While I'm away, readers give the advice.

On parenthood

If it is supremely arrogant for a single parent to make a choice to have a child without first asking the "unseen, unknown child," it certainly follows that it is at least as arrogant for two parents to have a child together without first obtaining the child's permission to be created. If everyone were to follow this imperfectly reasoned conclusion, there would be no children. It is a flawed syllogism based on the impossible premise that the unconceived should be given a voice in the debate. Having children is

always

a selfish act from the children's perspective: They

never

get asked.

For a prospective parent or parents, there are tons of relevant questions to be contemplated - whether, for example, you are convinced that you have the capacity, love, wit, character, intelligence, patience, resources, resolve, and on and on, necessary to provide that proposed child with an enriching, meaningful foundation for life, but not whether you will be committing a selfish act. You will be. Just try to make it worthwhile for the "victim."

- Anon in Maryland

On ex-spouses who soar when they leave the marriage

I felt genuinely sorry for the guy who wrote saying that suddenly, now that she's with Man B, his wife likes cooking and socializing; but it occurred to me that, if we ever split up, my husband would probably be saying the same things about me.

Because if I ever remarry, I will be sure to find a man who:

Compliments my cooking instead of acting like he's eating it because he has to.

Will tell me that I look nice when we're going out.

Will pay some attention to me once we're out - not sticking exclusively by my side, mind you, but at least not forgetting I'm even there.

- The Shoe From the Other Foot

E-mail 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.