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Q: “Should I break up with my girlfriend because she doesn’t agree with my dog (which I’ve had for 3 years) living with us in my apartment?”

A: Well, it seems like you’re in a bit of a tough bind. The biggest thing you can do to start this process is sit down and have an intentional and thoughtful conversation with your girlfriend about your concerns. I would not walk into this conversation and say “you don’t get along with my dog and I think we might need to break up with you because of it.” I can promise you that nine times out of ten, this will NOT go over well. Try to center the conversation around understanding why she doesn’t get along with your dog. Maybe she hates all dogs, maybe she was once attacked by a dog that looks a lot like yours and is scared she’ll get bit again, or maybe your dog is just aggressive to anyone who isn’t you. You won’t know until you talk about it.

If it’s a fear of your dog, you might be able to work together to help her over her fear. If your dog is aggressive towards her, then you can try to train it to not act that way. If she just hates dogs and neither of you wants to compromise on this, then that could be the deal breaker for you.

If I were you, I wouldn’t hinge my entire relationship on that one factor. However, it would give me pause for reconsideration. A lot of factors go into finding a significant other, so many that most of us likely won’t find someone who fits all of them. This isn’t to say that we can’t love someone who doesn’t fit all of the constraints we expect, but simply note that we are human beings. Things don’t always go according to plan, and we often fall in love with people who we least expect. If this issue is something that is that important to you, be up front in the future about your dog and ask if your significant other likes dogs to prevent it from happening again.

Q: “I came into quite a bit of money recently and I want to use it to help pay for college. What should I tell my parents about how I got it (lottery), or should I even lie at all?”

A: First, congratulations!!!! We stan college students coming into considerable wealth by any legal means. Now the question is what to do with it, but it seems like you might have an idea.

I can’t say too much how your parents might react, but honesty is usually the best policy. The way in which you go about being honest is the most important part. If your parents are super against gambling and entering the lottery, it may be best to open the conversation with a confession like: “[insert what you call your parents], I made a mistake. I bought a lotto ticket. Thankfully, nothing bad has come of it; actually, something very fortunate came of it…” Admitting wrongdoing and promising (if you can truthfully do so) to not repeat the behavior is typically an admirable quality, especially if done unprompted. Put yourself in their shoes: if someone hides something from you and you find out in a different way than from them, especially long after it happened, it makes you start to wonder: “Why didn’t they tell me? Do they not trust me? Were they doing something they shouldn’t have?”

If your parents aren’t against gambling, but they’re concerned about what you’ll do with the money, it may be best to be straight forward and ask them for advice: “[parent names] you won’t believe what happened! I won a LOT of money from the lottery. I wanted to ask you for advice from you about what to do with it. I would like to use [some or all] of it to help pay for school. What do you think?”

Your parents aren’t the only people you should be taking advice from though; this is a great place to use you connections. If you, your parents, your friends or anyone else in your network know someone who works with finances, tell them that you had some financial questions and are asking around for advice. You don’t necessarily need to disclose to these people that you won the lottery, just that you were curious about what they would do if they had that sum of money lying around.

Personally, I would recommend not using all of it to pay for school right away (unless you need to to stay on time with your payments if you have loans). As college kids, we are young and it’s hard to start investing seriously this young. Depending on the amount you won, I would set aside some of it (less than I’d use for college) to invest in; open an account, take a little time to watch the market, do some research or talk to some experts and buy and sit on the stock. By the time you’ve had a stable job and turned a profit, you can then use that money to either pay off any loans you have out or use it for something else.

Q: “Is it okay for men to cry when their dog gets put down?”

A: In a word, yes. I don’t see the names of who sent these, but I hope you’re not the same person who asked about your dog and girlfriend not getting along.

Crying is an extremely normal, human response to extreme emotion. We cry when we’re extremely happy, and when we’re extremely sad. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or not. Deep down, humans function in many innately similar ways. If you care about your dog, I’d be more concerned if you felt nothing when the dog was put down. You might feel a range of emotions depending on the circumstances: sadness, guilt and anger are the most likely to be on that list. Crying can provide a healthy and cathartic release of emotion that will let you move through your feelings instead of latching onto them forever.

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