On our side of the family there are four siblings and five nieces and nephews. Three years ago we decided that the Christmas gift exchange had gotten to be too much so we agreed that gifts among the siblings and grandparents would be given only to the children. It worked beautifully and everyone had a blast (we thought) watching the kids with their toys.
I went to college with two friends who are now a couple. I currently work with the boyfriend while his girlfriend works in a different organization down the street from us.
DEAR CAROLYN: Every once in a while, I notice a situation in which my fiancé’s preferences or perspectives might be different from mine, and when those come up, I like to communicate with him about those preferences and how strong they are to figure out the optimal course of action.
As I write, my husband is halfway across the country taking care of his ailing mother. We have had a terrible “text” fight over the past few days, and it revolves mostly around the fact that he thinks I am “compassionless” about his mother’s situation, and I am not being supportive of his decision to stay weeks with her while I fly solo.
DEAR CAROLYN: A couple of years ago, when my two nieces married, I organized my two sons and flew cross-country to attend their weddings.
DEAR CAROLYN: I’m newly single after being dumped from a serious, long-term relationship. I didn’t see this coming. It turns out my ex was telling me things were perfect but secretly romancing someone else.
I need help in handling my son and his wife, so I can keep my dignity and still see my grandchild. Son and Wife are in their mid-40s, building a successful law firm, and live about 45 minutes away by car. I see them once or twice a month, mainly because I pick up my granddaughter to spend time with her; otherwise there would be much less contact.
DEAR CAROLYN: My only sibling has highbrow tastes and the income to match – a Type-A perfectionist who expects all who cross her path to be likewise. We have aging parents in common.
DEAR CAROLYN: My daughter “Brooke” is a senior in high school. Her mother and I have been separated six years and divorced for three. We maintain a cordial relationship and I am allowed great visitation with my daughter.
DEAR CAROLYN: I am in my 30s and live on the opposite coast from my family. Our relationship is strained.
DEAR CAROLYN: A good friend recently ended a years-long relationship because of her boyfriend’s emotional limitations. After they broke up, I let her know I had always wondered whether he was right for her.