My wife is act­ing dis­tant and doesn’t sound like her­self. What’s go­ing on?

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Eq -

QUES­TION. My wife has started to act dis­tant lately, and is now re­spond­ing in emails and us­ing my name. Like to­day, I let her know my first new sales ac­count came through, and her re­sponse was, “I am very happy for you, Joe.” It sounded very for­mal and un­like how she usu­ally re­sponds. She sounds like some­one I work with. This has been go­ing on for a few days now, and she seems dif­fer­ent. But I’m un­easy to bring it up, as it sounds silly. Any ideas?

An­swer: What sounds worse: bring­ing up to your spouse a seem­ingly silly thing that has been both­er­ing you, or con­tin­u­ing to be both­ered by it, with­out an­swers, think­ing some­thing is go­ing wrong in your mar­riage? If your re­sponse is truly the for­mer, then I worry there’s a dy­namic here more con­cern­ing than her email syn­tax. Bring it up. If you’re wor­ried about the moun­tain-from-mole­hill as­pect of pars­ing her ex­act words in an email, then make your con­cerns more gen­eral — say­ing that she’s seemed a bit for­mal and dis­tant in some of them lately, that her tone has felt dif­fer­ent. Then re­mind your­self that the way to build a strong and healthy re­la­tion­ship is to some­times have con­ver­sa­tions about dif­fi­cult, vul­ner­a­ble things.

Q. It’s been six years since I left my abu­sive hus­band. I was treated for PTSD (post-trau­matic stress syn­drome) for years af­ter leav­ing and I am get­ting bet­ter. Not sur­pris­ingly, my trig­gers are any­thing that re­minds me of him. Our son is grad­u­at­ing from col­lege in May and he wants us both to at­tend a grad­u­a­tion party he is hav­ing be­cause “most di­vorced par­ents can get along, at least for a cou­ple of hours.” I truly have a sense of panic from even the idea of see­ing my ex. How can I tell my son that I just can’t go to this party with­out telling him things about my re­ac­tion to his fa­ther that will just be painful for ev­ery­one?

A: I un­der­stand you don’t want him to know the ex­tent of your suf­fer­ing. But it’s rea­son­able to let him in a bit if you have to, to pro­tect your­self. Con­vey to your son that you want to cel­e­brate in the way he de­serves, but forc­ing your­self to be at the party the en­tire time will ac­tu­ally take away from the cel­e­bra­tion. Ex­plain that there are phys­i­cal and men­tal de­tails of your sit­u­a­tion that you don’t want to get into, but that you have po­ten­tial lo­gis­ti­cal so­lu­tions. Stand your ground, then brain­storm to­gether. Maybe he could get your ex-hus­band to agree to half-at­ten­dance where you each go at dif­fer­ent times, or he might be OK with your skip­ping it al­to­gether in favour of a special din­ner with you. There are many ways to com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion with­out set­ting you back af­ter years of re­cov­ery, which wouldn’t help any­one.– Send your ques­tions to Dr An­drea Bo­nior at bag­[email protected]

Bring it up. If you’re wor­ried about the moun­tain-from-mole­hill as­pect of pars­ing her ex­act words in an email, then make your con­cerns more gen­eral

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