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Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 23, 2007; 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 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.

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Carolyn Hax: Hi everybody. For something I'm working on, I'm looking for pairs of questions from people on two sides of an issue, instead of the usual individual questions. BF/GF, BF/BF, mother/son, father/daughter, podmate/podmate, friend/friend, sib/sib, all welcome (though if you're bride/bridesmaid, we'll all be grateful beyond expression). Thanks. Oh, and please identify in your subject line the e-mail address of the corresponding ... correspondent, so I know who goes with whom. Thanks!

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Virginia: Want to hear something odd? I've had this really strange crush on one of my coworkers and I couldn't figure out why. He's 10 years older than me, scruffy and awkward. But last night I wrote a country song about him and the crush seems to be dissipating. Weird! Anyway, just wanted to share.

Carolyn Hax: Country song = ice bath. Check.

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Wedding Question from the Other Side: The past three months have brought three wedding announcements, two baby announcements and, to top it all off, one of my remaining single friends is moving! (Actually, the real kicker is that I've never had a boyfriend and I haven't had a date in four years and I'm 27!)

I'm not dealing with everything the way I should. I'm scared and probably jealous. I've been avoiding people because I'm afraid that until I get a grip, I may be prone to saying something hurtful.

These six women used to be the ones I would talk to when I was feeling this way. Do I just have to muster a fake smile and go home and cry myself to sleep until I can get over it?

Carolyn Hax: No! Please. Admitting you're "scared and probably jealous" is the way you "should" deal with it, if that's the way you feel. The mistake would be to deny your feelings and then, because you're trying so hard to deny your feelings, snap when something finally sets you off. These six women are the ones you still need to talk to when you;re feeling this way. As long as you make it clear that you're capable of being happy for them while also having these complicated feelings, and don't go Eeyore on them, these good friends will probably appreciate that you're willing to be honest and let them be good friends to you.

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Just wondering: You didn't list as a possible combination "wife/husband." I realize that you weren't intending to include every possible option of opposing sides (drunken frat house/sleepless neighbor, etc.), but it seems it some ways the most obvious, so it's an interesting omission.

Carolyn Hax: Nah, I was just cruising along and noticed it was 12:04. It's a boring omission.

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Washington, D.C.: Have you read Laura Sessions Stepp's book "Unhooked"? If so, what's your opinion. Just curious more than anything. I find a little bit of myself in the girls in the book and frankly, it scares me.

Carolyn Hax: I have't read it yet, but I respect and follow Laura's work in the paper so I have an idea what her thesis is, and I do plan to read it.

If it helps, I can't think of any sensation more productive than being frightened/horrified to recognize oneself in something. First step toward self-improvement/acceptance.

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FC: Maybe I'm slow, but could you elaborate on what you're looking for in the first post?

Carolyn Hax: It's not your fault if I'm not clear. Normally, a person has a problem and writes to me. I still welcome those letters. ("Welcome," that's funny. NEED.)

Now, though, I'm inviting people who have a problem to get the other person involved in the problem/dispute -also- to write into me. So I get a letter from the wife, -and- a letter from the husband, each describing his or her side of the story. See? Si?

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Alexandria, Va.: So my fiance's brother is furious at us because we are getting married a month ahead of him. The brother proposed to his fiancee before my fiance proposed to me. My fiance tried to talk to his brother about it, but couldn't calm him down and now his brother refuses to ever talk to him again. We're still going through with it, and are just hoping the brother and his fiance will get over it in time. Any chance of that happening?

Carolyn Hax: I hope so. But if he carries this grudge to his grave, then that tells you that even if you changed your wedding date to please him, then he'd probably just find some other grudge to carry to his grave. It's not about the offense, it's about his need to find offense. I'm sorry.

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Wedding Q from the other side: You talk to your baby friends about weddings. You talk to your wedding friends about moving. You talk to your moving friend about babies.

When you have one problem, you have a problem. When you have many problems, they tend to solve each other!

Carolyn Hax: There you go. Thanks!

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Two-sides questions: Is that for the chat today, or for the column? Or for the chat another day? I'm confused.

Carolyn Hax: It's for something I'm working on, so start sending them today and keep sending them happily ever after.

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Alexandria, Va.: Carolyn,

Do you answer the questions on this chat by typing with one hand, and having the other hand on your chin, like in the photo at the top of the chat page? Because that is how I imagine you do it and I think doing the chat like that would illict the best possible responses from you. That is how I am typing this submission and I must it is fantastic.

Carolyn Hax: You're right, I am exactly as depicted in the photograph, which is great, because in the photograph I am 31.

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Washington, D.C.: My best friend cannot handle that I'm also good friends with someone who comes from a wealthy background, specifically old money. I could care less about the friend's background. She's cool, we get along well, etc, but my best friend makes snarky judgemental comments, none of which are true. I've discussed this and argued ad nauseum and its started to affect our friendship. I think he's being irrational and trying to dictate who my friends should be. Thoughts?

Carolyn Hax:"You're being a snob." Then stop talking about it. Really, if you;ve depicted this conflict accurately, it's not one that deserves such a lengthy hearing.

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I'm slow too...: And how do we convey that we are the "other side" question ? ...that the two separate letters you get are linked? (I would think lots of folks will dream up the same descriptive subject line?)

Carolyn Hax: I said it in the original post--put the other person's email address in your subject line. An email address is unique, so I'll know when I get an email from that address that it's paired with your email. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years, and together even longer than that. We have a good relationship, although lately (about the last six months) I've been questioning things -- like whether I am still in love with him and why I feel bored, maybe unfulfilled, or maybe just like something isn't quite right. I know he doesn't have a clue about this and feels as he always has. So am I just having a mid-life crisis or is there something wrong here -- or do I just need to smack myself and get over it?

Carolyn Hax: You've been with each other over 20 years--you;re going to have your blah moments. And, don't assume he's out clicking his heels like you fell in love yesterday. Take this need to make your life more interesting, and apply it toward making your marriage more interesting, making yourselves more interesting, making your conversations more interesting. Go, learn, do. And look at it this way--if you were in the same job 20 years and realized you were bored, would you say, "Ugh, I guess I'm with the wrong company"? One that has made you happy for 20 years? Or would you go to your supervisor and say, "I have an idea for a new project/career path"?

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San Francisco: When is a deal-breaker a deal-breaker? I am in a two-year relationship with someone I absolutely love. We are both 28. We have started talking about moving in together and in those talks it has come up that I am more excited about the possibility of having kids than he is. He isn't 100 percent against but the odds are that he doesn't want kids. I'm not looking to have them in the next couple years, so I'm thinking we should go ahead and move in together, see how that goes and then re-address how we are feeling about kids in a year or so. I know I shouldn't expect him to change, but he's also saying that he's not sure, but probably not. I'm just not sure I can end things over a "probably" right now. What do you think?

Carolyn Hax: Keep your own apartments and then see where your relationship/opinions/feelings go. If you're having a hard time ending things now, try doing it after you commingle your stuff.

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Monacco: My girlfriend and I have been together for six years. A lot of my friends have become engaged or married. In turn, I can feel my girlfriend pressuring me to do the same, but I don't feel I am ready yet. I think we should move at our own pace, not follow someone else's.

Carolyn Hax: Sure, just as long as she knows what your pace is and why. Thinking is excellent, laudable, crucial, but it is not license for stringing. Six years? Unless you're 23, I'm advising your girlfriend to get the hell out of Monacco, wherever that is.

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Charlotte, N.C.: When you respond with "these good friends will probably appreciate that you're willing to be honest and let them be good friends to you," do you ever have in the back of your mind "unless they're self-centered and insensitive, in which case you've got crappy friends"? Because while your advice makes a world of reasonable sense, it also assumes reasonable people on the other end of the line. Do you find yourself wanting to add caveats and, if so, how do you stop yourself from assuming the worst?

Carolyn Hax: I not only find myself wanting to add caveats, I do add caveats, so often that I deliberately leave them off sometimes becuase they start to lose impact from overuse. If not explicitly stated, the "... and if they don't, they aren't really your friends," is always implied by my specifying "these GOOD friends."

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Snarky mom question: My baby -- 9 months old -- just started daycare. He hasn't started crawling yet. He's working on it though. All of the other kids his age and some younger can crawl. I've been pointedly asked by his teacher as well as many other moms "why isn't your baby crawling yet?" I feel terrible when they ask this, as if they are implying something is wrong with my baby. He just hasn't figured it out yet. I generally respond with "oh, he's working on it" but I want to say "why hasn't your kid gotten cute yet." Aside from hiding in the bathroom until they all leave or making snarky comments, what can I say to these people?

Carolyn Hax:"Every baby has his own pace." Not just because it's true for your baby, but because IT'S TRUE. The teacher should absolutely know better (which is definitely appropriate for you to point this out during a private conversation), but the other parents should know better, too.

Small children need absolute respect as a No Mine's-Bigger-Than-Yours Zone. Competitive and/or comparative childrearing is ugly, hurtful, and, best of all, downright ignorant. Some kids never crawl. Some kids don't talk till they're 2. Some of these kids have delays or health issuies, but some don't.

And if there is a developmental delay involved, then that's a matter for the parent, caregivers and pediatrician to identify and discuss in the appropriate setting.

Don't let these idiots drive you to the bathroom, please.

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NYC: Ok, Carolyn,

You say, "The mistake would be to deny your feelings and then, because you're trying so hard to deny your feelings, snap when something finally sets you off." What if it's too late and the "snap" already happened. What does a peson do then, after already having had a major meltdown?

Carolyn Hax: You go back and apologize for letting your feelings get the better of you, and then you take a deep breath, and try to explain yourself better this time.

Good friends will forgive (insert caveat here).

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Confusionville is Nowhere Near Monacco: Just FYI. There is no pressure whatsoever to get married. He's

24, I'm 22.

Carolyn Hax: Excellent news, thanks. And, being 40, I've forgotten who all of you are. But I'm glad you're okay with whatever you're okay with.

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At My Wits End (From Last Week's Collumn): Hey Carolyn,

It's me! The writer of last week's question about the boyfriend -- Jeremy -- whose two best friends are dating women that are rude to me. I meant to write "are" instead of "were" (i.e. the two women ARE best friends with Jeremy's ex-girlfriend) and that is the main reason I think they don't like me (that is what I meant when I said I would chalk it up to "pettiness"). I wish I hadn't put that second paragraph in about their possible jealousy (although considering one of the women was pre-Med in college and failed out of her first year of Med school, it may not be totally off the mark). Regardless, I was so sick of their attitude problems that I may have used the jealousy thing more to comfort myself. PLUS, Jeremy never bothered to mention that they had been best friends with his ex-girlfriend until two weeks AFTER I had met them and was still pestering him about why these two women had sat across the table whispering about me throughout dinner. I was truly baffled because I felt that I had been SO sweet to them when I first met them and they had been so rude to me (Yes, a part of me was hurt that Jeremy hadn't "warned" me beforehand or even mentioned it). Anyway, I still am going to take your advice and have the opportunity to use it this weekend when one of the women is coming to town to see the new house Jeremy just bought. It really was very good advice and I feel awful about snapping at Jeremy.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks so much for writing in. Yes, Jeremy should definitely have told you, after these women were nasty to you, that they were ex-GF-partisan. (A k a, complete idiots--unless Jeremy mistreated the ex-GF or unless you were the other woman while J was still with their friend, there's no excuse for being cold--and even then, they should save most of their coldness for Jeremy, not you.)

And even though you regret putting in the jealously part, I think it was useful. That's what you were thinking, right? So addressing that thinking is really important. It helps you see what they are probably seeing.

Finally, just thank you. I hope it works out this weekend. and if it doesn't, it really is okay to decline to socialize with people who are hostile to you, and just make other plans.

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Getting married a month ahead: Let me get this straight --

Fiance's brother proposes, sets a wedding date.

Fiance proposes, sets a wedding date -one month- before the brother's wedding date.

What kind of world do they live in where it's appropriate etiquette to schedule your wedding one month before your brother's pre-existing wedding date?! It's selfish, thoughtless, and in extremely poor taste.

Not to mention, it smacks of "spoiled younger sibling."

Carolyn Hax: Now now. A million things factor into a wedding date--start dates for jobs, schools, projects; available dates for venues; travel dates for important guests/witnesses; health of important guests/witnessess; the list is long.

Even if the reason is nothing better than, "I'm trying to grab your attention for myself," the better response is, "Good for you" (because everyone knows you're an attention-sucking doink). It is not to launch a campaign of silence. Someone has to be the adult.

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Antidepressants, the progress report: Carolyn, you helped get me to the doc, and I'm so grateful. New problem, though: after three months of taking an antidepressant with fantastic results (expecting to stay on them for a year or two), I've been off them for the past week because I had to go out of the country unexpectedly and the GP who prescribed them wouldn't give me a new prescription without an appointment. Now I'm teary and anxious and sleepless and miserable, and even more miserable to be around. The depression feels worse than before because of the contrast with my amazing first few weeks of "normal" in decades. Now I don't want to go back to that doctor, which I realize is probably the depression talking, but I feel like he let me down. Thoughts? Suggestions? A kick in the butt?

Carolyn Hax: I think you need to do whatever is necessary to get back on track immediately, even if it means seeing the GP who left you in this lurch (a possibly dangerous one at that). And explain what happened; I think he should know about your meltdown.

Then, please do feel free to put your stabilized self to the task of finding another doctor--if possible, by describing your unexpected-travel situation and asking what that doc might have done in that case. Since I am, obviously, not a doctor, I think it's important to get specific doctors' answers before you make your choice. I also think you need to be really careful about watching your medication supply, just to head off potential problems.

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Seattle: But what if I'm the good girlfriend who is falling in love and I don't want to stop being the good friend I was to my girls -- but they perceive that our friendship has changed because I have a "new" best friend now -- ie: the man I want to marry?

Carolyn Hax: Of course it has changed. People--friends--really do need to recognize that and stop seeing it as personal or grounds for punishment.

Just as friends who are falling in love need to keep treating their friends as friends, and not as no-longer-convenient seat-warmers for the finally arrived Man.

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getting married a month ahead: Who gives a damn who gets married first? I can't believe that grownups are discussing this?

Carolyn Hax: They're just tired of talking behind the backs of their friends' ex-boyfriends' new girlfriends.

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From Married 20 years and bored: Good God, your job analogy was more dead-on than you know -- I've also worked at the same company for over 20 years, and lived in the same house for 14. No wonder I'm bored. My life is too stable. So, how do I mix it up without my family thinking that the "rock" has lost her mind?

Carolyn Hax: I don't think it takes much, especially with so little variation. Think, for example, how different everything gets when you have a baby or get a dog. Suddenly you're out walking through your neighborhood 2-3 times a day when you've always just driven through it; you;re meeting other people with babies/dogs; you;re shopping in different aisles of the store or completely different stores; you're attracting conversations with strangers who would never have spoken to you before; your weekends acquire entirely different centers of gravity.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting a baby or dog is a small way to mix things up--just demonstrating the ripple effect of a life shift with which you;re probably familiar. If you make a smaller shift--say, you take up cycling--you get a similar ripple, just on a smaller scale, if only because cycling would be optional where feeding the dog wouldn't be.

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Sore Loser of Board Games: My boyfriend can never admit he lost at a board game. He always wants to play Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, etc., but usually loses, and when I win he is like, "Oh, it's too bad you lost. Don't feel too bad!" and then for days he keeps bringing it up, like, "Want a rematch? Maybe you'll actually win this time! You didn't lose by THAT much last time!"

He is allegedly joking but I don't find it funny -- not like offensive, just kind of stupid and annoying. I mean, give it a rest! Maybe it was sort of funny the first 100,000 times, but not the 50,000,000th.

Now I don't want to play with him anymore, which makes him go, like, "Oh, I guess you're afraid you'll lose again!"

What can I do? He won't listen when I say how annoying this is and how it makes me not want to play with him.

Carolyn Hax: Show of hands if you think his problem is neatly contained and comes out only when he plays board games.

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New York: In regard to "they're not good friends," how does one go about making new friends if they discover their old acquaintances are not the people they had thought?

Carolyn Hax: Slowly, patiently, a little sadly, but what can you do. Find people whose interests align with yours--you might have to get out and circulate a bit--then start conversations about those interests and see if they go anywhere. I can't emphasize the "slowly, patiently" part enough. It takes time to get to know people well enough to trust them, and trust them well enough to get to know them.

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Re: Two brothers, two weddings: Aside from any other reasons (petty or not) the brother has to be irked, I wonder if part of it is that there may be family members (or other mutual friends and guests) that have to travel a long way. Now they'd have to do it twice in one month, possibly forcing them to have to choose which wedding they'll attend.

Carolyn Hax: Certainly that factors into it, and certainly the month-before couple should be saying to the family that if it's either-or, they'll understand if people choose the later one since that date was chosen first.

But still. Who gives a [] who is where, as long as everyone gets to spend time with everyone else? Competition is almost as appalling here as it is among parents of small kids.

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Boston: So, story of my life.. I like a guy and he doesn't like me back but wants to be friends. Which, okay, cool whatever. I've managed to cope just fine with this in the past and have walked out of it with some of the dearest friends ever (and ended up NOT being interested after a bit).

However, there is a sting associated with it somehow. When they are incredulous that you are single, or say "it'll happen" or tell me how great I am I feel like I have to take it with a grain of salt (ie: How great could I be to you if you didn't like me?)

I realize attraction can't be forced, but apparently I manage to use some of this to beat myself up. The guy I recently told I had a crush asked me for a good place to take his most recent date (off the Internet!!). I told him but my first instinct was to get pissed off. He's a nice guy, but .. some sensitivity please? On the other hand I don't want to think I am crying into my cornflakes over this.

How can I get past this, or should I? My friends tell me I have enough friends and to not collect former crushes as friends. However, I see value in someone and I can't just decide that it's all or nothing. My ego however, has a limit.

What do I do next time?

Carolyn Hax: There is a lot of question here but I'm leaning toward a lean answer: You don't need this guy as a friend. You don't need to keep everyone who offers you something of value, and the time to declare a non-keeper is when someone makes you feel bad about yourself. You can decide on the next unrequited-crush-guy when it happens, if it happens.

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sore losers, etc: The boyfriend-who-never-admits-losing question was the perfect example of something I have difficulty with. How do you address a possibly-enormous problem when the clearest examples of it seem so trivial? I've had a similar problem or two and I often get dismissed as getting upset over trivial things.

Carolyn Hax: Then you're someone perceived as getting upset over trivial things. That's a lot easier to live with than the board-games guy, for example, right? YOU are the one who decides if someone strains you past the point of comfort. if the reason is trivial, so be it--it's still a reason, and it's still your comfort, and it's still your business alone what does or doesn't make you comfortable.

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To Bored with Her Life: If you do take Carolyn's advice and make a minor life change, it might be a good idea to include your husband in it. Doing something new and different that you enjoy with him might in turn bring some fun into your marriage, killing two boredom birds with one stone. And don't worry too much about your family. When my mother -- who has always been the "rock" of our family -- started taking up new hobbies, I was really glad to see her trying new things, not thinking she'd lost her mind!

Carolyn Hax: Just seconding the spouse suggestion, thanks. I took the trouble to explain that to the first bored person, but it's equally important here, and so I should have taken the trouble again.

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Dueling Weddings: I'm typing this one handed with a cillicky baby on my other arm so please excuse the type o's.

Unless you have some drnken crazy episode at your wedding, no one will remember which wedding was which. Or which one came first.

Carolyn Hax: Or if you do have a drunken crazy episode but people later go on to have colicky babies, then they still won't remember which wedding was which. Thanks.

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Go out and enjoy!: Carolyn, it's beautiful outside! I am sitting in a library studying like a good grad student, but please, go home and get out and enjoy it a little for me!

Carolyn Hax: Good idea, or producer dropping hints?

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Fairfax, Va.: My husband was somewhat chilly on the thought of a child. But once we had our daughter, he began wondering what the heck he had been thinking. Me thinks that often, not always, men (women too) are just afraid of idea.

Carolyn Hax: We had this conversation ... I think last week? Might be worth a look at the transcript. thanks.

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Advice for this weekend: Long story short, found out a friend has been WAY less than forthcoming about her life (i.e. drugs, cheating, lying, general yuckiness). I don't care about the issues (we all make mistakes), but I'm supposed to go and hang out with friend and her family this weekend (who knows NOTHING about what's going on). I feel like I'm enabling her by showing up and pretending everything is great with her, when all I want to do is tell her mom how scared I am for her daughter. I've attempted to talk to friend, but she replies with only half-truths/avoidance/blow-offs...all signs she's not ready to come clean/change. How do I deal with this event without (1) resenting my friend and/or (2) blurting something out/making comments under my breath that allude to what's going on? Should I just skip out?

Carolyn Hax: Tell your friend that, knowing what you know, you'd feel like you were lying to her family? This is a tough one--you don't want to "punish" her for her behavior, since someone clearly inclined to hide her behavior will be particularly sensitive to being judged, and could make her even less forthcoming with you than she already is.

At the same time, your knowledge is a big responsibility and it would almost feel irresponsible to then pretend everything was okay.

My remaining quesiton is, in how much trouble/danger is she? If she's in real trouble, you call the mom, weekend visit or no.

Otherwise, I'm leaning toward advising that you go, but not pretend (and also not disclose) anything. If she's scaring you, and the opportunity presents itself for you to indicate to Mom that not everything is sunny, fine, though I imagine she's not as clueless as you think.

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RE: he doesn't want kids: Please, Please, Please do not try to convince yourself or him that he wants kids. I am the product of such a ruse, and clearly my father did not change his mind once the "bundle of joy" (i.e. me) arrived. I strained my parents relationship and I do not have one with my father.

Carolyn Hax: I'm sorry.

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um...is she serious!?!?: He can't admit he lost a board game? And this is her huge problem? I hope he doesn't cheat when he's the banker in Monopoly, or they are history (because EVERYONE cheats when they're the banker, it's like a unwritten rule!) He actually sounds pretty funny.

Carolyn Hax: See below. I agree with below. And I think you and board dude should meet.

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Sore Loser Redux: I don't often disagree with you, but I do here. If the writer's boyfriend knows it bugs her, but continues to do it, isn't it a bit more than trivial? Especially given that it would be no skin off his nose to knock off the childish pretending he won when he didn't routine? Childish behavior combined with an obsessive continuing of said behavior when he knows it bugs his girlfriend seems, to me, to be a red flag.

Carolyn Hax: I do agree with you, so I'm not sure what I said that you disagree with. But if anyone thinks I said the questioner should blow off behavior s/he finds obnoxious, I did not say that, and I don't believe that. Finding someone's behavior obnoxious is serious, no matter how minor the trigger. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: My life has really hit the skids. Two 1/2 years ago I had a fabulous life in NYC, with travel, job bonuses, friends, restaurants, etc., working for a fab and famous company. I did have about $30K in credit card debt but hey, that was the norm among my group of girls. We paid what we could pay each month and that was that. However, 2-1/2 years ago, my particular division at this company closed. I got a job at a small firm and it was the most horrible experience of my life. Mean, hateful boss, evil working atmosphere, just all around tension, stress and a mean as spit boss. I basically had a nervous breakdown and left N.Y. altogether after being there and loving life for nine years. I have not been able to get back on track since. I've moved THREE times trying to find a job (I'm now in D.C.) like I had at the famous place. I can't find it. I have no boyfriend, no husband, no children (I'm in my 40s now so that's not gonna happen which makes me sob) and no job. I just keep temping and temping and can barely pay my bills. I don't know where it's all going to end and I'm really frightened. I know I need help but how can I see a doc with no health insurance? I cannot stop dwelling on how my life used to be. I can't stop thinking "what in God's name just happened?!" I feel cursed by the universe and cannot get back on track. What am I to do???

Carolyn Hax: You can get counseling when you don't have health insurance. Call the Women's Center, 703-281-2657 or 202-293-4580 (or www.womenscenter.org); it has sliding-scale fees to go with its great reputation. Get yourself someone to lean on and talk to, get your strength and balance back, and then take on the job and money issues as you're able to. Just start the process and trust that the small steps will get you there.

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because EVERYONE cheats when they're the banker, it's like a unwritten rule: No, they don't. Everyone who cheats --at games and in life--says everyone does it as justification.

But we don't. And we think people who can't even take losing a GAME in stride have some serious control and anger issues.

Carolyn Hax: Thank you. And we don't all snoop through other people's stuff, either.

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for the person who ran out of meds...: Maybe rather than a GP, you should next have a psychiatrist write the prescription. Mine would never have let me run out of meds because he knows that is what happens when you go "cold turkey."

Carolyn Hax: Good point, thanks.

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Carolyn Hax: Although a GP should know too.

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Anonymous: Carolyn, you actually didn't answer the annoying board game boyfriend question very well. I mean, your answer was too cute -

I couldn't tell either whether you were really saying that you thought that the problem was well-contained, or whether you were being sarcastic about how it was a symptom of a more significant problem.

Frankly, I wouldn't want him bagging my groceries, let alone in my life

Carolyn Hax: Thanks, and sorry about that.

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D.C. Native: The wife of my husband's very good friend, a wonderful person, has just gone through the major trauma of extensive cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Prognosis is reported to be good, thankfully. She will not be able to have children as a result of her therapy. As far as I can tell, the whole thing is still (of course) very raw for both, especially her. Because of distance, we haven't seen them in a couple of years.

So this couple is planning a trip, which would involve seeing us in about 2-3 weeks, which would be 100-percent great, except...I'm 17-weeks pregnant. Right now, I just look like I've gained a very few pounds -- don't know how long that will last. With what's been going on, we haven't yet told them about the pregnancy -- if we see them, I think it would be deceptive to not say anything, but I'm still toying with the idea of not mentioning it. Any thoughts on if to tell, and more importantly, how to tell? Husband is on the fence too. I would appreciate your advice. If you put this in your chat, the nuts' feedback would be good too! Thank you.

Carolyn Hax: Your husband should tell his very good friend that you are expecting, before they see you, so you don't make anyone compose his or her face on the spot. He can just say you're only now telling people because you were waiting till you were four months along. And don't act as if it's supposed to be upsetting news; sometimes that can sound patronizing--ie, as if she's too delicate to handle anyone else's happiness--and therefore as insensitive as, well, being insensitive. It's a fine line but, really, it;'s better to celebrate her good prognosis and your pregnancy and then talk abotu something else.

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for D.C. on the skids: Your fabulous life was not "forever." And: This slump you are in is not forever either. Tell yourself this over and over and over. And while you're telling yourself this, follow Carolyn's advice about the counseling, and each day get dressed and ready for life as if anything could happen. (Good for you for temping-- it's a tough gig, but it can lead to good things if you allow your face and attitude to suggest it can.)

Carolyn Hax: Yes yes yes both ups and downs do eventually end. Thank you.

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Mother of druggie daughter: Concerning the visit the worried woman is making to her friend's home...Being the mother of a daughter who abused drugs and alcohol to the point that it was life threatening, I have to agree with your comment that the parents likely aren't as clueless as the friend thinks. Likely this woman's assumption is that if the parents knew, surely they would have stopped the daughter's behavior by now. But sometimes, if not always, it's one of those things that the daughter has to fix by herself. Maybe the friend should look into Al-Anon.

Carolyn Hax: Good suggestion, thanks.

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To Formerly Fab and Famous: There are a lot more people who have been through what you're going through than you might think. And lots of them have come through it even better than they were before.

When I had my life crisis about 8 years ago, I languished for months, but then started nibbling the various problems around the edges. A couple of major life changes later, I'm actually back in the same city I started in with more blessings than I could have imagined. Get a little counseling, and keep fighting the good fight.

Something good will happen for you too.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks. I'm posting this even though ...

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Washington, D.C.: Gosh, just reading my letter in print makes me want to cry and I'm at (what else?) a temp job so it's very awkward. Thank you for the numbers. I will give them a call to see if they can help me. I'm at the end of my rope.

Carolyn Hax:... I don't want to make you cry. Check back in sometime? Please?

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Is this too late for online??!!: I'm back to work after 11 months maternity leave. I'm sick today and stayed home with my similarly sick baby. Asked husband to stay home with me to help with the baby. His response "someone has to work full time to keep this household going. Take him to daycare if you can't deal with him." Ack! This is COMPLETELY out of character for him. First of all, most of my leave was paid leave. Secondly, I'm back to work, albeit part time... Thirdly, I make just as much money part time as he does full time but would NEVER throw that in his face. I'm floored.

Carolyn Hax: Take a deep breath (and then another and then another but careful don't black out) and then point out, softly, how hurt you were by his comment, and ask if there was anything behind it he'd like to talk about? Because uncharacteristic things can mean he was trying to be funny and it went splat, or it can mean he surprised even himself and regrets it, or it can mean he's got stuff he needs to say--all of which are important for both of you to discuss and hear out loud.

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Hi, it's the board game girlfriend: Thanks for everyone's input. The thing is, I DID feel like this is compartmentalized -- he is normally supportive of me and my successes to the point where he's like my cheerleader. But I've only known him six months or so and so I guess I wonder if this is a sign of bigger problems ahead, hiding underneath the surface, like he's going to feel threatened by any success of mine that "trumps" his.

I'm going to talk about this with him again, although I do wonder about how to approach it since in my head it always comes out sounding like a satirical version of "Intervention" on A&E. ("We need to talk about how you can't admit you lost at Monopoly....")

Carolyn Hax: Okay that is really funny.

But maybe you can take the funny out of it by saying, "I almost dismissed this because it sounds so freaky that I'm staging an intervention over Monopoly, but I am genuinely perplexed that you keep doing something that you know annoys me."

Well then. Good luck!

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HA!:" I am sitting in a library studying like a good grad student"

No you're not. You're reading this. This isn't studying.

Carolyn Hax: It is if your thesis is on advice columns.

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Carolyn Hax: Okay, I've achieved headache. That's it, buh bye, and thank you. Oh, scheduling note--no discussion next Friday, but I will make it up to you Monday 4.2 at noon, when I should be on the Metro on my way to opening day at RFK but won't be. Have a great week.5, and don't forget to start sending in the two-person questions, if only to prove you figured out what I was talking about. Thanks.

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The Women's Center website address: Carolyn...the Women's Center's website is at www.thewomenscenter.org

During the chat on the 23rd you put the website as www.womenscenter.org, which appears to be some right-wing anti-choice group in Miami.

Carolyn Hax: eek, thank you for the catch.

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