Metal

“This is supposed to be such a joyful time of year, but try as I might, I always end up sad and depressed around the holidays. And of course, with Covid this year, it’s even worse. ...

“Cal and I met when we were in law school. He was smart, funny, and very outgoing. I was more serious but somehow, we clicked. We married right out of law school and life was fast-paced and passionate...

“I’m having an issue with my husband of three years. Jax is a wise and kind guy who’s really into things being done the ‘right’ way. When he’s stressed, he can get pretty dismissive, but other than that we usually get along really well. Recently, though, we had a significant argument about the upcoming elections. I can’t believe what’s happening in our country and am terribly concerned. Jax just shrugs and tells me not to worry. ...

“I’m having trouble with a neighbor who keeps using our outdoor pool without being invited. Other than the social distancing thing, her five children splash water all over, run around the pool when we’ve told them to walk, and generally don’t follow the rules. We are already stressed and having rude neighbors here ruins things for my family. I want to do the right thing, but also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or create a difficult relationship with the people next door.”...

“My husband Roland is a truly kind person, but he has a deep appreciation for structure and doing things the “right” way. Since the pandemic hit, Roland has become judgmental, overly critical, and even somewhat sloppy. His art gallery has reopened, and sales are picking up, but Roland isn’t getting back to his usual self. I’ve tried to support him by bringing cookies and his favorite lunches to the gallery but nothing seems to work. Help!”...

“I’m the mom of two small children and having them home so much lately has given me an opportunity to observe more closely the ways they act with other family members. Are children’s elemental personalities already fixed in place when they are 4 years old and 7 years old?”...

“Family is very, very important to me, but I am having trouble with two cousins who appear to have an overwhelming need to control my life. They strongly suggest that I do things the way they do, according to what they think is right. I have friends that seem to act this way toward me, too. When I haven’t done what they suggest, it has caused family rifts and the breakup of friendships. The pushy people in my life also don’t seem to feel the need to apologize for their actions, so it’s often up to me to make the first move, which doesn’t feel right. What can I do?”...

“For the first time in almost 35 years of marriage, my husband and I are having trouble. If I look back at when things changed, it was probably five years ago when my brother died and I had hip replacement surgery. Instead of the fun-loving, happy homemaker I had been, I became a warrior determined to come back better than ever. Initially, Brad was very supportive and encouraging, but not anymore. Once I recovered, I found that I actually liked being more assertive, even if it meant I was often angry or frustrated. But apparently Brad doesn’t like it. He’s been uncharacteristically opinionated and cruel, is working longer hours, and generally seems to be pulling away.”...

“Our daughter divorced last year and when the pandemic started, she moved back home with her two-year-old son. Since they’ve been with us, Weston has really changed. I thought this would be a great time for our family with Stacy managing her IT team from here and Weston’s promotion. But my previously optimistic, go with the flow husband has become a gloomy cynic who ignores Stacy, picks on Jimmy, and eats potato chips like there’s no tomorrow.”...