While I’m away, readers give the advice.
On remaining friends with exes:
Dear Carolyn: My girlfriend is still friendly with her ex-husband, still talks to him regularly, and still expresses concern for him, because his life became pretty messed up before, during and after their split. When I compare this with my own divorce, which ended amicably after far too much childishness and spite along the way, I appreciate my girlfriend’s maturity and kindness.
An amicable breakup that keeps a friendship intact shows that both people respect the others’ individuality, freedom and choices. That is not something my ex and I have.
So, I have never felt worried or jealous about my girlfriend’s relationship with her ex. Rather, it’s a signal that I’m with the right kind of person for me.
On discomfort with having a baby shower:
Dear Carolyn: I was reluctant about having a shower, opted for a small book-themed shower, and was incredibly and unexpectedly moved by the feeling of community. And it was so much fun to think of people over the years as I read my daughter the books.
On dating a workaholic:
Dear Carolyn: My ex worked hard, my partner works hard. I definitely see my partner less than I saw my ex. It bothered me with my ex but doesn’t with my partner, because, deep down, I knew my ex didn’t really love me, value me or appreciate me, and I know my partner does.
I think sometimes people focus on things that they feel indicate some sort of lack of consideration — the classic socks-on-the-floor thing — when it is really a lot more fundamental than that.
On feeling unfit to be a parent:
I learned as we struggled through our first child’s infancy: I’m not really a baby person. Once my son, then daughter, reached about 3 years old, parenthood became so much easier and even fun.
There also was not the pressure to be such a perfect mom back in my day (late ’70s to mid-’80s). We just muddled through, without comparison to those perfect moms who post their triumphs on Pinterest.