DEAR SUSAN: Your reader Gabe wrote about the tendency of women to be constantly critical of their men. I see it in relationships around me and in the press. How many women's magazines claim to show women how to change their men, yet never write about how men should change their women? Men often are unwilling to ask their partner why she wants things done differently, and women are loathe to explain it. My elderly mother was at my house recently, still criticizing the way I run my home. In contrast, my wife rarely criticizes, and when she does, she explains how I can improve -- and praises me lavishly when I do. Of course, that's common sense, but we all know how uncommon it is.
DEAR BLOGGER: You've made my day by choosing a mate dissimilar to dear old Mom. Too often, people are so brainwashed by what they saw at home that they set up domesticity just like it. But not you, dear man. You may ask your nitpicking mama over for the occasional dinner, but when you shut the front door behind her, you return to the wise and tactful woman you married. She seems to intuit that more change is effected with positive conditioning. With your letter, I rest my case. Choose the mate you feel comfortable with, the one you would choose to be your friend. It's the easier and simpler way to ensure longevity -- for you and your relationship.
From the Single File blog
DEAR BLOGGER: Don't bad-mouth the man in question; that would only make him a martyr in her eyes. Point out the negativity the relationship is causing in her life: distancing friends, sending her to a therapist, losing her appetite and zest for life. If this were a healthy, supportive relationship, you'd have a radiantly happy daughter. When clarity finally comes to her -- don't say "I told you so." Have faith she will do the wise thing.