Ask Carolyn

  • Mentally ill sib is no holiday

    Mentally ill sib is no holiday

    Dear Carolyn: Any advice on how to deal with my single, middle-aged, mentally ill sibling who will be attending family holiday dinners? Sibling is difficult to get along with, is out of touch with reality, and — even though aware of mental illness — won’t do anything about it. Sibling can’t be excluded because it

  • Stay or go? This one isn’t easy

    Stay or go? This one isn’t easy

    Dear Carolyn: Long story short, my boyfriend is going through a rough time (his dad died unexpectedly last year, his mom is in hospice care with a terminal illness). We’ve been together for almost five years and we’re in our early 20s, but I’m not sure if I want to be with him anymore for

  • Toxic grandma

    Toxic grandma

    Dear Carolyn: How can I help my daughter, “Kara,” better deal with my mom? When my mom gets irritated or angry, she shuts down and gives the silent treatment, even to Kara, who is 3. For example, Kara will decide she doesn’t want to talk to my mom, and then five minutes later she does,

  • Monster-in-law

    Monster-in-law

    Dear Carolyn: I have been happily married for three years. Because we live 30 minutes from my in-laws, we see them pretty much every week. The problem is my mother-in-law. In addition to her frequently imposing her will on us (e.g., enlisting someone to build steps off our deck when we had no interest in

  • Why’s my guy emailing his ex?

    Why’s my guy emailing his ex?

    Dear Carolyn: I just found out my boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend have been emailing every so often, prompted by my boyfriend. I told him it made me uncomfortable, and he’s stopping. So why do I feel slimy? — Washington Because the emailing was either innocent, and you seized control for no other reason than your

  • Squalor has consequences

    Squalor has consequences

    Dear Carolyn: My husband and I disagree, and I hope you can be the tie-breaker. I have two teenagers, ages 15 and 17. All their lives, I have felt they should tidy their rooms. My husband thinks they should do what they want in their own rooms. Because there are many things we don’t agree

  • Speak for yourself, OK?

    Speak for yourself, OK?

    Dear Carolyn: What if you’re in a mutually-agreed-upon, sexually monogamous relationship and you’re NOT pressuring for a commitment like moving in, engagement or marriage … but the other person thinks you are? In other words, I’m totally fine with just having a boyfriend for the foreseeable future, but he keeps insisting he knows better than