His Wife Can't Keep Secrets

Q: My wife and I have been married 15 years. She's full of personality and is outgoing, but at times too outgoing. She can get kind of whacky and kooky, and I'm mostly used to it. Sometimes she blurts out things at a holiday dinner that we had previously decided to keep private. She changes her hair color all the time, and she goes nuts over different bands. Lately it's been getting to me. I don't know what I can say to get her to restrain herself sometimes. She doesn't know what's appropriate and what's not. — Don, 41

Dr. Susan: What you're saying is you like your wife's personality, but you'd like to be able to control it when it's over the top. You can remind her ahead of time, say before holiday get-togethers, asking her not to share anything private. Explain clearly what you mean. She can share anything about herself, but she should ask you before talking about you or private things involving you. If she drinks at such events, of course, don't expect her to contain her effusiveness. Remember that, unless she's remorseful afterward, she doesn't see her behavior as inappropriate. People persist in being themselves. Share your feelings with her, as many times as possible until she finally gets a glimmer of your meaning.

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