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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Definitions may be misleading

Steve and Mia Knight Ridder Newspapers

Q: Could you explain to me the difference (if any) among the following: “flirting with,” “hitting on” and “coming on to” women?

Steve: Definitions vary, but I’d say “flirting” could be half-innocent conversation, while “hitting on” would require an outright proposition. “Coming on to” is probably somewhere in between.

Mia: Forget definitions. The point is if you’re doing any of those right, then you’ll get phone numbers and dates. If you’re not, you’ll get weird looks, lame excuses and restraining orders.

Q: About a year ago I started seeing a woman whose boyfriend was incarcerated. She got pregnant around the time he got out, so the baby could be either of ours. I asked her if the baby was mine and she said no. Ironically, then I went to jail. Two months into my sentence, the baby was born. I just think I have a right to know. What do you think I should do?

Mia: You could all go on one of those very special Ricki Lake episodes where they do a paternity test. Or you could get out of jail, find a new girlfriend and start over. This relationship is only going to bring you grief.

Steve: If you’re serious about determining parentage, you’ll need a lawyer. A different one than you have now.

Q: I’ve been married for 25 years, and we’re pretty happy, but sometimes I can’t stand my wife and sometimes she can’t stand me. I see other married couples who seem to have no problems at all. That makes me wonder how good my marriage really is. Any ideas?

Steve: First, assume nothing about the happiness of other couples. Second, the only thing in life that compares to marriage is running a marathon. Sometimes it’s all physical; sometimes only mental toughness pushes you on. In the end, you get to the same place: Believing it was worth every minute.

Mia: I’ve never been married. But if you’ve been married for 25 years and say you’re “pretty happy,” I’d say that you’re ahead of the pack.

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