K. from Seattle asks: You’ve mentioned having “epically screwy” parents.  Sometimes I think the reason I’ve never married is because I would never want to subject a spouse to the unpleasantness of interaction with my family. What is your relationship with your parents now and how does that affect your relationship with your husband?

My Dear K,

I am tempted to think of you as Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black, the first “old guy” I ever found sexy. I will refrain.

It is entirely human to respond to dysfunction by avoiding any connection with anyone or any thing that might bring about more dysfunction; marriage being one of them. Too bad it means you might die lonely.

My relationship with my parents is governed by clear boundaries. My relationship with my husband is affected when I let slip my boundaries. Good boundaries are the reason my marriage is not a repeat of my parents’. Good boundaries are the reason my children can be descended from the mentally ill and the pedophilic without me having to worry that they will be similarly afflicted. Good boundaries are the reason you can trust I am not fantasizing about Tommy Lee Jones when I said I wouldn’t.

I can’t say enough about developing good boundaries. Here is where go when I feel them slipping.

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