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Baggage Check


Baggage Check: The age of irritants

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: Ever since my husband and I met 18 years ago, we’ve joked about how I’m older than him (by three years). Now that I’m approaching 50, this joking gets to me. I know it shouldn’t. I’ve talked to him, and he’s tried to be sensitive about it, but he feels like since we’ve always joked this way, we shouldn’t give in to my stress about getting older. Is it reasonable for him to “retire” these jokes?

Both sides are valid, and it sounds like you’re being respectful to each other – a great start. But you’re still so young. If you’re this sensitive about aging now, you need to ask yourself if it’s a bigger issue that needs taking care of.

And when you say that you’re approaching 50, does that mean in two months, or in four years? Many people get super-sensitive around big birthdays, and it’s reasonable for you to ask that the old-fogey talk go on hiatus for a specific period of time. But if your aging fears are more substantial than that, this might be something for you to explore with a counselor.

Q: My husband and I have been together 10 years and recently had a baby. Right before the baby was born, he said he had fallen out of love with me and flip-flops on wanting to be with other women. But he’s never cheated, and he also says he doesn’t want to lose me. He has “fallen out of love” with me two other times in our relationship and we were able to work through it.

Many people reading might be smacking their palms to their foreheads, wondering why you would ever have a baby in such a seemingly unstable relationship.

I’ll pretend I’m not one of those people and instead recognize this could encompass a spectrum of situations, from a super-honest husband who’s alarmed by the mildest ennui and wants to be proactive, to a guy who doesn’t want to be monogamous. Only you know where on the scale he is.

But there’s a baby involved here, which makes it urgent that you get some help and find out whether a more permanent solution is possible.

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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