Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Boyfriend is stressed all the time

 

Dear Carolyn: How do you tell someone you love that you think they might have a psychiatric issue that needs to be addressed, i.e., crippling anxiety?

My boyfriend keeps saying he doesn’t want to get married until he’s ready to have kids because he’s stressed out all the time. However, he won’t do anything to alleviate the stress except to suggest moving across the country because the nice weather will make all of his problems go away.

I think it’s horse-pucky. His mom also has an anxiety disorder, which makes me think that’s what’s going on with him.

Wants to Move Forward

His anxiety is not the problem here. The problem is that you have a “move forward” agenda with your boyfriend and you haven’t yet learned to speak the truth to him.

“Your mother has an anxiety disorder. You’re telling me you’re too stressed out for marriage and kids, then doing some dance about weather. Isn’t it time to connect the dots and get screened for anxiety yourself?”

If expressing honest concern is enough to derail your relationship, then, wow, wouldn’t that be a good thing to know before you relocate or reproduce?

As-is, you don’t like your life with your boyfriend. The part of your brain that’s willing to admit this has to be the one doing the talking. You love him, so you’re going to worry that using this voice will be mean, but it’s not. Suppressing it is.

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

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