bethesda, I think "extremely hurt" is taking things way too far--for your own sake more than anything. Someone could love you with all her heart and still want to decline the pageant. As long as the warmth is there, I don't see why the "no" has to resonate more than the underlying love.

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Ralph Here: "Be discreet enough not to make any fellow volunteers want to ralph."

You meant "raif", didn't you?

Carolyn Hax: All the best people pronounce it that way, yes.

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More thoughts on alcohol: I'm a member of AA. However, I keep this part of my life very private. I don't feel it's appropriate to share this knowledge with anyone but my closest friends and family. In social situations, people often ask me why I'm not drinking. I find this incredibley uncomfortable, especially if the questions are asked by colleagues. I used to say that I was on antibiotics, but that excuse runs out after awhile. I sympathize with the poster on anti-depresents and I would like to hear others' advice on how to address this problem. I hope this chat also serves as a reminder to anyone asking this person question to their non-drinking friends that it is innappropriate.

Carolyn Hax: Yes, yes, people shouldn't ask. But there's a long way between saying you don't drink and saying you're an alcoholic. You don't need an excuse like antibiotics. You don't need an excuse at all. "I don't drink." Done. (Or, "It's not for me, thanks." Or whatever else works for you.) Don't let your desire to keep a secret trick you into believing secrets are the only reason not to drink.

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Kansas City: Maybe this isn't a Carolyn question, but as long as you're talking weddings....

My sister wants my six-year-old to be her flower girl. The thing is, I have a little boy, not a girl.

I spoke to the woman who runs the bridal salon and she said she's seen this several times and if the boy doesn't mind, it's a lot of fun.

I'm not sure I want to see my son in a dress, made up, etc (she'll even have hair extensions for him) but it is HER wedding and I'm probably going to cave.

Am I doing the right thing?

washingtonpost.com: Okay, this is just really weird.

Carolyn Hax: Speechless.

Please don't cave.

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RE: bridesmaid question: there's also the situation where, at brother's wedding, one sister is asked to be a bridesmaid and the other gets to serve the punch.

Carolyn Hax: I want punch duty.

Or, after a few hours, dunch puty.

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Washington, D.C.: Everytime I see your picture at the top of the page it makes me think of Nancy Kerrigan. Am I the only one that thinks that?

Carolyn Hax: Need for punch is now urgent.

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Anti-depressants and alcohol: She should be able to just say "I'm not drinking tonight for beneficial health reasons." or "Because its good for my health." and then parry follow-up qustions with "that's personal." Wouldn't that do it for most people?

Carolyn Hax: Ehh ... I don't like the "good for my health," since it can sound smug, like, " ... but you're free to wreck yours while I watch."

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To Kansas City: To ask your son to spray flowers at a wedding is a wonderful gesture. To expect him to wear a dress, hair extensions and makeup is sick and twisted. That will scar him for life. DO NOT CAVE!

Carolyn Hax: I don't know about the life scarring, but the sick-and-twisted needs to be up in lights, with an entourage and a publicist.

Are you still thinking you'll cave?

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Bridesmaid: I would say I agree with you at least 95 percent of the time, but come on. You seriously think it's OK to say "hint hint, my daughter would love to be part of your wedding"?

Carolyn Hax: No, I think it's fine to volunteer your own services along with hers. She said the daughter would be excited to be involved, and it might not have occurred to the bride, so make a nonspecific offer that you and she would be happy to help as needed. The rest is up to the birde.

And if even that is somehow manipulative or overbearing or hint-hinty, I'll cry.

Maybe someone needs to go for it and conduct a wedding on actual crushed eggshells.

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Maryland: I am back in the dating world after being separated for close to a year. I really am not interested in a marriage-type relationship at this time... want to play the field so to speak and just enjoy life. I have been e-mailing this man for two months. We are both professionals, both divorced... it's really a physical flirty kind of thing. Any downside to living out your fantasy?

Carolyn Hax: Just that the people living this fantasy are real, and real people have an obnoxious tendency to resist following a script. But as long as you know what that means and you're ready for any consquences, happy trails.

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Norfolk, Va.: Question: Why don't you drink?

Answers:

"I don't drink" should be more than sufficient.

"I'm the designated" is always good.

"Got a hot date later and want to be at my best" works well with those who don't know you well, and if you're single.

"Partied too hard last night, won't drink today, but if you need a refill I'll sweat in your glass..."

"Lost a bet, can't drink for a month/year/week/lifetime"

"I've got to drive later"

"I get moody/angry/psychotic when drinking"

"What?"

"Oh, is that Susie? I'll be back in a minute..."

"I got my drinking out of the way at work"

"They don't have my brand here"

"Did that rash clear up yet?"

"Headache, bad headache"

"At these prices???"

"Looks like you're doing enough for the both of us"

Carolyn Hax: I've got to use the work one. Thanks.

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washingtonpost.com: Sorry, my Google search for pix of flower boys was largely unsuccessful.

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Wednesday's Column: I was surprised that in your column Wednesday, you implied that you don't consider cheating to be a life-threatening activity due to STD transmission... did I mis-read? If not, could you please clarify?

Carolyn Hax: It certainly can be a life-threatening activity. The possibility that it is life-threatening, though, is pretty slim unless the cheater is high -risk him- or herself--promiscuous, paying for sex, IV drug user, for e.g.--or sleeping with a member of a high-risk group. Obviously lightning does strike sometimes, and one bad decision becomes a death sentence (if not AIDS, then, for a woman, a cervical-cancer-causing HPV strain--which is why regular Pap tests are essential, BTW).

But some people think even that risk means anyone who has an unfaithful partner must be told. But I see that as license for absolutely anyone to meddle in absolutely anyone's life--and that to me is just wrong. People who are peripheral to the lives of the couple need to think very carefully before they interfere. The person in the column today knew of one infidelity, apparently not firsthand, referred to them as "people I know" and not friends or close friends, and seemed to have a real beef against the guy. Given the details here and in many other do-I-tell situations, I think the answer is far from a slam dunk. Close friends and family, it is easy, like I said--you tell.

Anyway, that's what I was saying. Thanks for the chance to elaborate.

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Boston, Mass.: Online only please!

I had a panic attack in class this week. The teacher did not recognize it as such and thought I was crying for a completely ridiculous reason (even though I was hyperventilating). He told me to leave class and take a walk, which I did, but when I returned he made fun of me in front of the whole class. I'm at a loss. My nerves were so frazzled by the end of class that I left without explaining the situation to the teacher (have anxiety disorder, occasionally have uncontrollable panic attacks). By now, however, I really do not feel that it's any of his business or he'll be at all understanding (who makes fun of a student even if they do cry? it's just undergrad!). How do I get through the rest of the semester?

Carolyn Hax: I know this is a tall order, but I think you should talk to the teacher. If nothing else, do it so he thinks twice before ridiculing someone else. I think it can also help your confidence to stand up for yourself. Even if he isn't understanding, it's still an I-didn't-just-shut-up-and-take-it notch.

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New York, N.Y.: Sort of an odd question. I do not have children, but over the past year several of my good friends have had their first child. I've been thrilled for all of them and adore their kids, but I feel sort of awkward in our friendship now that they have this little creature so demanding of their time and I am still free as ever. I never know when to call, how to make plans, etc. I admit I am also a little resentful because I miss my old friend who could randomly chat on a weekend for longer than 10 minutes. I love children but am not thinking of having any soon (if ever) and it just feels like some weird gulf exists between me and my friend once they become a mom and I'm still same old me. Is that normal?

Carolyn Hax: It is, completely, but please please try to be patient. For one, most new parents are desperate to talk for more than 10 minutes and would if they could. They probably miss you even more than you miss them, but they have less opportunity to do anything about it.

And, it's a phase. It's a multi-year phase, but a phase nonetheless, and if you can just resist the urge to give up on them you'll find that they'll eventually start being human again.

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Seattle, Wash.: Carolyn, What do you do if your most thoughtful and wonderful husband is a great Dad and does it all well, is disciplined, is a marvelous helper, but is turned off with one problem area of my body that I cannot get rid off? We both work full jobs. I also take the kids to evening classes, piano, etc. Twice a week for each kid, so that leaves me one night off. I go to bed late and cannot wake early to do workouts. So I decided to use Lunch instead. Been doing this since last year, and I got me to look thin, but my body problem area, it seems, is the last thing to go! He says he is unhappy with my effort, even tho' I got much healthier and thinner. I make other guys turn heads and look twice! My husband might know this, but he is still way focused on health and nutrition. I do love working on myself and feel great when I do my workouts. Just I indulge every now and then, the portion is still fine, the food is still healthy, but not appropriate for "Physical Transformation"!!! See what I mean? And no, he is not as insane as I make him sound. The problem area looks better, but remains, and he is still turned off about it. What can I possibly do?!

Carolyn Hax: Unless your "problem area" is a second head, it sounds like your husband is exactly as insane as you make him sound. "He says he is unhappy with my effort"? And you're working full time, working out at lunch, and taking kids to class four nights a week? And he's telling you he's turned off? And you're justifying your food choices? To us?

I'm sorry, I see neither thoughtfulness nor wonderfulness (nor, for that matter, helpfulness), which to me are defined by the ability to make people around you feel good about themselves. So maybe you say to him, "How about helping make me feel good about myself?"

Are you sure you want him to be turned on?

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Baltimore, Md.: I've been dating my girlfriend for about six months now, and we get along great. I dearly love her, and she feels the same way... except she has a really hard time expressing it. I'm not talking about anything physical, just saying words of affirmation (she usually echoes me and doesn't come up with words on her own), giving me anything (I'll send along a random card or email every now and then). We've talked about it, and she knows that it's a problem. So I don't want to be demanding because I understand it's not her forte, but how can I gently help her to care for me more and express what she already feels?

Carolyn Hax: You can offer suggestions and set examples and make requests, but it's hard to change someone's way of demonstrating affection. Maybe she'll get more expressive with time--some people are shy/slow to trust--but if she doesn't, then expect that this is just the way she is.

That's why my suggestion is not to try to change her, but to try to change yourself. Specifically, to pay attention to the ways she -does- show affection, and see if you can be satisfied with those. Give it time. And if it isn't enough for you, consider that she's not for you.

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Washington, D.C.: My husband and I have been well on our way to getting a divorce for more than a year now. Separated on and off, lawyers engaged, etc. But now, we are talking about getting back together. I want it, he wants it. But, we're concerned about the backlash from friends. Any way to gird ourselves for this?

Carolyn Hax: If you can handle on-and-off separations, lawyers and plans for divorce, you can handle raised eyebrows from friends. Consider yourselves pre-girded.

Plus, friends will probably be grateful to follow your lead. If you've just spend more than a year inviting them to be honest about their dislike for your husband, for example, you can go a long way toward helping yourself by saying you realize you've put friends in an awkward position by reconciling, and reassuring them that nothing they said will be repeated.

Exception: If there is or was abuse involved, your friends will be rightly concerned. Please at least listen to them.

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Friends with kids: As a woman without kids (or plans to have kids) at the age when all my friends are having kids, I have a tip or two on how to stay connected. Part of being a friend is to "do life together" at whatever phase you are. That means I go to lunch with my friend and expect her kids to be there. I sing silly songs in the mini-van and hold the baby while she goes to the bathroom (blissfully alone!) I pick up the kitchen while she nurses the baby and we talk. I tie little shoes while she changes diapers and we talk. I make a peanut butter sandwich while she kisses a boo-boo and ... we talk.

I guess the tip is, just meet your friends where they are. Expect phone calls to be distracted and interrupted with crying and just roll with it. Use email and instant messaging to grab a chat or two when you can. Take the 10 minute talk and be happy!

Carolyn Hax: Will you be my friend? Please?

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Alexandria, Va.: Hey Seattle...

Tell your husband to back the eff off.

If he's so helpful -- have him take the kids to all their lessons and give you more than the one little hour a day you have to relax from work to meet his ridiculous expectations. Then tell him to go get pregnant and push out two kids and return to a perfect body. The only people who can do that are actresses and models who have the money and to work out a lot more than normal people.

If he can't provide that to you -- see my first sentence.

Carolyn Hax: clap!clap!clap!clap!clap!clap! [whistle] WHOO WHOO WHOO

And, not all actresses and models return to a "perfect" body. Some of it's in the genes, like stretch marks.

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"Problem Area": If you really want to stay with this jerk, tell him to pony up the cash for liposuction. I'm really curious as to what his body looks like. Why don't you start harping on him? Tell him you think he's too hairy and demand that he start waxing his back.

Carolyn Hax: No. Plucking.

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Really Really Mad But not sure how to proceed: Carolyn,

I am allergic to soy products. They cause a nasty case of porcelain god worship. My boyfriend took me over to a friend's house for dinner. The friend's girlfriend was cooking, she is a vegan. She was told ahead of time that I can not eat soy and I would be glad to bring my own or if she could just point out what I can not eat that would be fine. She said no worries and made me an Indian dish with peas and rice and such, it tasted great and I enjoyed it. Half way through the meal however I was forced to run to the ladies and puke my guts out for over an hour then go home and dry heave and scratch for the rest of the weekend. She admitted she did it on purpose because she did not believe that people can have issues with soy as it is "God's true miracle plant" (seriously she said that!) and she said that it must have been something else in the food and I am just prejudice against her, (not sure why she thinks that though I really try to be nice).

Anyway, if it had been an accident I would not care at all but because it was on purpose I am really pissed. And I don't want to cause a rift in the dynamic of the world, but I do not want to hang out with someone who would do that. Am I being a jerk here, should I let it go, and apologize for the confusion for her thinking I hate her (which is not really confusion I kind of do NOW) Anyway what say you, and Liz, I know she is a vegan and I know people mess with vegans all the time so maybe I am just taking one for the meat eating team. I just don't know...

Thanks

Carolyn Hax: This is your boyfriend's friend's girlfriend. You're under no obligation to hang out with this moron again. The planet will understand.

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Boston, Mass.: A friend just said to me in an e-mail, "Be honest. Do you think guys would be more attractive to me if I lost weight?"

One honest answer would be "yes." Another honest answer would be, "I think you're a great person, and I wouldn't want to see you with the type of guy who would only realize what a great person you are after you lost weight." Ordinarily I'd go behind door No. 2, but this friend always wants direct answers to direct questions.

Carolyn Hax: I'm not sure I like answer no. 2. Not everyone who would look past her overweight but look at her thin is that "type of guy." Sometimes, people become overweight because they aren't taking good care of themselves, and sometimes, taking good care of themselves helps people's confidence and mood, which affects personality--not just the waistline.

So another "honest answer" would be that is sounds like -she- would like herself better if she picked up some healthier habits, and if any male attention came of it, that would just be a bonus.

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Soy allergy: carolyn, I can't believe you let the vegan girlfriend off so easy. She is beyond moronic. She is cruel and dangerous. For all she knew, the poster could have had a life threatening allergy to soy (some people suffer life threatenting anaphylaxis from soy). That girl is truly horrible and dserves to be told so.

Carolyn Hax: Actually, her boyfriend deserves to be told so. You can try her, too, but I have zero hope of its getting through all the bats, yarn and leaflets to her organic pea of a brain.

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It was me, Seattle Wa, Problem Area!: Appreciate your answer! I feel pain thinking of this. He knows this also. We talk it all out and solve other problems well. We have been married 13 years! He just thinks I am not serious about my problem area and wants results. The family always thinks he is a great dad when they see all his efforts, which I do also.

OK, so what am I supposed to do, get divorced? Since I am not supposed to turn-him-on?I feel really stuck.

Carolyn Hax: I think you need to resist his way of thinking, instead of legitimizing it by hopping to it, as you're doing now. "It is not a 'problem area,' it is me." I see from another poster that you also ran your question by the marriage counselor who was online earlier this week ... Dr. Robert Scuka, it says ... and he said, "Ask him if he genuinely loves you as you are." That's another good approach. I am whole, I am human, this is me. I am not here to be loved piecemeal, nor is my love for you that way.

Stick up for your own worth. If it becomes a point of friction in your marriage, then it might be time for counseling.

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Criminal Lawyer: When Flake Girl deliberately served soy products to someone she knew was allergic to them, she left herself open to charges of criminal assault. If your correspondent had died from ingesting soy, she could concievably be tried for homicide, In short,she's a poisoner. Run, run, run!

Carolyn Hax: So much more satisfying than apologizing to her for hating her. Thanks.

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Tell the Vegan to visit Skinny Obsessing Husband in Seattle: Those two can torture each other.

Carolyn Hax: On that note ... bye bye. Thanks for stopping in, and type to you next week.

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