Dear Prudence answers readers' questions live at Washingtonpost.com.

Real-time discussions with Slate writers.
Aug. 31 2009 3:13 PM

Should I Confess My Schoolgirl Crush?

Prudie counsels a lovelorn student—and other advice seekers.

(Continued from Page 2)

They're wrong though—I put myself through all of my schooling through scholarships, multiple jobs, and internships. My parents have never paid for my schooling. I find it hurtful that people assume I'm a rich snob who is buying her way through college. What can I say to these people? Should I say anything? Am I being too sensitive?

Emily Yoffe: "My mommy and daddy couldn't afford it either. I put myself through school."

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He's not just a narcissist: Sounds like dementia to demand a 70-year-old woman get big hooters.

Emily Yoffe: No, he could just be an old narcissist.

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"Still, a part of me thinks we were meant to be": I wish we could get rid of this pernicious myth once and for all. "Meant to be" is so often an excuse for behaving badly or selfishly.

Emily Yoffe: Great point. Let's toss it on the same heap where we toss "closure."

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Chicago: I'm looking for an objective opinion on a delicate situation. Almost two years ago, my sister lost a pregnancy in her second trimester. It was devastating for everyone, but she and her husband had a second, successful pregnancy and now have a 7-month-old girl. The problem is, she still talks—a lot—about the child from the first pregnancy and even signs his name to birthday and holiday cards. She is always quick to point out that she is the mother of two children, which is very unsettling—especially to many young cousins who are too little to understand the situation. I've thought about talking to my sister and asking her—at least—to stop using the child's name on birthday cards and presents, and also to express concern about how this behavior might eventually impact her daughter, but I'm not sure how to broach the subject. Should I keep my mouth shut?

Emily Yoffe: Yes, you should very delicately talk to your sister. It's terrible she miscarried late in the pregnancy, but she sounds truly stuck, and it is deeply disturbing for her to sign cards with the name of a baby that died before it was even viable. Do not tell her to stop talking about herself as the mother of two or suggest she's going to mess up her new baby. Just say you're concerned she's still feeling grief over her miscarriage. Before you talk to her find some support groups for women who have miscarried, then you can suggest she might be helped by talking out her feelings with others who have gone through this.

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San Bernardino, Calif.: Help!!! I read my daughter's text and she and her boyfriends are "touching" each other. No sex YET, but I am sure they are thinking about it. ... She is only 15. How do I talk to her and make her understand that is not a good idea? She is too young for sex.

Emily Yoffe: If you haven't been talking to her all along in her life about what she's doing, and about her feelings and relationships, it's hard to start now by saying, "I read your texts, and first and second base are fine, but NO HOME RUNS!" Instead of seeing this as you telling her not to have sex (ask Sarah Palin how well that works), see this as an opportunity to talk to her about her life and to discuss actions and their consequences.

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New York: My boss's sister recently died, and she is incredibly broken up about it (understandably). Less understandable is the fact that my boss is keeping tabs on who has sent what in the way of condolences—even though she's away dealing with the funeral, she has been going over the list with her assistant, who, of course, tells some of us in the office. My boss's comments range from "I can't believe Mary only sent that tiny bouquet" to "I've known Dan for years, and he doesn't even bother to acknowledge my loss?" My boss and I are not close, and I actually report to two other supervisors more often than to her, but she is known to hold personal grudges for a long time, and so I now feel obligated to "send something." Factor in the info from her assistant, and I'm inclined to go for something bigger rather than smaller to avoid her sullen attitude later. My partner and I got into one of those silly fights that couples have about this: His argument was that she's being a pill about the whole thing and a card should suffice, but I'm really worried that this could have a negative impact on my work life. What do you think, card or giant bouquet of whatever flower means "sorry for your loss?"

Emily Yoffe: Sorry for her loss, and sorry she's your boss. Send a note of condolence and then make a contribution in your boss's sister's name to some appropriate charity (your contribution can be $10). Make sure it's a charity that sends a notification that a gift has been made in honor of a loved one.

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