Five's a Crowd Dear Margo: I read the letter from the empty nesters who were happy on their own. My situation is exactly the opposite. I am not happy, and I am not alone. My three adult sons are all still living at home. The middle one is a college graduate and …Read more. What To Do About "Old" Kids Dear Margo: My girlfriend was in one other serious relationship aside from ours. It lasted three years and ended three years before ours began. She keeps in touch with the ex because they work together a few days a week, and also my girlfriend was …Read more. Be Well This will be my last column as Dear Margo. I have been giving advice for 15 years — first as Dear Prudence and then under my own name. I have been writing for newspapers for 45 years. The time feels right to retire from deadline journalism. I …Read more. When Things Don't Look Quite Right Dear Margo: I'm 60, and my boyfriend is a few years younger. He recently moved in with me. His job requires him to meet with people after their workday. I know he really is doing this on some nights, because I have seen people enter his workplace. …Read more.more articles
Who Should Kiss Whom, and How?
Dear Margo: My husband and I married earlier this year, and we have a great relationship. We both came into the marriage with children. The one thing that seems to be driving me crazy is that my husband kisses his 5-year-old daughter on the lips. It's just a peck, but it aggravates me to no end. I have a daughter, and I always kiss her on the cheek. I even explained that you do not kiss on the lips unless you are married. I have mentioned that I'm totally against the gesture; he said he will do so until the day he dies. Fine, but I feel this is intruding on our relationship, as I see it being a sexual gesture and very inappropriate. I have read articles about this, and it is very controversial. I am not sure that I will be able to handle this much longer. Is it wrong of me to ask him for "only my lips or no lips"? — Want My Husband's Lips for Myself
Dear Want: Personally, I agree with you and have always found it kind of creepy. But I have seen many people kiss their children like this, and I don't think it's seductive. Gestures mean different things to different people. To your husband, kissing on the lips is his sign of affection. To you, it's a boundary violation.
I would open the discussion with him in a new way. Perhaps the act itself is less meaningful than his resistance to granting your request. Does he resist your suggestions in general? Might he experience you as eager to weaken his relationship with his daughter? Is there guilt about divorcing the child's mother? Ask yourself why you feel so possessive of his lips and whether it is hard to share his affection. Frankly, I think this issue will subside when his daughter becomes an adolescent and becomes embarrassed by parental affection.
To Tweak or Not To Tweak, That Is the Question
Dear Margo: I am frustrated by the poor grammar used today by young and old. I recently began dating a wonderful man who has so many good qualities, yet his poor grammar bothers me. He refers to "her and I" and "me and Joe" instead of "she and I" and "Joe and I." Is there a gentle way that I can correct his grammar without offending him? Would you please provide a basic lesson to your readers with the hope that others will realize they are speaking incorrectly? Please remind your readers that a simple way to know whether it is correct or not is to remove the other person. "She went to the store," not "Her went to the store." "I went to the store," not "Me went to the store." Thank you. — English Is Our First Language.
Dear Eng: I hope this doesn't ruin your day, but I have been told by linguists that when a construction is used incorrectly often enough it becomes an acceptable part of the language. The "me and Joe" thing is no longer a no-no. Now ain't that a kick in the head? As for people realizing they are speaking incorrectly, that is unlikely to happen because people speak, well ... the way they speak. I do know that a lot of people use the "her and I" construction, but "her went to the store" I have trouble believing anyone would say.
As for your lovely man, only you would know how he would react to being corrected. You might tell him that it's a craziness of yours, but you're a stickler for grammar, and then teach him some of your tricks for parsing phrases. Do tread gingerly, though, because if he feels diminished, him and you will not be going to the store. — Margo, carefully
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers' daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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