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Husband OK with her ties to exes

While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On maintaining relationships with exes:

I keep in touch with my two or three meaningful ex-boyfriends by e-mail a couple of times a year, and have dinner with them every few years when they travel through my city. My husband is completely fine with this. He does not pressure me to include him in these contacts, just as he does not pressure me to include him in my contacts with my dear, old female friends.

He knows -- because I married him -- that I want to spend my life with him and not someone else; that he and I are physically and emotionally intimate in very private and important ways; and that I am utterly, completely committed to him and to our children. But, he also knows that my ex-boyfriends played meaningful roles in making me the person I am now.

And, my husband understands that people often don't stop caring just because certain relationships didn't work out; that I am entitled to a certain level of emotional autonomy; that my exes must have some good qualities or I wouldn't have spent years with them; that my exes are important ties to my past memories and history; and that my exes understand who I was in ways that my husband can't (because he didn't know me then). My husband's views on this are especially striking because he doesn't have any exes himself. He just understands people.

-- Los Angeles

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On unmarried, childless people who are weary of the bridal/baby shower circuit:

It's not a bad idea for those married with children who have single, childless friends to go a little overboard to celebrate turning points in their lives. I have a friend who has made beautiful baby sweaters, sent wedding and shower presents to friends, relatives and classmates. When she bought her first house, two of us showed up with a housewarming gift.

Come on folks. Notice this stuff (promotions, new house, special trip, etc.) and make it special for those "givers" in your lives. It doesn't have to be big, but some acknowledgment of the turning points and special moments is good for everyone.

-- S.

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On someone who isn't a morning person and gets nasty about it:

She marries him. They have a family.

Is he on or off the clock when there's disruption in the night?

I nursed my babies, so I was mostly the one on. But if there was puking or a kid was cold, he had to step up fast.

He never was nasty to me or the kid involved. Shoot, even when I cannot stand the man, when he's on my last nerve, I am aware we're a good team, and that kind of awareness can either float or sink a marriage.

-- 32 years for us next month

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