Too-Needy Wife Wears Him Out

Q: I recently changed jobs and am no longer as available during the day to communicate with my wife. It's not unusual for her to call or text me at least five or six times. I simply don't have time to respond, but if she doesn't hear from me within the hour, she acts as if there has been a major catastrophe. I'm not sure how else to explain that I have to work and that it isn't a reflection on our relationship. Her constant neediness is starting to wear on me. — Frederic, 52

Dr. Susan: Not only is your wife exhibiting a lot of neediness, but she clearly doesn't have enough to do that's truly engaging to her. I can only suggest you emphasize to her that your lack of response is not about her, but about the busy nature of your new job. Current research has found that dividing one's attention too much, multi-tasking, and being distracted by lots of interruptions, causes problems with thinking. She wouldn't want you to make mistakes at work, would she? Shut your phone off if you can and tell her why. And be sure you pay special attention to her when you get home.

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