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The matriarch of my wife’s family (their father died years before) was going blind and needed a cornea transplant in order to save her sight. Not having the funds, her extended family came together in a potluck reunion during which they auctioned off items (to each other) created by each family or individual, and the money went to a well-known eye clinic in support their mother’s surgery.

DEAR CAROLYN: I read your piece about the girlfriend who forbids her boyfriend to talk to other girls. I agree this seems like abusive, controlling behavior.

DEAR CAROLYN: I am a 32-year-old woman who has been dating a wonderful man for a little over a year. We are now making lifelong plans together, starting with the process of looking for a new home to move into together.

DEAR CAROLYN: I’m 40 with a wonderful family and fulfilling career. Occasionally I am consumed with regret for past behavior. In middle school, there was a boy who was different (a disability; thick glasses; blue collar in a neighborhood of professionals). The students were not kind to this boy. Neither was I. I never engaged in any active teasing, but I ignored him as much as possible. We used to “spray for cooties” and every time I had to touch something he had touched, I “sprayed”! I think I felt so out-of-place myself that I thought if I associated with him at ALL I would also be targeted.

DEAR CAROLYN: This summer, as a favor to my recently divorced sister-in-law, my husband (her brother) and I agreed to take her 13-year-old daughter for three weeks. My sister-in-law surprised us by delivering her daughter and another 13-year-old to “keep her company.” We buckled down and welcomed the girls, took them on summer adventures, introduced them to neighborhood kids, met all their needs.

DEAR CAROLYN: Whenever I am at a party with my wife’s girlfriend, she flirts with me. No … not flirt; groping and teasing is a better description. Sticking her hands in my back pockets, grabbing my butt. First time it happened was when I showed up at a party without my wife, and she said, “I am so glad you are here alone!”

I met a guy in 2011 and we fell madly in love. At the time he had a girlfriend and she was pregnant, but I was OK with it! She found out and started sending me insulting messages to which I never responded (except once when she mentioned my mother!).

DEAR CAROLYN: I once considered “family time” important enough that family travel became an item in our monthly budget so money would never be a reason for not visiting family. Now, with three small kids in tow, I am dreading our yearly trips. I would happily cancel this year’s to save the hassle of days in the car with kids, sleeping in unfamiliar places, and the weeks of poor sleep the youngest experiences when we return.

DEAR CAROLYN: I raised two boys by myself since I was pregnant with the second. I divorced the boys’ father because of his emotional abuse, drinking and suspected drug use. I raised my kids without ever hinting that I had been married twice briefly before, too young, in marriages that produced no children.

My mother-in-law wants my 5-year-old to sleep over at her house. The problem is that even though she has been living with the same man for several years and my husband and I think he is very nice, we still don’t feel comfortable with our daughter sleeping over at her grandmother’s house with him there.

DEAR CAROLYN: My husband and I are expecting a visit from my brother “Allen” soon. He is on again with his on-again/off-again girlfriend “Mable.” I consider Mable one of my close friends, but I admit she is a total slob. My husband said that if Allen brings Mable when he visits, she is not welcome in our home. My husband likes Mable too, but he doesn’t want our house taken over by Mable’s mess.



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