Original "Tell Me About It" columns will appear in Sunday Source while Carolyn is on maternity leave. The following are excerpts from spring 2003 live discussions on washingtonpost.com.


What's the best way to get rid of hate, anger and resentment toward someone who has wronged you for years, and you finally managed to get away from?

-- Stewing

Don't get rid of it, recycle. Donate something to someone who needs it, be nice to animals and toast your freedom. Kind of like turning old soda bottles into picnic benches and fleece.


Do you think there are people out there who are incapable of happiness because they derive a large part of their identity from being miserable?

-- Friend

I don't think they're incapable of happiness so much as afraid of it. When a person gets her hopes up about something, she runs the risk of being let down; to some people that's the same thing as looking stupid. So, they just play Eeyore and that way the world never tells them any bad news they didn't already know.

I also think some people complain all the time because they can't figure out what else to say. Almost a shyness thing.


Okay, personal question. How much does childbirth hurt, really? I can't seem to get a straight answer. Does an epidural help very much? I have a very low pain tolerance and am scared to death of childbirth.

-- Maryland

I don't think you can get a straight answer, since it's different for everybody.

How's this -- it is so much bigger than the pain. Yes, it's scary, but if you want kids the pain is beside the point. Think of the wussiest woman you know. If she has kids, there's your answer.

Dear Carolyn:

Looking at the history in the computer I share with my live-in boyfriend, I recently noticed that he was looking at personal ads and has set up a new, anonymous e-mail account. I know it was wrong to look. But I'm crushed. And unsure what to do. I want to ask him about it but am worried about his reaction. (I admit I've been bad and snooped a bit before.) He claims to be crazy about me and bought me an expensive gift recently. I'm feeling very confused and unsure about things.

-- D.C.

The gift might be guilt. Tell him what you found and accept responsibility for being a snoop.

Better yet, move out and navel-gaze for a while, at least until you see why you let a relationship drag on even though the trust has long since left the building.

Dear Carolyn:

Is it ever okay to snoop? If you're snooping, does it always mean there is a problem in the relationship or could it mean you're just nosy?

-- Washington

"Just" nosy? I think that's even worse than a problem in a relationship. That means you have some combination of: no respect for others' privacy, no sense of boundaries, no self-control, no trust in others, no little switch in your head that says, "I really don't need to know this." Because you don't really need to know this, whatever it is that you're digging up when you snoop.

Write to Tell Me About It, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost.com, and join Carolyn's live discussion at noon Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.