Dear Carolyn • I am a traditional person and believe couples should marry before living together. My son has a live-in girlfriend. How do I respect their choice without condoning it? I do not want them to be an example to younger members of the family of how things are done. Should the live-in be invited to family gatherings, be viewed as "part of the family," etc.? Or should we be cordial and polite but not so inclusive as to blur the lines between real family and pseudo-family?
Dear Anonymous • I think you should try to rewrite that question with a little more contempt. "Pseudo-family"? If you hope to have any kind of relationship with your son, treat the girlfriend as you would any girlfriend. "Condoning" isn't up to you since, presumably, they are adults making choices for their own lives.
Dear Carolyn • Love your columns and chats; however, I disagree with your sporadic jabs and diatribes at women who find ways to incentivize their men to stay (a la baby). I hope you are honest enough with yourself to acknowledge that guys play their own "games," too. We are all just trying to survive and be happy in this world.
Incentives to Stay
Dear Incentives to stay • Of course guys play their own "games." I've done crappy, manipulative stuff, too. I don't applaud any of it. Are you seriously suggesting that because "guys" play "games," we're all justified in behaving like children? In being anything other than straightforward? And are you seriously suggesting it's OK to try to get pregnant in hopes of forcing a man to stay with you? It's not only immoral to "incentivize a la baby," it's impractical. I hope you're honest enough with yourself to acknowledge that plenty of times the father leaves anyway, if not right away then a few (or many) years into the coerced commitment. So, no, I'm not budging on this, except to redouble my efforts to distribute jabs without regard for the gender of the game-player.
Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.