6/30/2014 3:12:00 PM Couple doesn't know what to do while son is away
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I took our 10-year-old son to sleepaway camp for the first time, and it was difficult to let him go. We have never been away from him for more than a night when he has gone for a sleepover at a friend's house down the street. Now he is going to be away for two weeks. He is thrilled, as he should be. We know that he will be OK, but we will miss him terribly.
The problem, though, is us. We've done hardly anything together since our son was born. We used to go on dates and enjoy our marriage. That seems to have died long ago. I worry about how we are going to spend our time together. In the past, when we weren't working, we could have fun together. The thing is, we don't have fun these days -- these years, in fact. We bicker a lot. How can we turn a squabbling time into something fun for us as a couple? -- Boringly Married, Cambridge, Massachusetts
DEAR BORINGLY MARRIED: Could you possibly be ready for what some call the "Come to Jesus" meeting, when you lay your cards on the table and talk about your marriage? If you bicker all the time and can't imagine life with your husband without your child, chances are you will end up either without each other or miserable when the time comes that your son moves away.
If you have the courage, go for it and figure out how to have a heartfelt conversation with your husband about your life. Rather than threatening him, consider staging an activity that you both will enjoy. Think about your shared interests and plan a fun date. Before that date ends -- and when you are sober -- tell your husband that you want to refresh your relationship. Tell him you love him and want to figure out where your happiness lies today.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I met a young woman in the lunchroom at my job. She was so happy and personable that we struck up a conversation. It turns out she has worked at my company for just a few months. She is bright but doesn't have her act together. She was dressed like she was going to a dance rather than to work. She also had pretty bad grammar for someone in the role she was hired to do. I am afraid that if she doesn't polish up her act, she will be fired. I want to help her, but she does not work for me. What can I do? -- Concerned Corporate Vet, New York City
DEAR CONCERNED CORPORATE VET: This may be your lucky day -- and hers. You sound like a mentor in the making. A mentor is someone who shares knowledge and insight with someone who is climbing the ranks, who has potential but can use some guidance. A mentor offers that input in ways that can be heard and imbibed. Seek this young woman out and offer to support her in this way. Then get to work!