There are too many excellent advice columns to keep up with, so we're committed to bringing you links to the best advice column questions and answers every week. Here's a roundup of the most interesting, thought-provoking and surprising questions that our favorite columnists (and subreddits) addressed in recent days.
Should I File A False Police Report To Get My Stepson Arrested?
I am in my 60s and newly married to an amazing woman. We both have adult children. All are loving, sharing adults who get along well, except for my wife's son, who is very likely the most entitled person I have ever met and, deep down, unhappy and very insecure.
My wife and I have a wonderful marriage, but I subscribe strongly to the adage we are only as happy as our unhappiest child. Friends of his recently told us that he has a drug problem. My wife and I are committed to providing her son with the help he needs, so long as he acknowledges the drug abuse, but he denies he has a problem.
Through professional association, I am well versed with personality disorders, addiction and therapy programs. We have informed him that unless he is willing to take this step forward, he will be persona non grata at family events. My wife is now being emotionally abused by his diatribes. He is used to getting his way, and he believes he is above the law. Knowing he will not seek help, I have been considering sending an anonymous tip to the police about a drug party at his address. Thoughts?
Kwame Anthony Appiah strongly discourages the letter writer from calling the police. "Many Americans would shake their heads at your serene view of law enforcement as an instrument to be deployed and controlled as you wish," he writes. Read the rest of his answer.
What's The Best Way To Get My Boss To Stop Pretending To Punch Me In The Groin?
My manager keeps pretending to punch me in the groin when I walk past. This happens at least once on every shift. I have asked him to stop doing it more than once, as it makes me jump back and I suffer from a back injury, so it can be quite painful. He laughs about it when he does it, and I am sure he does it in jest, but he refuses to stop doing it. He simply laughs and says he would never actually hit me there, but it's automatic to jump back out the way.
My friend who is a store manager in another store informs me that because of where he aims, it can be deemed as sexual harassment. Is this the case and what is the way forward?
Alison Green encourages the letter writer to try one more direct conversation telling the boss to stop, and then go above the boss's head. "Any even mildly competent company is going to prioritize their legal well-being over some dude's desire to fake-punch other dudes in the groin," she writes. Read the rest of her answer.
Should I Estrange Myself From My 14-Year-Old Sister Because My Girlfriend Had A Dream That She's A Witch?
My girlfriend's mom is a very unorthodox Christian. She has a lot of bizarre beliefs and basically believes that God still contacts people today through dreams and signs. She believes that He has "chosen people" that he has a special relationship with and gives messages to.
My girlfriend is in some ways worse than her mom and in some ways better. She believes that she's one of those chosen people…
Last night/this morning, my girlfriend apparently had a dream where "God" basically told her that my sister is evil and to have nothing to do with her. She thinks my sister has somehow gotten involved in witchcraft. My sister is 14. She literally had a nightmare and believed it…
She wants me to talk to my sister and basically try to get her to stop. If she won't stop then my girlfriend wants me to cut my sister off.
I don't want to disrespect her religion but this is just insane. What do I say? What do I do? We've been dating since 8th grade so breaking up with her would cause a ton of emotional pain that I just can't handle right now.
The commenters on the r/relationship_advice subreddit overwhelmingly advise the letter writer to break up with his girlfriend. "Do not continue to enable or go along with this behavior," one of them writes. "Do not give credibility to these delusions and above all you should defend your kid sister." Read the rest of their answers.
How Can I Get My Roommate To Train Her Dog, Which Keeps Scratching And Growling At Me?
My roommate of three years and I get along great, and I consider her a very close friend. I own the house, and she rents a room. Last year, she asked if she could get a dog. I love animals (I have three cats), and I said yes. We were both clear that I was never responsible for walking or feeding the dog. We did not discuss training, which I now regret. The dog jumps up to lick the counter dozens of times a day and guards my roommate's room and growls if I walk by the door. She displays aggression toward me about once a week (growling and jumping up to scratch my stomach and back). I have already decided that if she bites me, I will tell my roommate the dog cannot live here anymore.
My roommate has been talking about sending the dog to an intensive training program for a couple of months, but it keeps falling through. Recently, after another scratching incident, I told her that she had to get the dog into a program. She said everywhere was closed or had long waiting lists because of the virus. Do you think I should lay out a specific deadline at this point, like: The dog needs to be in a program in the next 60 days or she needs to rehome the dog or move out? We have had a lot of discussions about the dog's training, but I have never raised the possibility that the dog will need to leave, and I am afraid she will react very badly to that suggestion. She has also brought up money as a barrier to training the dog a lot. We have vastly different socio-economic situations, and I really don't want it to sound like I am saying, "Spend all this money or I am kicking you out." I really don't want to hurt my friend or cause damage to our friendship, but I also don't want to be scared of a dog in my own house.
Danny M. Lavery urges the letter writer to tell the roommate that the dog has to begin training immediately if the roommate wants to keep living together. "You've avoided having specific, necessary conversations out of fear that you'll hurt your friend's feelings, but she seems unconcerned that her dog has been hurting you, so it doesn't feel like that care is going both ways," he writes. Read the rest of his answer.
Should I Continue Taking Deep Offense When People Ask Me And My Wife How Long We've Been Together?
My wife and I are elderly, and we are often asked, "How long have you guys been together?"
This is usually directed to my wife, who has some cognitive issues that I believe the questioner has perceived. People who ask such questions to someone they suspect has cognitive issues are, in my opinion, low forms of humanity, and do not deserve a polite answer.
My wife usually hesitates and looks to me to help her out, asking "How long?" If they both insist, I turn, give the coldest expression I can muster and mutter, "I don't remember."
This ends the matter, but if it happens to be two women together asking the rude question, they start whispering to each other that I am a grouch.
Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin take issue with the letter writer's assertion that asking about the longevity of a relationship makes someone a "low form of humanity." "These ladies were not even really interested in your conjugal history," they write. "They were just trying, awkwardly, to make conversation." Read the rest of their answer.
What Should I Do About A 60-Year-Old Woman I Know Who Wears Clothes I Don't Like?
I know a 60-year-old woman who wears high-heeled shoes and no pantyhose with miniskirts — without even a slip underneath. When she wears light-colored miniskirts, they're somewhat see-through in the daylight. She wears bikini-style underwear, and through the skirt, there are visible rolls around her bottom, waist and stomach. She's not really someone to whom I can say something, so what would you recommend?
Annie Lane keeps her answer brief: "Quit looking so closely." Read the rest of her column.