It's something snoopers should think about when they go onto an e-mail account or phone. They're not just violating their partner's privacy, they also may find information that a perfectly innocent person never wanted to share with them.
On dealing with a loved one's engagement to an abusive mate:
Seeing a loved one get involved with an abusive partner can be incredibly difficult, especially if you see the loved one ignore obvious and repeated warning signs. If they've been together a long time, his sense of reality might be even more skewed than he lets on.
I speak from experience. I was engaged to a woman who was abusive and it took the continued efforts of friends and loved ones to see what I was too ashamed to recognize.
A victim of abuse is going to need someone to keep his sense of reality and self, particularly when she really starts to sink her claws into him. I am so thankful to friends and family who cared enough and helped me get my life back.
On deciding whether to have children:
When I was a newlywed, my mom gave me this advice: "If you cannot imagine yourself having a happy future without, have a child. If you can in any way see yourself living happily without, do not."
This has proved a useful guidepost in countless decisions since: divorce, remarriage, career choices, doughnuts, ad infinitum. I did choose to become a mother - three times - of astonishingly wonderful persons. After 36 years of mothering, here's what I think: If I could have known how wonderful the good is, I would have started 10 years earlier and had twice as many. If I could have known how awful the bad is, I would not have had any.
On being a post-career stay-at-home mom (and on those gauzy images of homemaking):
I was a "trapped" new mom many years ago. I compensated with rich volunteer work and involved my children when appropriate. It wasn't enough to overcome the loneliness of being home among nannies and housekeepers.
Fast forward to today . . . I received no credit for highly responsible and skilled volunteer work as I circulate my two-master's-degrees resume. I'm divorced with no 401(k) for the years I did not work. One child of the two still resents my being so "involved" in his life.
Just one version of an incredibly difficult position to be in as a mom, for what it's worth.
E-mail Carolyn Hax at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.