The Art of the Relationship

Posted on | December 14, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My boyfriend and I have been together for almost a year and we have been talking about moving in together. His apartment is much nicer than mine so that is where we would live.  The only problem is his bed.  He has one of those fancy foam mattresses.  He adores it but I can’t stand it and can barely sleep when I stay at his place.  He keeps telling me that I will learn to love it but I know that I won’t.  He refuses to give it up because he says he had problems sleeping before he got it and this mattress has changed his life.  What do I do?

Dear Marie:
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Come on child, this one is easy!

In a Word

Posted on | December 14, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I don’t have a great memory for remembering peopleif I only met them at a big party or something.  Sometimes when I introduce myself to someone, they say “We met before at so-and-so’s party.” And I will apologize for not remembering. Unless, of course, I didn’t go to so-and-so’s party and I will say they must be mistaken. But the other night at a party, I introduced myself to someone and she said “Oh no, we met at my husband’s memorial service last May.”  I didn’t know what to say because I did not know her husband and I definitely did not attend his memorial service.  So I just smiled and apologized.  It seemed rude under these circumstances to correct the widow but I was still lying.  Was I wrong to do what I did?

Dear Maddy:

Hang in…

Posted on | November 24, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I have long expected that my son was gay but I always assumed that he would tell me when he was ready. But recently, I ran into the parents of one of his classmates at the grocery store and they casually mentioned how wonderful it was that MY son is dating THEIR son! Of course I hinted about this news to my son but he pretended not to know what I was talking about. I don’t want to confront him directly and I want him to know that this is all okay but I don’t want him to keep hiding this from me either. Am I doing something wrong as a parent?
Just Want to help

Dear JWH,
Give him time. Patience, in our experience, yields unexpected bounty.

Try Again

Posted on | November 18, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
I have never gotten along very well with my in-laws even though I try as hard as I possibly can. Something always seems to go wrong. So this year my husband has suggested that instead of the family (we have 2 children) spending Christmas Eve at his parents and Christmas Day at my parents, he take the kids to his parents by himself and joins me the next day.  At first, this didn’t sound like a bad idea but as I think about it, it doesn’t sound good. I don’t want to get even further estranged from his parents and teach the kids that this is an acceptable way for families to solve their “problems.”  What do you think we should do?

Dear Uncomfortable:
You have good instincts. Ask your husband for help with his folks.

Strings Attached

Posted on | November 18, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My niece recently became pregnant and decided to name her baby after me. I was thrilled at first  since we were never really that close but now I realize that along with the “honor,” came a financial expectation.  My niece has asked me if I would buy a carseat, a stroller and a crib.  She also wants me to host a baby shower for her. So far, I have done what my niece asked but I’m not sure what is coming next. I don’t have kids of my own so maybe my niece is just trying to get me involved.  But is this kind of thing normal?

Dear Auntie:
NORMAL? No such thing. However, this does feel atypical. We suggest YOU decide what feels right to you and then have a conversation with your niece before the baby is born. You need to know what she expects going forward. If it is more than you can handle say so now.

Play with Fire

Posted on | November 11, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
Is it possible for a “heavy” social drinker and a recovering alcoholic to live together?

Dear Pat:
Possible? Yes. But we think it’s a bad idea — at best irritating, at worst, dangerous.

Matter of Life or Death

Posted on | October 20, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My husband is an absolutely horrible driver and it scares me to death to be in the car with him. Unfortunately, he insists on driving and gets furious when I criticize something he does. He yells at me and can stay mad for days. Should I just put my foot down and say that I won’t ride in the car with him or do I shut my mouth, close my eyes and hope that the airbag works?
Running Scared

Dear Scared:
Put your foot down. The consequences of ignoring the problem are far too serious.

Teach Your Children Well

Posted on | October 20, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
In this day and age when you can lie every day and still be President of the United States or a Supreme Court Justice, how do you teach your children that lying is wrong when lying actually seems the best (and maybe only) way to get ahead?
Desperately Seeking Truth

Dear Truth:
Your own behavior and commentary on public events remains the most powerful teaching tool around. Make sure your kids know how you feel and why.

The Situation Has Many Possibilities

Posted on | September 13, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
My husband and I are well into our 60s and have a wonderful relationship.  The problem is that we have very different sleep habits. I am a very light sleeper whereas he snores and tosses and turns all night.  Now that the kids are out of the house, there is plenty of room for me to sleep in a different bedroom but when I suggested it my husband was appalled and says we need counseling!!! How do I convince him that this is not the end of our intimate relationship.  It’s only a way to get some sleep!!

Dear Sleepy:
We think good sleep makes all the difference. But you might invite him to join you for a “night cap.”

Freedom to Speak

Posted on | September 12, 2018 | Comments Off

Dear Short Answers:
Last year my neighbor’s 15 year old daughter had a baby.  There doesn’t seem be a father around and since both grandparents work full-time and the daughter is still in high school, I offered to help baby sit since I am retired and my kids are long since grown up. Believe me, I have given them hundreds of free baby sitting hours while the grandparents worked and mom went to school. I am now appalled to find out that the girl is pregnant again!! I feel a little responsible since I seem to have made their lives so much easier but I also feel used.  I want these two babies to have a fair start in life but maybe the mom needs to take responsibility for her actions. I am tempted to say “no more” but don’t know whether the girl will learn her lesson or the kids will suffer.  What’s the right thing to to?
Good Neighbor

Dear Neighbor:
We have many concerns about a high school age single mother of two.  It sounds like you do as well and have earned the right to say anything you want to the girl, or her parents. That includes saying that babysitting TWO infants is TOO much for you.

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