Please note: Hax's chat archive has moved to a new page here.

Carolyn Hax Live: Advice Columnist Tackles Your Problems

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Carolyn Hax
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 10, 2009; 12:00 PM

Carolyn was online Friday, July 10 taking your questions and comments about her current advice column and any other questions you might have about the strange train we call life. Her answers may appear online or in an upcoming column.

Past Carolyn Hax Live Discussions

____________________

Ravenous Dog Here: What happened to Canoe girl? Did she go on the date?

Carolyn Hax: Putting it out there.

Hey everybody.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: About a year ago the best relationship I ever had ended. The reason being a long military deployment to be immediately followed by a cross continental relocation. While I miss this man and certainly hoped it didn't have to end, I know this to have been the for the best.

That said, I've spent the past year going through the "moving on" process. I'm finally dating again. As I go on dates and spend time with these men, I can't help but feel I am being unfair or wasting their time. I find myself "numb" when with them.

Each of them have been good eggs: smart, funny, accomplished, good-looking blahblahblah... Yet I find my chemistry switch is just not flicking. There's no spark.

Could it be too soon, or is this just another "part of the process"? Am I wasting the time of these guys?

Carolyn Hax: If you're interested in the dates when you or they suggest them, then you're just doing what you think you want, and what you think is right. That's not "wasting time," that's just living.

If your misgivings about these past dates make you lose interest in future dates, then you should take that into account and say no, at least until you're invited out by someone who awakens your interest.

_______________________

New York: Hi Carolyn, I just found out that my husband looks at porn. Does this automatically mean our marriage is in trouble? He's a wonderful husband and dad--before I learned this I would have told you that everything was perfectly fine. The one issue I would say we're having is that physical contact has been minimal since our baby was born several months ago because we're both so busy, tired, etc.

Carolyn Hax: I don't think it automatically means your marriage is in trouble, but I do think it's a hint to start making more time for physical contact.

How to make more time? That depends on the reasons you're so busy (tired, I can piece together on my own), but if, say, laundry, cooking and housework are among the reasons, then you might want to order in occasionally and let the laundry pile up. Intimacy has to be a priority.

_______________________

Wedding RSVP Etiquette: I'm getting married next month and the reception hall holds 150 people max (though 120 to 130 would be more comfortable). As such, we limited our guestlist to 150 people and did not include "and guest" to any invitees that we know are single (as in, not dating any specific person). The RSVP cards have started to come back and a few of these unattached people have RSVP'd for two (or, in one case, three): One person is bringing her cousin, another is bringing a friend from his office... all people we didn't invite and all people we've never met. Am I out of line thinking this is rude? Even outside of having to pay for a dinner for them (which, admittedly, doesn't help), we simply don't have the room for random guests.

I guess my question is: did we commit a major faux pas by not including "and guest" for our single guests? And, even if we did, how can we politely tell these invitees that we unfortunately do not have enough room for them to bring the person they met at the bar last night?

P.S.: it should be noted that the people who RSVP'd for two (and three) will know plenty of people at the wedding. These "dates" aren't their only hope for companionship that evening.

Carolyn Hax: The P.S. is irrelevant. Even if they'd be alone among strangers, they'd still have a choice: Go solo to celebrate your milestone with you, or stay home.

If you've spent any time in this forum, then you know what these people have done is rude. Astonishing, really. So while it won't exactly be a fun conversation, you have every right to call these people to explain without apology that the limits on your reception hall mean you can't accommodate their write-in guests. (Though you can say you're so terribly sorry if it helps with the phrasing.)

You can also say that if you change your mind and hold it in a barn, then they and their uninvited guests will fit right in. But that's perhaps best reserved for when you're taking vows of misanthropy and future alliances won't be necessary.

_______________________

Anonymous: Carolyn: From your many years of advising people, what do you think are the main things that make a marriage happy and lasting?

Carolyn Hax: 1. Saving marriage for when you're really mature, and not just when you think you are. It's really hard to contribute your full share if you're off getting high on your own crap.

2. Marrying someone with whom you can be yourself, good and bad, but who brings out more of the good.

a. Being free with praise, stingy with criticism and honest about things that are often uncomfortable to talk about.

b. Being with someone who does you the same favor.

3. Never taking your spouse for granted.

4. Laughing together.

5. Shared goals.

6. Shared workload.

7. Having the good luck to meet someone who doesn't make you pay for it if you fall short on 1-4.

Just off the top of my head. I'm sure I could go on all day.

In fact, No. 6 is really 3a. But you get the idea.

_______________________

Gaithersburg, Md.: Hi Carolyn,

I need to break up with my hairdresser and I don't know how. She didn't do anything wrong - her newly reduced work hours and my recently busier schedule just don't mesh. Do I have to tell her I'm breaking up with her? Can I just disappear and go to another salon?

Carolyn Hax: If you like her, then tell her you can't get in to see her on her new schedule. If it's costing her business, she probably wants to know. If there's no way for her to accommodate you, at least you'll feel like you have an amicable breakup. She might even be able to recommend a new place for you.

_______________________

Re: Wedding RSVP Etiquette: But isn't this bride assuming these people are single? They could very well be dating someone serious that she could not know about. I agree this is an egregious breach of etiquette. I would never dream of adding someone on but just stay home instead out of loyalty to my SO. Yes the cousin and the random coworker are out of line, but some of these guests could have serious SOs. I know I certainly don't advertise my new relationship, but rather a gradual process of introducing him to one and all.

Carolyn Hax: If that's the case, then you either talk to the bride or groom, if s/he is a close friend; brave it without your SO (loyalty? seriously? if the couple excluded the SO just out of ignorance of your relationship? yikes); or, yes, RSVP no and stay home.

_______________________

Re: Wedding RSVP: But not all 150 people that you invite are going to come. So you actually will have room. We invited 150 - and 70 could come.

Carolyn Hax: Just because they have room doesn't mean they want to shell out to feed the cousin. The, "We don't have room" is cover for, "No, you may not write in the candidate of your choice."

_______________________

Hi, Canoe Girl here.: Ha! I got such a kick out of the responses. The last time I felt so misunderstood I was an adolescent with purple hair and bad poetry.

I'm not the "Eeek! I broke a nail!" type, I just...don't like rowing. Tried it, it's not my thing. In terms of outdoors stuff, I prefer hiking and horseback riding. Differing tastes aren't moral failings.

Anyways, I did go on the date, we went for a picnic and a hike. And a few more dates after that...but, to no one's surprise, we just weren't compatible.

It was less about canoes, specifically, but more that he seemed too willing to dismiss my opinions and preferences because they didn't jibe with his notion of who I should be. I'd much rather be liked for who I am, high heels, pale skin, weak arms and all.

I'm sure he's great for somebody else out there, and, of course, I'd be happy to pass along his info if y'all are so inclined.

Carolyn Hax: Thanks for the update.

I think the uproar (too big a word ... maybe upgrumble) was about your attributing your dislike of canoeing to your sex, your size, your pallor, and some kind of code for what constitutes an "appropriate" first date, when all you had to do was say to the guy was, "Er, I've tried canoeing and it's not for me. How about a hike instead?" I.e., you didn't own it.

That's all. Not to send you back to the dye bottle or anything.

On the up side, I got to hear from a constituency I never knew I served here: pasty petite women with low centers of gravity who love to paddle canoes.

_______________________

Re: Follow-ups: Maybe at the end of each session (or the beginning of the next), we can decide who we would like to hear from to see how things went? I LOVE the follow ups!

Carolyn Hax: Ooh, then I've got one for you. Hang on--I have to touch it up a bit ...

_______________________

Carolyn Hax: And update on the update from ... hold on ... the May 19 chat.

"Hi Carolyn:

"Since this is probably the closest I'll every get to "rock star status"--unless I save a kid from a well or something--I'm gonna milk it for all it's worth.

"Just wanted to give you an update--best news first--my fiancee is pregnant! Obviously we're thrilled, but even more so because she has [a health condition] and we imagined it would be a very difficult road, but someone must have been smiling on us.

"Next, the good news: I found out on a Friday at a work happy hour that the intern was canned before she even started because of something she put up on either Facebook or MySpace--one of those sites. (She had turned a lot of heads when she came in for the interview--she's still pretty damn good looking--so, talk about ravenous dogs--trying to figure out what she put up, some of my colleagues are acting like 7th graders who just saw a bra strap for the first time and are trying to guess what the rest of bra looks like.)

"So, all in all, an even happier ending. (At least for me, anyway.)

"Peace,

"Jersey Guy (a.k.a soon-to-be Jersey Dad)"

So, there you go.

_______________________

Re: Wedding RSVP: I dunno, the whole 'no guest' thing seems so weird and exclusive. If you can't afford to make it a pleasant, inclusive event for all involved, you might want to reconsider inviting 150 people who are forbidden from bringing the people -they- love to what should be a fun, joyous day.

(Also, seriously? 150 with no guests? You couldn't trim that a little?)

Carolyn Hax: Why do you get to decide what constitutes "inclusive"? Maybe they have a fair number of single people in their social, professional and family circles.

So I see your, "Seriously," and raise you a "you've got to be kidding": This couple should add ... I dunno, 20? 30? 40? more people to their guest list just because some people lack the [imagination] to hit the dance floor without an assigned dance partner?

I refer you to last Friday's reader-written column: Brides can't win.

The issue was that people WROTE IN names of people who weren't invited. They were rude. You are attempting to discuss something about which there is nothing left to discuss.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I woke up this morning to find that my BF of four years sent me an online message while I was sleeping that called me by a different name. At least if this happened in person I'd have some context. What's a mature response to something like that? "Excuse me"? Letting it pass? Seeing if he says anything? It was jarring, to say the least.

Carolyn Hax: I think you just say, "Uh, my name is ----. Is there something we need to talk about?"

It also kinda depends on whose name he used. I can't be the only one who has had siblings, friends and spouse(s) call me the wrong name, each offender more than once.

Or maybe I am the only one, and I am peculiarly nondescript.

_______________________

Portland, Ore.: How do you respond to a marriage proposal that you completely disagree with? My good friend proposed to his mistress of two years. A 'confirmed' date is set for less than one year out. He is recently separated from his current wife but with no divorce in sight due to financial hardships. It has been a nasty separation that didn't need to be due to mistress' involvement. I dislike the fiancee (as do many others because she is manipulative and controlling) and his relationship with her over the past two years has severely hindered our relationship. The wedding has been discussed, but I have been mute with any interest or congratulations. Does proper etiquette dictate that I must congratulate them, or do I have valid reasons for ignoring his engagement with her?

Carolyn Hax: I am non-answering your question with another question. What's up with your "good" friend? Is he just drifting off-course with no correction in sight, or are you among the last to deduce that he's a complete tool?

To answer-answer your question, you could say, if you're ready for the consequences: "For obvious reasons, I can't pretend I'm happy to hear this news."

Second best, ignoring it unless/until he calls you on your non-response.

Third best, the insincere "Congratulations." That kind of BS is best saved for people with whom you have no real relationship, an acquaintance or a colleague you only kinda know.

_______________________

Unemployment U. '09: I recently graduated from college and am looking for a job. Being unemployed is, of course, frustrating and upsetting, and I can feel another depressive episode "coming on." My girlfriend (we're both women, for pronoun purposes) says that when we move to the city where she's starting grad school in the fall, I should get a therapist. As a former psych major and a consumer of on-campus counseling services, I agree with her, but I just can't afford it right now. She says I should ask my parents to help with the cost, but I will probably need their money for rent first. How can I get help, and what can I do in the meantime to keep myself afloat?

Carolyn Hax: Never short your health care just because of money--at least, don't make that your first resort. I did a quick Google search and got pages right at the top that provided ideas and links. Obviously you'll have to vet specific providers carefully, but some offered just general ideas that you could act on locally--where to find clinics, for example.

You can even contact someone in the counseling service you used at school, to get their ideas on where to find help you can afford.

I do appreciate that depression, even a mild bout of it, it itself an obstacle to getting care, and that having to work to find it can seem like a deal-breaker. But it sounds as if you have a supportive partner to help you with some of the lifting. Don't be afraid to ask.

If nothing turns up, also don't be afraid to ask your parents. Even rent money is secondary to health.

_______________________

Fourth Best: Go with the snark: I didn't realize one could be both married -and- engaged.

This is for when you acknowledge his tool-ness and are ready to sever ties.

Carolyn Hax: I dunno, I think it's good at any juncture. Thanks.

_______________________

Anonymous: Can you post a link to the Bride can't win column? I'd love to read it. We just got married on June 30 and did it our way. (Just parents and siblings at the ceremony ... some other relatives were miffed, but we wanted our ceremony to be small and intimate and it was.) We are inviting friends and families (along with their children and guests of choice) to a casual reception in August. We are having a lot of fun with it. It's exactly how my husband and I want it to be.

washingtonpost.com: Brides Can't Win Column (The Washington Post, July 3, 2009)

Carolyn Hax: Thanks Jodi.

_______________________

Unhappy: Carolyn,

Great chats. And advice I agree with most of the time. Anyway, I think it's time for me to leave my wife. I'm not happy and haven't been happy for a long time. I probably shouldn't have married her in the first place, but I did so because we had been dating for a long time and our first child was on the way. Because I married her and we now have two children, a big part of me feels like I have an obligation to stay. If I wasn't honest enough to not marry her in the first place, what right do i have to pull the rug from under her and our kids now?

I know that leaving will cause tremendous problems for everyone involved. But will my staying be any better? I've tried to discuss the problems, but every time it gets thrown back at me that there is something I am not doing right. And I admit, there is a lot I don't do right.

So, I am finally ready to go find my happiness elsewhere. But, how does one leave in the least disruptful and most respectful way possible?

Carolyn Hax: Thank you.

Have you gotten any counseling yet? (This would be in response to your marital problems, not to your liking my work.)

Counseling is not a boilerplate answer here, I swear. If you and your wife are already at odds, and if the pattern is for you to approach and for her to throw it back at you, then I fear for the tone of this divorce after you just walk up to her and declare, "I want out."

The counseling would be to lay the foundation, to give your kids the best chance at a transition that doesn't include needless hostility. As a bonus, it might also help you see a way around divorce. Not that my hopes are up much higher than you do, but if you never learned to talk to each other to begin with, then maybe you haven't ever seen the full menu of your options together. This is a chance to "do right."

_______________________

Fairfax, Va.: Dear Carolyn,

I'm afraid I'm an inhospitable jerk: I don't want my partner's friends to eat in our house. Whenever they come over, the floor, walls, and cabinets get splattered with food; we can't get through an evening of board games without someone spilling a drink. I tried to be a relaxed host in our last apartment, and we lost our security deposit. Now we own our house, and I want guests to be comfortable in it, but I can't deal with constant cleanup (not to mention more permanent damage) or the very real possibility of infestation if I don't clean. My partner is willing to clean, but honestly just doesn't notice when the furniture is sticky. I feel that refusing to allow eating and drinking is a non-starter. What's a reasonable compromise?

Carolyn Hax: My mental image of these friends is something out of "Men in Black." Or is this where the dogs play poker? An enduring mystery solved.

But anyway. I doubt I have any suggestions you haven't already ginned up yourself. Eat outside in good weather; meet them at restaurants; limit their visits to when you can afford to have cleaning service come in the next day; serve drinks in sippy cups.

_______________________

Brides can't win: From what I've read in this chat and column, I think the only people who have it worse than brides are expectant mothers.

Carolyn Hax: Except when they are worse themselves. Just when you think you're feeling sympathetic to one aggrieved group, someone from it reminds you that no one group has a monopoly on offensive behavior. (The other groups won't give them a chance.)

Did someone mention misanthropy earlier?

Oh, right, that was me.

_______________________

Wrong Name Followup: Follow-up magic! That was sent several days ago and as I suspected it was relatively innocuous (I'll spare you the long drawn out details). But this leads me to an overarching "life lesson" question: how do I learn to respond to situations like that? Or better put, how do I learn to have the sort of frame-of-mind that will lead you to ask thoughtful questions instead of giving off-the-cuff emotional responses?

Carolyn Hax: If you know yourself to be off-the-cuff emotional, then first try consciously overruling yourself, even just to force yourself to wait before responding. It can seem weird and deliberate--a la, "I can't answer you right now, I need a minute"--but it's still better than popping off in an entirely misguided direction.

Once you've stopped yourself, then you can take a moment to run possible scenarios through your mind. The, "It's not always about you," put-down has so much mileage on it that it's almost meaningless, but, really, it's a great silent mantra to keep handy for people who do tend to overreact.

The result you're going for is to stop placing yourself at the center of everyone's every gesture, be it a positive, negative or even neutral one. Your flak filter, ideally, will be set to catch only the stuff that really is about something you said, did or just are, and to let the rest of it fly by. The stuff you catch, you deal with directly by going to the source and taking your share of the responsibility.

There's a reason people seek beautiful views when they need to restore themselves emotionally: Big landscapes and beaches and skylines come with the unspoken message that you're just a dot, and a temporary one at that. That awareness can help you take yourself out of the centers of dramas where you don't belong, and it can cut any remaining you-centered dramas down to size.

The process you're after is to break that walk-on-the-beach epiphany down into a bunch of smaller, on-site realizations, which eventually can spread themselves across your life as a general state of mind.

Takes time, but it's possible.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Carolyn,

My best friend from high school is a great, upstanding guy. I currently have no feelings for him, but after countless failed relationships, I'm beginning to think that he has the qualities that I'm looking for. Is it a bad idea to experiment with where this relationship could go? I assume that the main reason that I don't have any feelings for him is I've never looked at him in this way or allowed myself to.

Would pursuing something be a waste of time if I set out knowing that I do not have any feelings currently, but could possibly "develop" them in the future?

Thanks!

Carolyn Hax: For his sake, please test your theory that "I don't have any feelings for him [because] I've never looked at him in this way" by looking at him this way ONLY in the privacy of your own mind. Even though even that is probably premature (see below).

The risk of pursuing this hunch is not wasting your time--the risk is of laying waste to -him.-

Obviously, it's possible he's had no interest in you, either, making devastation unlikely. But just in case he has harbored feelings for you, you owe it to him to approach him on something a lot more solid than a breakup-weary whim.

As for that: The answer to "countless failed relationships" is never to displace the wreckage with a shiny new opportunity. It's to take a careful accounting of where you are emotionally, and to see what you can do to find fulfillment on your own. Even the best guys will have rocky relationships with you if you're not on solid footing yourself.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Hi Carolyn, My husband's maternal grandfather passed away, and the funeral is tomorrow. My MIL wants our 18 month toddler to attend the service. Though I will be at the service (I got a babysitter), my son will not. He's too little to act appropriately (and it's right in the middle of his naptime). If I did bring him, I know it would end up with me walking around outside with a cranky toddler. My MIL thinks that her father would have wanted him there. I'm at my wit's end. She's too emotional to think rationally. Should I just suck it up and bring my son?

Carolyn Hax: If it's local, maybe you can bring the sitter with you to the service, and sit close to an exit. That way, if/when your son acts up, the sitter whisks him out and takes him for a stroll, which, with any luck, will turn into a nap.

In other words, while your MIL might not be thinking rationally, the I think rational thing to do is make her happy. The rest is just logistics.

_______________________

Waltham, Mass.: Carolyn, do you read the comments by the nutterati?

Carolyn Hax: I read almost all of the outtakes from these discussions.

If you mean the comments online, those I read when I can. If there's a particularly good thread going, please feel free to call my attention to it.

_______________________

For the guy marrying his mistress by mistake: "Good luck!"

Carolyn Hax: Duh. That's perfect, thanks.

_______________________

Chicago: Carolyn, I cheated, got caught, finally moved out...but I still can't figure out what I want. I'm still hung up on both though it's been months. Now work seems crazy, I want to take a vacation but have no dollars and am travelling for work for the next several weeks. How do I get back to figuring out what makes me happy...it feels like nothing does at this point. I just want to go running back to girl #2, express my undying love and ask her to marry me...which won't work as she hasn't talked to me in ten months. I'm function, but I feel like I'm a total disaster. How do you go about reassembling your self destroyed life?

Carolyn Hax: You accept that the DIY approach isn't working, and you contact a reputable therapist. Many will be open to at least an initial consultation by phone, possibly even more until you're through with your travels. If you're not sure where to start, find out if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

_______________________

New York, N.Y.: I recently had an unsettling conversation with a cousin and my soon-to-be sister-in-law. Tongues loosened by a few beers, they both brought up my Mom's tendency to see the glass as half-empty, pointing out the downside to every hypothetical course of action, quick to say why things won't work, etc. I went into knee-jerk defense mode, explaining that it's just one small part of who she is, she's not a pessimist, and, to my sister-in-law, that she'd get used to it. She was skeptical and the conversation quickly moved on.

But I've been thinking about it a lot lately. It made me feel really... sad. I love my Mom, and it was maybe a wake-up call to hear a loved one talked about in such frank, negative terms. I feel protective of her now. There are negative sides to every person, and I generally believe that, in the aggregate, my Mom is a great person.

But my sister-in-law's comments really bothered me, and it's been coloring every interaction I see her having with my Mom. I really want her to see my Mom as I see her--but that's not something I can control, is it? Knowing how fond my Mom is of her daughter-in-law has made it more hurtful. I think I'll get over it, but in the future, is there a better way to react to such criticism of a loved one? I'm glad my sister-in-law could be open with me (albeit after drinking), but another part of me doesn't really want to hear her criticism of her mother-in-law, my Mom.

Carolyn Hax: Was she wrong, or does your mom have a half-empty outlook?

And if the observation was accurate, why are you running from it?

(I'm signing off soon, so if I don't see a response, I'll try to finish my answer without it before I go.)

_______________________

Waltham, Mass.: I meant the comments from the nutterati online. There are some very regular posters on there. Some people are good writers, some take the thread off in weird directions, some are truly nutty. Mostly I was wondering if you have favorites among the regular posters ---not that I expect you to spill as to who they might be!

Carolyn Hax: I do see that there are regulars, but when I go through the comments, I skim for the bullet points and don't pay much attention to IDs.

_______________________

Talk about expectant mothers...: Hi Carolyn,

I'm pregnant. Almost eight weeks. Am cautiously excited, a bit nervous, lots bloated...

Anyhoo, I've got a rather pushy friend who keeps asking me if I'm pregnant. I've told her repeatedly that when I have something to tell her, I will.

I've now gotten to the point where I'm lying. My husband and I have told no one because we want to wait until more tests come back, until we see an ultrasound, until we get to the safe 12 week mark.

So what do I tell her hopefully when all's good and it's safe to break the news - sorry I lied to your face but didn't want to get pushed into telling news I wasn't ready to share?

Carolyn Hax: Since your, "When I have something to tell you I will," hasn't worked, next time she asks, feel free to make it, "Since you keep pestering me, when I have something to tell you, I won't."

Withholding this information until they are ready is absolutely a couple's prerogative, and if I ran the underworld I'd assign your friend to the same room as the people who write in guests on wedding RSVPs.

That said, I think people can get caught up in the pregnancy-notification extremes: telling the town crier and keeping strict silence for 12.0 weeks. I definitely see the value in not telling people with whom you'd be uncomfortable sharing bad news, since early miscarriage is sadly not uncommon, and also not telling anyone who would blab or get pushy about knowing.

Beyond that, though, the pressure of keeping a secret can quickly become an unexpected source of stress. Just my unasked for $.02.

And finally, congrats.

_______________________

New York, N.Y. again: The observation is true--sometimes. For example,if I have an idea for something (career, relationship, etc) that I run by her, her first instinct is to say why it won't work. But that's WHY I run it by her in the first place, for another perspective, and in the end she's incredibly supportive of my decisions. She only has a "half-empty" outlook in these sorts of situations, though. She also has those sappy, teary-eyed "Mom moments" about how blessed she sees her life, how her family has turned out, even how much she likes her new daughter-in-law.

Why am I running from it? For two reasons, I think. First, because it skews the big picture of who my Mom is. Not seeing the forest for the trees. (Granted, this is the only negative thing I've heard my SIL say about my Mom.) And the second was just the realization that, even if you love someone, it doesn't mean other people feel the same. Akin to overhearing someone talking trash about a friend or SO, or seeing your child get picked on. Not a good feeling.

Carolyn Hax: I get that. It might have helped your cause of defending your mom, though, if you had started your response by acknowledging your SIL's concerns instead of resisting them.

Since you know it's true -and- you love your mom completely--despite this trait, because of this trait, including this trait, whatever--that makes you (potentially) a powerful spokesperson for your mom.

Having mature, clear-eyed affection for her allows you to make a case for your mom that's both nuanced and, more important, real: "Yeah, that's Mom, but she's also so much more ..." followed by a loving defense of your mom that isn't defensive. Kind of like the one you gave here.

I'm arguing for it now, even though the moment has obviously passed, because taking this position in a future conversation wouldn't just help you feel better. It might go a long way toward accomplishing what you set out to do: giving your SIL a chance to see your mom the way you do, and not just as the caricature she gave the other night. Validating her would likely have made your defense more credible and made her more receptive to it--and you wouldn't have sold out your mom in the process since the truth you were telling was an affectionate one.

_______________________

Discussion board?: Could someone provide the link to the discussion board? I'd love to check it out.

washingtonpost.com: Hax-Philes Discussion Group

Carolyn Hax: Thanks. Sorry for the slow and possibly repetitive last post--my computer froze twice while I was typing it.

_______________________

Carolyn Hax: That's it for today. Thanks all, have a great weekend and type to you same time next week.

_______________________

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

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

Got more to say? Check out Carolyn's discussion group, Hax-Philes. Comments submitted to the chat may be used in the discussion group.

Carolyn's Recent Columns

_______________________

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company

Discussion Archive

Viewpoint is a paid discussion. The Washington Post editorial staff was not involved in the moderation.

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity