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Posted on Sat, Aug 17, 2013 : 5 a.m.

Reader feels pregnant women should not expect constant handholding from their partner

By Carolyn Hax

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

I have a pragmatic consideration for pregnant women who expect their husbands to come to every medical appointment. Assuming he has a regular job, it is probably not a good idea for him to use up all his leave and workplace good will attending non-medically necessary doctor's appointments to humor his wife. He may need that leave time and good will later in the pregnancy or during the first couple of years after the baby arrives.

For most parents, it's just not possible to do EVERYTHING together. As mothers, these women are grown-ups now and need to learn to do things without their husbands holding their hands for every routine appointment.

Also -- saying "we" are pregnant is just obnoxious.

-- Anonymous

I have a problem with "expect" in most cases, including this one. However, I'm a believer in the joint appointment, and I don't think that makes me insufficiently grown.

It's not just that the news coming out of these appointments is bad sometimes. It's that being in the moment together, be it a joyous one, or sad, or just plain ordinary, is beautiful, and also sets a useful precedent: There's not "your part" and "my part," there's "ours."

Now, if time off work is an issue and priorities must be established, then, yes, the routine appointment doesn't make the cut. And, again, togetherness works only when it's chosen, not forced.

As for "we are pregnant," I used to feel the same way, but now I agree more in a linguistic-fussiness way than an oh-barf way, for the same reason: A mutual, togetherness mindset is something to cheer for, and helps sustain marriages when the stress of young children famously strains them. I just wish people would say, "We're expecting," for the aforesaid fussiness reasons.

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Dear Carolyn:

A few months ago, my apartment was burglarized. The burglar left all doors and windows locked -- and these are bolt locks, meaning you need a key, so I believe it was my landlord or someone close to him. Given that, I couldn't stay there.

I had no in-state support, though, and no desire to move to where all my family lives. Given the options of homelessness, moving out of state, or living in a place where a burglar apparently had access to a key, I opted to move in with my boyfriend.

Except it was only temporary, and we weren't that serious yet. Now I've been approved for a new place, and he's sulking about my moving out. How can I do damage control here?

-- Moving Out

Don't do any damage control at all. Simply say how grateful you are that he took you in, and how confident you are this is the right move given that it's so early in your relationship.

Then move out, be genuine in your interaction with him, be clear in your intentions and be natural in your affection. Either he'll be able to adjust and come along with you on these new terms, or he won't.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.

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