Passport to Love

My fiancé’s son—I’ll call him “Jack”—just returned from Europe. He visited a country I’ve always dreamed of visiting. Jack called his Dad about getting together and I asked if I could come along. The answer was no. My fiancé said he hadn’t seen his son for a while and wanted to visit alone. I feel hurt and left out. After our previous discussions about a future together, I’m wondering if a future together is possible. Read more >

Don’t be his side hustle!

There’s a man who has pursued me for ten years. Three months ago, he began giving me little gifts that were so thoughtful and sweet. I just could not resist. I gave in and began a relationship with him. I’m glad I did. However, he has been in another relationship for 15 years. He and this other woman don’t live together, but they attend all social functions as a couple. What is the likelihood he Read more >

Picture This: He Has Photos of His Ex!

My boyfriend has framed photos of his ex-girlfriend in his house. The photos are all in a drawer, but it bothers me. I told him I didn’t want those photos in the house if we get married. He knows that the photos bother me, but he hasn’t done anything. We’ve been dating for two months. I’m certain he’s the one, but I want those photos gone. What should I do?

Stop opening that drawer! You’ve … Read more >

How to Love a Bully

Jake the dog and I are enjoying our afternoon walk when I notice two boys, about nine or ten years old, arguing across the street. They have school backpacks and appear to be headed home. One boy, his small face subdued, trudges forward. The other boy walks backward in front of him, muttering viciously. Suddenly he jerks forward and screams into the other boy’s ear: “Nigga!”

The harassed boy stops. “Don’t talk to me like … Read more >

Christmas Crisis: Dad says his GF’s my new Mom

My parents are divorced and my father moved in with his girlfriend of six months and her kids. I am fifteen and have to spend Christmas with my Dad. He told me that I have to call his girlfriend, “Mom,” and her kids, “my sisters.” I don’t want to. I told him no, and he started yelling and telling me that I am ruining his life. I cry every time I think about spending Christmas Read more >

I Failed the Angel Test (But Got My Writing Done)


My morning ritual includes drinking one cup of Lavazza coffee while I try to pin the remnants of dreams to a clean page in my journal. I prefer to write wrapped in silence. Most days I do—my neighbors have already shoved off to work—so Jake the dog’s soft snoring and birdsong outside my window are my only companions.

One morning, a window-rattling beat blows by, blasting from a car that stops suddenly in the middle … Read more >

For a Better Workplace, Learn Another Language


“Do you speak any other language than English?” asks the administrator of a company I’m in negotiating with for a contract gig. He scans my resume. I scan his cramped office.

“Yes,” I say, “I speak the language of love.”

“Oh, that’s good,” he says, chuckling. “I have to use that.”

He pauses, sits up a little straighter, and says: “I speak love.”

His face scrunches like he got a whiff of a bad smell.

Read more >

Confessions of An Advice Columnist

Confessions of An Advice Columnist

Fifteen years ago I began writing the Ask Joey relationship advice column. I didn’t want to. Melinda Welsh, the paper’s editor, asked three times and I nixed each request. But Melinda had decided that I was the perfect person to write the column because as a student of human relationships I would be more compassionate, open-minded and understanding than someone who considered herself an expert. Finally, she invited me to … Read more >