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Dear Starshine,

How can I support my bad actor friends without having to sit through yet another badly produced, terribly acted "fringe" piece?

Good news! You don't have to go to any of those shows!

That's entirely untrue, of course. I was acting. Did you like my performance? I felt like it was a little rushed tonight. Something was off with the audience. What did you think? No, really, I want to know…

Look, actor friends are a needy bunch, and you totally have to go. But it's not your responsibility to boost box office sales, ensure a full house, or generate uproarious applause during your pals' curtain calls....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

My ex and I got divorced last year. He's a nice enough guy, but he is nuts for this "prepping" thing. All he can talk about is the end of the world. He spent almost all of our money stockpiling food and guns and all manner of craziness. Okay, whatever. It's a free country right? The thing is, he now insists that our 8-year-old daughter (50/50 custody) must learn how to survive by shooting guns, killing livestock (I am not kidding), and skinning game. She screams bloody murder every time I say she has to go to her dad's. She is a sweet little kid who still believes in the Easter Bunny....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I am pro-animal rights but not fanatical about it. I'm not a vegan, not even a vegetarian, though I rarely eat meat. I support PETA, though not all their actions. I make an effort not to buy beauty products tested on animals. I only buy organic, free range, etc. All this said: I have in my possession a coat that was my grandmother's when she was young and fur was in. It's fabulous, with a fox collar (just fur, no actual fox head as sometimes seen from that era). The coat is utterly drab without the fur collar, and utterly fabulous with it....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I have a friend who I've been talking to on Facebook, and he's really kind and funny. I didn't know him that well before, but now we're pretty good friends. The problem is, Facebook is the only place where we can seem to be friends. When we try to talk to each other in real life, we just stare at the ground and draw a blank. We could have a brilliant conversation online one night, and then find ourselves speechless in person the next day. I just don't know what to say to him. It's not like I can sit down at lunch one day and say, "OK, I'd like to know you better, so let's tell each other our life stories....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I came down with the flu at work several weeks ago, so I went home — only to discover my 22-year-old son and my 43-year-old best friend in bed. They were not sleeping. I am at a total loss. I have no idea what to say to them. All of us are super embarrassed. Am I a prude? Ugh!

Come on! You people have to be making this stuff up. That did not actually happen. (Did that actually happen?)

OK, let's say it did. And let's say that in addition to not sleeping, they were also not watching Orange Is the New Black, not folding laundry, and not playing Stratego....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I began dating someone — we'll call him J — in May 2012. We were on and off all summer and fall trying to figure out what we wanted in a relationship, and finally ended up together. Then I saw a text from another girl (M) indicating he had slept with her. He didn't deny it, but because it happened during an "off" period, I let it go. A few months later, I discovered that he still had naked pictures of her on his phone — even after we had decided to be a couple. I felt stupid, disgusting, and used. We're no longer together for lots of reasons — but I found out that M has a long-term boyfriend (S) who doesn't know ...  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I've been friends with someone for 20 years. We were single and fun-loving in our 20s, but over the past 10 years, as people have settled down, stopped partying so much, and concentrated on finding partners, she is not finding anyone and does nothing proactive to do so. She's a very nice and supportive friend at times, but also has periods when she gets angry and stops talking to us. She pokes a lot of fun at me under the guise of humor. I get very stressed about what I say to her, as I don't want to offend her. But if I'm working this hard to keep things afloat — maybe she's the one with the problem....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I have been married for two years, and we just got pregnant. Neither of us was planning it and we were using birth control, but I guess we were the lucky 1 percent. I really love my husband... but he is a devout atheist and I am a devout Christian. I want to have the baby, and so does he, but we are having a hard time deciding how we will bring up our child. What do people do in this situation?

What people do in this situation is fret. And question their own beliefs. And field disconcerting questions from parents, and irritating remarks from in-laws....  More»

 
August 6, 2013, at 8:25 AM

Dear Starshine,

I dearly love my life partner. We've known each other since we were teens, own a home together, raise our children together. Last year, he began to spend a great deal of time talking about, and to, a female colleague. I grew concerned over the level of intimacy in their relationship. He assured me that he had no interest, that she was "like a daughter" to him, that she had no other friends. It's been more than six months since I found an ongoing series of text messages between them on his password protected phone, the contents of which included sexual innuendo and indicated that they were spending time together outside of work....  More»

 
August 2, 2013, at 8:50 AM

Dear Starshine,

Many adults are into the submission lifestyle — you know, wanting to be spanked. My wife and I do the spanking thing, and I swear, it does something for me that has made me the kind, caring person I am today. What do you think? Is there anything wrong with spanking? Just wanted to get your thoughts.

My thoughts? It's a little weird, man. Not blow-up doll weird or Fifty Shades of weird... but it's just not my thing, and I'm guessing Freud would draw some conclusions about your childhood that I'm sure we'd both rather not ponder.

But what does it matter what I think?...  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I'm a single father in a long-distance relationship with a single mom. We're both recently separated vets and the plan was for her and her child to join my kids and I once I found a job and a new place to live. Recently she's become distant and cold to me. She confessed that she's been feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and that she no longer knows what she wants. She has told me about other guys who live near her that she's interested in. She says they've chosen to remain just friends — yet one of them she calls her "cuddle buddy." She tells me it's for comfort and nothing more, but it seems she tells me these things for the sole purpose ...  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I'm almost 30 years old, male, heterosexual — and a virgin. I've never even kissed anyone on the mouth. It's not for lack of desire; I just have always been shy, overweight, and not well-endowed in the masculine sense. Now I'm terrified that I've missed the sexual boat and there won't be another one. I don't think I would be able to hide my inexperience in bed, so if I do become intimate with someone, I would have to tell her, and I am afraid that would cause any potential partner to lose interest. I also have the problem that my desire for young women has never been fulfilled, so it nags at me....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I have an elderly friend who is not a safe driver. At all. She doesn't see pedestrians or cyclists, has told me she thinks she hit a car but decided not to stop, and has a suspicious missing side view mirror and a long deep scratch on the other side of her car. In the past two years, DMV employees have let her pass without actually taking the driving test because they felt bad for her and wanted to "give her a break." I often drive her to appointments, but I don't have time to do it all, so I arranged for a transportation service to drive her when I can't....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

My husband and I have been married for 25 years, and we have one major problem: I have completely lost any attraction to him. He is a dear man, but I love him like a brother. I am repelled when he touches me romantically or sexually. I never truly had a strong attraction to him and I've always found myself very attracted to other men. But he was (and still is) a good match for me in many other ways, so I don't want a divorce. I have forced myself to tolerate sex with him for many years, but I just can't do it anymore. He is still very attracted to me and doesn't seem to mind much that I'm not....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

My husband just lost his job for the fourth time, hasn't earned a paycheck in three months, and doesn't see any urgency to get employment; he's just waiting to find a job he wants. Am I wrong to want to dissolve my marriage? I always end up taking the brunt of the financial hardship — using up my paychecks and dipping into my 401(k) to make ends meet. He's unable to collect unemployment because he was fired, but continues to spend money as if we still have two incomes. The last three times, I tried to work with him to deal with the financial obstacles, but the results are always the same and I become more resentful each time....  More»

 
July 12, 2013, at 9:00 AM

Dear Starshine,

I love a girl. She is my first cousin (my maternal uncle's daughter) and she loves me, too. We are planning to marry after a few years. I am from India, and in India marrying your cousin is very common. But I need to get some things clear. My uncle (let's call him person A) and aunt (person B) are cousins and are married. If I marry my cousin (daughter of A and B), could this have an effect on future generations, as the same genes have been circulated in the family? I started to worry when I saw that my cousin (son of A and B) was always ill....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

After 10 years together, and a lot of soul searching and serious conversations, my husband and I have decided not to have children. It would have been very difficult to conceive and I'm finally at peace with our decision after years of uncertainty. My dilemma is this: How do we communicate this to our family? Does this conversation need to take place in person? I'm leaning toward the coward's path of email — which seems a bit cruel, like breaking up with someone via text, but oh-so-tempting. I've also considered not telling them at all so they can draw their own conclusions....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I am losing hope. This world is heading in a downward spiral and there seems to be no way out. I watch the news and I see politicians who lie as easily as they breathe. Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, causing our ocean levels to rise with devastating consequences. Soon our planet won't have enough food to sustain the growing population. Toxins are merrily being pumped into our drinking water. Our prisons are being bought up by private companies who lobby for tougher laws to keep these prisons swelled to maximize their profits....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I have a family history of ovarian cancer, and my physician recently offered to do a blood test to determine if I have the marker (CA-125) found in ovarian cancer cells. I declined. Although it would certainly be a relief if I didn't have the marker, what would I do if I did? Wait while my anxiety soaked my ovaries in a cancer bath? Or am I being irresponsible?

When family history puts you at high risk of developing cancer, you can go one of two ways: Tell yourself that you refuse to live in fear while you're secretly living in fear, or go all Angelina Jolie on its ass....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,


I'm a young male in a two-year relationship. We felt our spark near the end of college; he was a smart, serious exchange student from Europe, and I was the shy, sensitive type. After graduation, I moved back home to California and he enrolled in a graduate program on the East Coast — so we've spent more time admiring and supporting each other from a distance than together. Lately, he has expressed frustrations about living apart for so long, and he criticizes me more often. At one point he even said we have more of a strong friendship than a romantic relationship....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I'm getting married, and the wedding plans were going smoothly until two weeks ago, when my fiancé's brother (a groomsman) decided to pull out of the wedding, saying he doesn't even want to be a part of our lives. This came as a total shock to us. He said he felt that my fiancé does not care about him. He expects them to hang out every weekend and for my husband-to-be to call more often. My fiancé is hurt by his brother, who seems to be slowly cutting the family off; he already doesn't speak to their mother. We tried apologizing, but he wanted guarantees that my fiancé will spend more time with him....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

My parents don't allow me to wear immodest clothes. This includes bikinis, short shorts, short dresses, skirts, and tank tops. Recently, while shopping with a friend, I bought a bikini top to wear this summer at my friend's pool. The thing is, I feel really guilty for lying to my parents. I can usually tell them everything and I hate not being able to tell them this. Any ideas on how to broach the topic?

Don't you sometimes wish you could tell the angel on your shoulder to shut the hell up? IT'S ONLY A BIKINI TOP, for crying out loud!

Alas, that nagging guilt you're feeling is a critical conscience alarm reminding you that you have something...  More»

 
May 31, 2013, at 9:00 AM

Dear Starshine,

I've been with my girlfriend for four years. She has a drinking problem. Over the years, she has reduced her alcohol intake. But lately she's drinking more. I drink two or three times a year. We fight a lot about alcohol because when she drinks, she gets aggressive, and I've become increasingly impatient about these drunken confrontations. I asked her to stop drinking around me for awhile so we could get along better. She grudgingly agreed, adding a smart-ass quip about how "we might not see each other that much if I can't drink around you....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

While not a big fan of indiscriminate inking, I admire tattoo artistry. I've made it to age 45 without a tattoo. But my evolving life (the loss of both parents, professional success, the launching of two of my three kids from the nest) has made me think more about bearing a symbol that would tell my story. I'd like a triskele — small, discreet, and elegant —and I'd get it where no one would see it unless I showed them. I've thought about this for over a year, and I really want to make the appointment to do it. But when I told my husband, he was extremely discouraging....  More»

 
May 17, 2013, at 9:00 AM

Dear Starshine,

My husband has a small penis. There, I've said it. We have an active sex life, and he is really good with his hands, so he thinks that as long as he's giving me orgasms his size doesn't matter — but it's starting to. For me, orgasms aren't everything. Sometimes it's difficult to feel him, and I like a sensation of fullness. I don't know how to tell him this for fear of crushing him. 

For the love of God, don't tell him! No, no, no, there's no reason to bring that up.

We're gonna work this out, but you have to promise not to criticize your husband's meager member....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

My mother-in-law is dumb as a bag of hammers and actually dyes her hair blonde. However, she absolutely loves my toddler daughter. They get along famously — perhaps because of an intellectual equality the two may share — and play and squeal all day long. My daughter was fortunate enough to have her parents' intelligence passed on to her. She is quite clever and full of personality for a 15-month-old. My question is this: Is there any possibility, with prolonged exposer, that my mother-in-law could dumb down my daughter?...  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I've been dating the same man for more than seven years. In year three, I caught him on Match.com. He denied that he put himself on there, told me that the site just sends him emails, and assured me that he's in this relationship with both feet. OK, everyone deserves another chance. But I just caught him on Match again; the guff ball asked me for computer help and his message window opened up with 31 matches. Again he swore that it's just junk mail. But he is 66 and should know the difference between right and wrong. I do still love this man....  More»

 
April 26, 2013, at 9:00 AM

Dear Starshine,

Recently, a video went viral of a father mercilessly beating his daughters with a cable wire. I saw it, and it's been haunting me. All the old memories of my childhood have flooded back. My father would dole out similar beatings to my brother and I. We have permanent scars on our backs, chests, and legs to prove it. My wife Becky is pregnant with our first child, and we've been discussing how to raise our daughter; we want to be on the same page about discipline. Becky feels that an occasional whack or spanking is acceptable as long as it's done as a last resort and not past the age of eight....  More»

 

Dear Starshine,

I left my controlling, abusive ex a year ago. We have two small boys together. I met him when I was 16 and left him at age 24 due to his drinking, cheating, and domestic violence. I'm not in love with him anymore, but will always have a spot in my heart for him as the father of our children. A part of me misses him and wonders if things would work if we gave it another shot and acted as adults instead of immature children. The only way to find out would be to give us another try... but I'm wondering if my heart, soul, and sanity could handle it if we didn't work out, or if things went back to the same routine....  More»

 
April 12, 2013, at 9:00 AM

Dear Starshine,

I haven't spoken to my drama-queen mother-in-law for nearly three years. It dates back to the time she visited my husband and me when we had been married for two years, and told him that I was using him, that she didn't think I had ever loved him, and that he should divorce me and come live with her. She claimed that his old high-school job was waiting for him, and that she had remodeled his old room. Now whenever my in-laws visit, I go home to see my family. My husband still visits his parents at their home a few times a year without me....  More»

 
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