Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Put suspicion aside and get perspective on marriage
Maryland: Over recent years, I have suspected my husband of cheating on me, which he hotly denies. He tells me my jealousy is damaging our marriage and that I wouldn't worry if I really trusted him. However, after a bit of snooping, the evidence is mounting.
Given that he is a good father and, at this point, I really don't want to divorce him, my question is: Do I just carry on as normal, or do I hire a detective and get some hard evidence? I wonder if, by presenting him with evidence, we could get to the root of this and work on fixing our marriage.
Carolyn: (1) What do you want from this marriage?
(2) What are you getting from it?
(3) Realistically, is anything going to change?
(4) If you were standing outside your life and looking in at you, what would you tell yourself to change?
You seem to be so caught up in cheating, detectives and proof that you've lost all perspective on everything else. Get the everything-else back in perspective, please; you won't feel good about anything else until you do.
In particular, I'd revisit your whole notion of marriage. Is it based in reality or expectations? Often we chew up our lives day after day without stepping back to see where we're going, and don't realize that our idea of marriage, family, happiness and love was set when we were 15. Maybe that's not true here, but it never hurts to check how realistic you've been. You can't prove fidelity; detectives can't prove the value of people you love.
You can't control what diabetic mother chooses to eat
Washington, D.C.: My mom has diabetes. Every time our family gets together, she says her diabetes is "on vacation." She drinks and eats sugary stuff that she definitely should not be eating.
It's hard to watch. Any advice? I say, "Mom, you shouldn't eat that," and she says, "Okay," then as soon as I walk out of the room . . . yup.
Carolyn: Her body, her decision. Your feelings for her are yours, and she's being reckless with them by being reckless with her health, and you're entitled to point that out — firmly, and once.
However, even that reasoning comes back to her body, her decision. I wish I had a magic answer.
Anonymous: You may mean well by telling your mom not to eat sugar, but nobody wants to spend much time with a friend or family member who acts like their personal policeman.
Some of the problems in our lives would be lessened if we realized what, in a fellow adult's life, isn't our business.
Carolyn: I'd change your "some" to "many," possibly "most." Knowing where you leave off and everyone else begins is the foundation of all productive relationships, with ourselves and others.
D.C. Again: Not saying anything is easier said than done. It's akin to watching your mother slowly kill herself. Would you not do or say anything?
Carolyn: I would practice what I'm preaching. At a certain point, you know what isn't yours to control, and behave accordingly.