Dear Short Answers >> My husband and I recently retired. I've taken this as an opportunity to volunteer for several organizations and sit on a couple of non-profit boards. My husband has taken this as an opportunity to watch TV and wait for me to cook him dinner. I know that I am not responsible for his happiness (or his dinner), but he makes me feel like I'm cheating on him whenever I leave him home alone so I can attend a board meeting or volunteer at the elementary school. How do I get over my feelings of guilt? And better yet, how do I get him off his butt and out of the house?

— Pamela

DEAR PAMELA >> Ask him to take over marketing and meal preparation. He can fill in with cooking shows on TV or take a course locally. Presto — out of the house, and doing productive work.

If Momma ain't happy ...

Dear Short Answers >> It's not even Halloween yet and I'm already dreading Thanksgiving. Too much work, not enough fun ;(

— Slow Burn

DEAR BURN >> We hear you. Take steps now. Outsource some of the work to guests. Tell everyone exactly what you expect them to bring no later than November 1. On Turkey Day, your first priority should be your attitude.

The sadness of knowing

Dear Short Answers >> I always think I know the answer to other people's problems. I know when they are dating the wrong fellow, I know when it's time for them to change jobs, I know what they should do about bratty kids and I know when they should go on a diet. I also know that they probably don't want to hear it from me. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching a car crash about to happen and if they would only listen. What should I do?


— Know It All

DEAR KNOW >> We know exactly how you feel. And we sympathize. But nothing is more unwelcome than unsolicited advice, which you also know. Keep it zipped as much as you possibly can. You won't be sorry.

Keep it simple

Dear Short Answers >> There is a new woman who joined our office, who is absolutely delightful. She is smart, well-dressed, and probably in her 50s. The problem is that she seems to have no social life at all. I would love to set her up on a date with one of my friends, but I truly have no idea if she is straight or gay. How do I find this out without insulting or upsetting her?

— Want to be Helpful

DEAR HELPFUL >> Just ask her if she has any interest in being set up with a friend of yours. Then the ball is in her court.

Do what you have to do

Dear Short Answers >> Is it possible to quit drinking without AA?

— Thinking about It

DEAR THINKING >> Honest answer: we don't know. We have seen some people succeed on their own and some fail miserably. We have also seen people who have been helped by AA when nothing else worked. The important thing is to decide on your goal: Do you want to stop drinking? If you do, commit to whatever it takes. If you don't, it isn't about the technique.

A question of judgment

Dear Short Answers >> Do you honor every question you receive with a response? Or do you dismiss trash as such?

— Sincerely, Questions Galore

DEAR QG >> We answer all questions that meet our admittedly idiosyncratic standards.

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