While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On the power of the mind, Part 1:
Try mentally reframing your attraction to your partner. Culturally, we seem inclined to treat attraction as an involuntary, have-it-or-don’t type of thing. To a certain extent that’s true. However, within limits — both of your own mental flexibility and your individual orientation/preferences — you can still “teach” your mind to like previously unattractive things.
It’s an extension of the way fondness can grow as you get to know a person.
It feels weird at first to try to push your mind this way, but as long as it’s within realistic limits and for a positive goal, I’ve found it to be really worthwhile.
On the power of the mind, Part 2:
I dearly love my partner as he, I know, loves me. As with all people, we each have quirks that could become that burr under one’s saddle and lead to petty squabbles. When he puts a dirty dish with food bits on it in the side of the sink that doesn’t have the food disposal instead of the side that does, for example, I think, “Isn’t that adorable,” instead of getting annoyed.
Life is short; we need to laugh as often as possible.
On the “always attend the funeral” exceptions:
There are many reasons not to attend a funeral. And one should not be required to provide a “proper” excuse or be ostracized for failure to attend a funeral.
Raised by my elderly grandmother, I grew up attending funerals frequently. My older sister had an unfortunate experience at one and would only attend thereafter if she was taken with force. As an adult she does not attend any. It is a family joke that she is unlikely to attend even her own funeral. I am reluctant to attend funerals as I have gotten older because my crying has become increasingly uncontrollable.
There are many other ways to show support for a person who has lost a loved one. Some people like a person to sit at the house during the service to deter thieves. If there is a post-service reception, someone could be setting up the food. A person may sit quietly with the bereaved and hold a hand or just listen. There are a multitude of ways to show support without attending the funeral.
The grieving does not stop at the funeral. Ask the bereaved if they would like to talk about their loss. Ask them if they need anything. Ask them if you can bring them a meal or vacuum the carpet or dust the furniture or pick up groceries.
On being the new partner of someone at war with an ex over their kids:
Gently remind him that he chose to fall in love and marry her, as well as have a child with her, so she must have SOME redeeming value. Encourage him to look for that, if nothing else, for the sake of their child.
Write to Carolyn Hax at email@example.com. Get her column delivered to your inbox each morning at wapo.st/haxpost....Read more