Turn loved one’s quirks into lik­able traits, read­ers sug­gest

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST/TELEVISION - CAROLYN HAX

While I’m away, read­ers give the ad­vice.

On the power of the mind, Part 1:

Try men­tally re­fram­ing your at­trac­tion to your part­ner. Cul­tur­ally we seem in­clined to treat at­trac­tion as an in­vol­un­tary, have-it-or-don’t type of thing. To a cer­tain ex­tent that’s true. How­ever, within lim­its — both of your own men­tal flex­i­bil­ity and your in­di­vid­ual ori­en­ta­tion/pref­er­ences — you can still “teach” your mind to like pre­vi­ously unattrac­tive things.

It’s an ex­ten­sion of the way fond­ness can grow as you get to know a per­son.

It feels weird at first to try to push your mind this way, but as long as it’s within re­al­is­tic lim­its and for a pos­i­tive goal, I’ve found it to be re­ally worth­while.

— Anony­mous On the power of the mind, Part 2:

I dearly love my part­ner as he, I know, loves me. As all peo­ple, we each have quirks that could be­come that burr un­der one’s sad­dle and lead to petty squab­bles. When he puts a dirty dish with food bits on it in the side of the sink that doesn’t have the food dis­posal in­stead of the side that does, for ex­am­ple, I think, “Isn’t that adorable,” in­stead of get­ting an­noyed.

Life is short; we need to laugh as of­ten as pos­si­ble.

— N. On the “al­ways at­tend the fu­neral” ex­cep­tions:

There are many rea­sons not to at­tend a fu­neral. And one should not be re­quired to pro­vide a “proper” ex­cuse or be os­tra­cized for fail­ure to at­tend a fu­neral.

Raised by my el­derly grand­mother, I grew up at­tend­ing fu­ner­als fre­quently. My older sis­ter had an un­for­tu­nate ex­pe­ri­ence at one and would only at­tend there­after if she was taken with force. As an adult, she does not at­tend any. It is a fam­ily joke that she is un­likely to at­tend even her own fu­neral. I am re­luc­tant to at­tend fu­ner­als as I have got­ten older be­cause my cry­ing has be­come in­creas­ingly un­con­trol­lable.

There are many other ways to show sup­port for a per­son who has lost a loved one. Some peo­ple like a per­son to sit at the house dur­ing the ser­vice to de­ter thieves. If there is a post-ser­vice re­cep­tion, some­one could be set­ting up the food for af­ter the ser­vice. A per­son may sit qui­etly with the be­reaved and hold a hand or just lis­ten. There are a mul­ti­tude of ways to show sup­port with­out at­tend­ing the fu­neral.

The griev­ing does not stop at the fu­neral. Ask the griev­ing if they would like to talk about their loss. Ask them if they need any­thing. Ask them if you can bring them a meal or vac­uum the car­pet or dust the fur­ni­ture or pick up gro­ceries.

— C.

On be­ing the new part­ner of some­one at war with an ex over their kids:

Gently re­mind him that he chose to fall in love and marry her, as well as have a child with her, so she must have some re­deem­ing value. En­cour­age him to look for that, if noth­ing else, for the sake of their child. — D.

Chat on­line with Carolyn at 11 a.m. each Fri­day at wash­ing­ton­post.com. Write to Tell Me About It in care of The Washington Post, Style Plus, 1150 15th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071; or email


Washington Post Writ­ers Group/NICK GALIFIANAKIS

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