Diversions: I'm Just Say'n

Valentine’s Day Blues

Carolyn 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. Email Carolyn at [email protected].

Making up for last year’s mistake

Dear Carolyn,

Valentine’s Day is my least favorite day of the year. My wife expects me to go all out and I never quite live up to her expectations. Last year I told her we were not exchanging gifts and she agreed. That did not work out very well for me at all. This year, I’m resigned to the fact that I’ll have to do something romantic, expensive, thoughtful and surprising.

Any suggestions?


Dear Terry,

Oh dear. The no-gift thing didn’t work out? And you thought it would? Clearly you don’t read this advice column on a regular basis. However, it appears you are still together and you want to do better this year. I suggest you buy her a nice sparkly piece of jewelry, a box of her favorite candy and write a sweet mushy card telling her how wonderful she is. Then, wrap a small box holding another little sparkly and say it’s for last year.

I’m just say’n.


Girlfriend too compliant with mother’s wishes

Dear Carolyn,

My girlfriend and I are planning to get married this summer, and everything is going well. We are perfect together and have a great relationship. The only thing that I’m worried about is the fact that her mother is a real piece of work. She’s always in our business and is the most self-absorbed person I’ve even met. I have no idea how to handle her. Truthfully, I loathe the woman. My girlfriend is completely under her thumb and does whatever her mother tells her do.

Is there anything I can do about this situation?


Dear Billy,

Here’s how I see it. You plan to marry a woman who allows her mother to control her. This is important information. She is not likely to change just because you get married. In fact, Mommy Dearest may tighten the noose. If her mother realizes you don’t like her, things may further deteriorate.  I suggest you and your girlfriend have a frank talk. Put all your cards on the table. Tell her that you don’t intend to include your future mother-in-law’s opinion in your decision making. Consider going to counseling together where a professional can help unravel the reasons why she’s still under her mother’s thumb. There is always the chance her mother will let go of the strings after her daughter is married. Sort of like how there’s always the chance that the government will butt out of regulating trucking.

I’m just say’n.


Woman dating new guy still friends with her ex

Dear Carolyn,

I’m dating a great guy I’ll call “Tom.” Tom and I are both in trucking, though he’s long-haul and I’m local. We have a lot in common but there’s one problem: I’m still seeing my ex-boyfriend. He and I are just friends now, but Tom would be devastated to know we still get together. I feel guilty, but I don’t want to give up my friendship with the ex. He was the one to break it off with me so I feel like it helps my self-esteem to have him still in my life.

What should I do?


Dear Jessie,

Oh, by all means, let’s work on your self-esteem. Because you feel “guilty” about how devastated Tom would be, I am assuming you want me to tell you it’s OK?

Nope. Not going to do it. You are dating a great guy who thinks you are having an exclusive relationship. If you are hiding the casual friendship with your ex, you are lying to Tom. The answer is simple. Do the right thing. Tell the ex you are involved with someone else and then walk away and don’t look back.

I’m just say’n.


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