Carolyn Hax: She wants to talk about boyfriend’s anxiety issues

Published: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2D

DEAR CAROLYN: How do you tell someone you love that you think they might have a psychiatric issue that needs to be addressed?

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, where he's never lived, because the nice weather will make all of his problems go away.

His mom also has an anxiety disorder, which makes me think that's what's going on with him.

– Wants To Move Forward

DEAR FORWARD: It will be a big deal later, but 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.

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

"Psychiatric issue" (wrongly) has a bogeyman aura about it, but in fact a long and typical life is, for everyone, a series of challenges both from within and without. To keep them from dominating the course of your life, you have to be able to square yourself and deal with them.

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.

DEAR CAROLYN: My daughter, 10, and my husband fight, about homework, behavior, hair, you name it. Daddy is correct 95 percent of the time, but his communication style just sets her off.

I have been unsuccessful in mediating, in getting him to adjust his style, or in getting her to stop reacting. My involvement seems at best unhelpful and often makes things worse. I am at the point of either leaving the house or at least putting ear buds in because it is intolerable. Help?

– Parent

DEAR PARENT: How can he be "right" about her hair? It's hers.

This fighting means Father is ruling himself out as a supportive presence in Daughter's life just as she needs one most. And this exit-or-ear-buds reaction means you're overmatched.

There's no shame in that – but it does mean you need to call in reinforcements. Your family needs a teacher who can reach your husband as you can't. Start with the school counselor and admit this one has you stumped.

Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at carolyn.hax or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

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