I'm Just Say'n

Crazy lil’ thing called love

CarolynCarolyn Magner is not a professional therapist, shrink or even a very nice person. Her advice is meant to entertain you, not solve your terrible, desperate problems. E-mail Carolyn at [email protected].


Dear Carolyn,

My husband is the worst gift giver ever. He always comes up with the most unromantic, boring, cliché gifts that I end up taking back or giving away. I could list all the appliances, exercise videos and kitchen tools I’ve received, but last year’s vacuum cleaner is the reason I’m writing this letter. Otherwise, he’s a great guy. What can I do to make Valentine’s Day something more than the big fat letdown it always is?



Dear Charla,

A vacuum cleaner? Really? That must have sucked (bangs head on desk).

The thing is, there’s a very simple solution. Just tell him what you want. Most guys would be thrilled to get a big fat hint. Trying to guess is always fraught with potential letdown. If you dream of red roses, tell him. If you crave chocolate-covered almonds, mention it. Gift getting is not nearly as complicated as we make it out to be. And, of course, it’s a two-way street. Listen closely to his wishes and make a point to fulfill them.

I’m just say’n.


Dear Carolyn,

My husband has never given me any reason to not trust him while he’s on the road. But sometimes I just can’t help worrying. I visit a truckers’ wives online support forum and so many women tell so many terrible stories about their men. I feel sick when I think about what could be happening out there. I love chatting with these women because nobody can understand the loneliness of being a trucker’s wife, raising your kids alone, doing all the finances and home repair. What do you think? Do you ever hear good stories about trucker marriages? Am I naive to think my husband is one of the good guys, or am I just looking for trouble?



Dear Jennie,

As my old granny used to say: “Never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.”

Most of the letters I get are from readers having problems in their relationships. I’ll tell you what I tell them. Surround yourself with positive people who have good marriages. Negative chatter is contagious. While I am a proponent of Internet support groups, make sure you sign off when the talk turns to trash. Negative energy attracts more negative energy. Seek the wisdom and companionship of people who have good things to say about their spouses. For everyone out there with an axe to grind, there are plenty of nurturing, healthy, long-term relationships. Find them. Hang around them. Watch how those involved do it. Lastly, make a commitment to yourself to never put down your spouse to anyone else. Well, except me, of course.

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I’m just say’n.


Dear Carolyn,

I hope this gets to you in time. I’m considering asking out a cute gal who works in the neighborhood coffee shop. She’s got a great smile, and everyone says she’s definitely interested. My problem is that it’s coming up on the most dreaded month of the year for us single dudes. I’m sure I’m not alone in this observation. I want to ask her out, but if we have our first date before Valentine’s Day, I’ll be tormented by the whole question of whether I should get her something on the 14th. If I wait until the holiday passes she’ll think I wimped out. And someone else might show up bearing roses and candy. And what if I don’t like her after the first date and she just thinks it’s because I’m too cheap to deal with Valentine’s Day? Maybe I should just wait until March.

What should I do?



Dear Ken,

Whew. Methinks you are overanalyzing this thing a bit. Just ask her out already. We can revisit all the worst-case scenarios after you have the first date.

I’m just say’n.


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