Relationships are complicated, but happiness in a relationship isn’t: It’s just wanting exactly what you have. Wanting something else is dispiriting.

When people bypass simple solutions to write to someone like me, that tends to mean there’s an ulterior motive on board.

Caroyln Hax. Ha! Awesome.

Unhappy husband must look past cliché – The Washington Post

I’d never thought about this before:

Here’s something to consider: Not everyone is comfortable with the abundance of noise, speech, color, smell, touch — especially touch — involved with small children. They’re in your lap, your arms, they’re tugging your hands, your shirt, your hair. Again, this affects men and women, introverts especially, older more than younger, and leads both men and women to withdraw (though women still tend to be the parent in the thick of it).

Unhappy husband must look past cliché – The Washington Post

Behavior is easier to change than expectations are. […] Telling your enthusiasm and daydreams to sit in a closet till [the situation] proves worthy of them? That involves the hard work of identifying, and admitting, why you so badly need the validation. Repairing the source of the need is the answer here.

Carolyn Hax. I edited this quote to make it more general. Relates to another favorite line of hers: Let the facts write your dreams. Other Hax quotes I love.

Basing your friendships on what people have to offer, vs. what you want from them, can make them closer than they’ve ever been.

When you’re in denial about how invested you are in a single outcome, that’s when unrealistic expectations creep in.

Uncouple your own grief from the hopes you pin on others. All relationships stand alone; there are no replacements.

It’s so easy not to realize you’re under someone else’s influence. When we tell ourselves something, it’s always in our own voice, so it naturally seems like our idea. (Though we can often hear the influence when we say things aloud to others.)

Does cheater deserve a second chance? – Carolyn Hax – The Washington Post

Carolyn Hax tumbles are going to become a regular feature here. On the dangers of storytelling:

My advice is to discard whatever narrative you’re tempted to superimpose on yourself, your boyfriend, your relationship and whatever else, and just live by the reality you have in hand. That means recognizing that your partner is a temptation-wrestler or birthday-forgetter or stress-eater or emotion-bottler or whatever other trait just isn’t going away, no matter how much better life would be if it did. And it means choosing to stay with someone only if you can see these things as the price of a life that suits you well, not as temporary obstacles to some imaginary better life.

Does cheater deserve a second chance? – Carolyn Hax – The Washington Post

For a single person, thinking something through marks the end of the reasoning process; it becomes habit. But that gets the married (or life-partnered) person only halfway through at best.

Carolyn Hax. I used to read Hax all the time in the newspaper. Many thanks to Justin for reminding me that she’s still at it.