Carolyn is away. The following are excerpts from summer 2004 live discussions on washingtonpost.com.

Carolyn:

How important do you think it is for a couple to agree on money management? I'm in a relationship right now where I'm a saver, he's a spender, and it definitely creates tension. I'll feel like he's spending irresponsibly (he has bad credit); he'll feel like I'm monitoring and "moming" him. I've always heard that money is one of those critical issues that a marriage-bound couple should agree on. But then I've talked to several married friends who say they commonly argue about money and still maintain a great relationship overall. What do you think?

New York, N.Y.

I think you should heed your own judgment and stop listening to other people. Except maybe to me. If you can't trust your BF to conduct himself responsibly, then you have problems.

Meanwhile, it's not your place to look over his shoulder and pick-pick-pick at his spending decisions. Bleagh. It's his life, his money, his financial hole either to fill or deepen.

Yes, his decisions may ultimately affect you, but micromanaging those decisions is not the way to keep them from hurting you.

Say you do interfere successfully enough to get him to spend less. (Ba-ha.) If you haven't changed his underlying character (see above parenthetical), then he'll just revert to his bad ways down the road when he's sick of humoring you.

Leaving him alone to handle his money and then judging what those results will mean for your future -- and then deciding whether to have a future with him or not, based on this information -- is the only recourse you have. Back off.

Carolyn:

In a year, I'm planning to finish grad school and am considering moving to New York, where my boyfriend plans to return (also in a year). I know I love him very much but have conflicting emotions about trying to live my life as a strong, independent feminist while "following" my boyfriend to another city. I have no connections in New York City, know that I can get a job there and would only really be moving there for him.

D.C.

This will come out snarkier than I mean, but you do need to get out of school.

If you read "feminist" to mean having as much choice/say/opportunity as a man, as opposed to more, then you can "go with" your boyfriend to New York without surrendering your strong indie-fem credentials. At least one of you has to move for you to be together, right? So wouldn't making him move because he's the man be just as offensive as it would be for him to make you move because you're the woman?

Examine the possibilities, choose for yourself. That's all there should ever be to it.

Carolyn:

Is there a statute of limitations on dating a friend's ex-spouse?

Say 10 years have come and gone and your friend is remarried. Is it still taboo?

Bewildered

Only if the parting was bitter -- specifically if the ex-spouse wronged your friend and never copped to it. Otherwise, laws of maturity prevail.

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