Do you have questions about pets, parents, partners or office politics? Jeanne Marie Laskas has answers
Q: Because I'm "insensitive" and "mean," my husband of four and a half years has decided to leave me. He still wants us to date each other exclusively in hopes that his love for me will be rekindled. I'm inclined to agree, but my friends think I'm crazy for even considering it. Of course, what they don't get is, unlike him, I never fell out of love. What do I do?
A: So your husband wants you to re-woo him, to revisit those heady days of courtship? Is that what he means by love? He's dreaming. We can't go backward in relationships despite our longing for the thrill of those earliest, giggly dates. I'm with your friends on this one. Apologize to your husband for anything you did wrong. Then invite him to continue to grow old with you. It's the only option you have to offer.
Q: I had an absentee mom growing up. I'm over any trauma I suffered from that odd relationship. But I'm afraid that when I do decide to start my own family, my kids will wonder, Where's Grandma? How should I tell them that "Grandma" will never be a part of their lives?
Jeanne Marie Laskas gives advice on faith and relationships.
A: Whoa, listen to yourself, sister! You're worried about how to tell children you don't yet have about shortcomings in their relationship with their grandmother, who isn't a grandmother yet. Imaginary problems such as these are usually hiding real ones. In other words, you're not "over" the trauma of your mother's absence. Do your future kids a big favor: Get some counseling today so you can avoid transferring your childhood burdens to them.
Q: Our new parish priest is tearing our congregation apart. He hounds us to make unnecessary renovations, has a "my way or the highway" attitude, and bullies the choir. Our church has never had such a negative undercurrent. Do we ask the diocese to help resolve our differences, or do we hope he'll just leave when his tenure expires in a year?
A: Give peace a chance. Go to the diocese and ask for help, without placing blame. A church is a community, and this one is breaking. Chances are, Father Cranky doesn't want to be cranky. Maybe someone can help you reach out to him.
Q: Please suggest a kind way to let a coworker know that she has severe body odor. The smell is so bad that other coworkers want to mail an anonymous letter to her home. She's a lovely woman, and I don't want to see her humiliated. I just want her to bathe.
--Holding My Breath
A: Ordinarily, I'd say this was a job for your supervisor, but you reveal an uncommon level of kindness, so I'm volunteering you. Nix the anonymous letter; anyone would crumble under the weight of that humiliation. Instead, address her directly and with compassion. Tell her what the problem is. Give her a gift card to a fancy soap store. Tell her about a time when someone pointed out something embarrassing about you. If you can't think of anything, make it up. Let her know you're all in this together.