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Carolyn Hax: Letter writers who stayed on your minds


Are there letter-writers you wonder about to this day? While I’m away, readers nominate some who stayed in mind.

Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers. View Archive

“I was haunted by her excuse for him — that he had deliberately missed her head.”

March 12, 2009

Adapted from an online discussion.

(Nick Galifianakis/The Washington Post)

Dear Carolyn:

My fiance threw a lamp at me. It missed me and hit the wall, leaving a big hole. I don’t know if he was aiming for me. He would say he wasn’t, and that he was just mad.

He told me to “get the [expletive] out!” And even took the doorknob off the bedroom door so I couldn’t come to bed. To be fair, I did call him an expletive before he threw the lamp.

I packed up and left the next morning. I really wanted to marry this man, whom I still love. Should I forgive him, should he eventually call me to apologize profusely? Is a first-time violent offense forgivable?

Still Holding My Breath

When bad aim (or good, for that matter) is the only reason you escaped serious injury, you need to bypass the informal remedies and go straight to professional counseling. It’s not just his violent offense, it’s that you’re aching for him to come back to validate you.

This puts you in both a physically and emotionally precarious position. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), the National Domestic Violence Hotline, for immediate counsel and for names of therapists you can see more regularly.

Please take care of yourself.

“I always wondered whether your words actually reached him and made any impression (even if it was one of moral indignation).”

July 11, 2008

Ms. Carolyn:

I am a 50-year-old single gentleman. I am often told I look like a man in his early 40s. I earn a comfortable income. I rarely date, but when I do, I seem to meet and date younger, attractive women. I have had no success with women near my age, and I have found many to be irritable and malcontents.

This offends my friends’ wives, female co-workers, and my sisters and mother. I am the recipient of unsolicited advice and mean-spirited barbs. I expect this is middle-age female angst and jealousy, and I let it roll off me, as do most of the young ladies. I have slowly reduced my social circle to a select few, as I don’t need this treatment. What is the best way for a gentleman to handle this behavior?

Older Gentleman

When you find the occasional middle-age woman to be a malcontent, it’s probably about her attitude.

When you find the occasional attractive younger woman to be a good match, it’s probably about her suitability.

When the occasional woman gets offended by your date’s youth, it’s probably about her issues.

You find many middle-age women to be malcontents. You date only younger, attractive women. Your preferences have offended, apparently, all women in your orbit. (You don’t mention any female friends. Have any? Or does your contact with women fall into two categories: romantic, or unavoidable?)

You’re entitled to indulge your tastes, to offend those who disapprove and to avoid those you offend.

However, if you’re going to conclude that women are either hotties or hags, then please know those hags are entitled to the opinion that this isn’t about them — it’s about you.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Sign up for Carolyn Hax’s column, delivered to your inbox early each morning, at

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