Wife's a Worrier

Q: My wife worries a lot about everything. Sometimes it takes the fun out of doing things together. And it makes her feel sick: nauseous, off, not well. She finds it hard to articulate. I try to offer advice, make jokes to take the edge off but it doesn't really help. I feel trapped by her constant anxiety. What can I do? -- Lance, 60

Dr. Susan: Your wife is a classic candidate for talk therapy and, perhaps, for anti-anxiety medication. Many people go through life anxious, worried, neurotically fretting about things that other people take in stride. They have difficulty sorting out what matters and what doesn't, in the long run. In the long run, of course, bad stuff happens to each of us and to everyone we love. Life can't end all that well. That's just the way it is, and we each have to find ways to cope with such larger issues. But it sounds as if your wife is focusing quite unnecessarily on trivial stuff. Let her know that this sort of thing is common (especially beginning in midlife), and that help is available. Insist on a medical check-up and even a talk with a therapist. As things are, she's missing the pleasures of her own life and ruining yours too.

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