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Husband’s health may need wake-up alarm

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: My husband seems to sleep a lot more than most people. He’s always been this way to some extent, but now I notice he averages nine to 10 hours a night on weekdays and sometimes as many as 12 hours on weekends. He’s very defensive about it, but I’m trying to convince him that there might be something wrong.

A: Yes, there might be something wrong, but trying to convince him of that fact does no good. More fruitful would be to persuade him just to get checked out, even if it’s framed as a way to rule out some extremely minuscule, less-likely-than-Miley-Cyrus-becoming-a-diplomat-to-Syria chance that there’s something wrong.

He might be scared himself that there’s an issue, or he may know for sure there is. But, realistically, he needs at the very least a basic physical with blood work and a chat with his doctor. A sleep specialist could help, too. The culprit could be thyroid issues, breathing problems or depression – or he could just need a lot of sleep. It’s time for you to get some clarity.

Q: A friend of mine always has to make every conversation about her. She has other charms, like being funny and up for adventure, so I’ve tolerated this for many years. But now I’m dealing with a major health problem that will be defining my life for a while. I need to be focused on myself and need my friends and family to be willing to listen sometimes. I want to convey this to her, but I also understand that she is who she is and I’m sort of changing the rules mid-game.

A: Good friendships meant to last can handle a rule change – especially when the reason is a crisis or a major life transition. You deserve some extra support. Test the waters with a nice note or a quiet conversation that begins with: “I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’m overwhelmed right now, and my health problems will be defining my life for a while. I'll probably be a bit more self-focused, and I feel like I could use some extra support. I hope this doesn’t mean you don’t want to hang out as much, but I did want to let you know that things might feel different.” (And hope that her response isn’t, “Sure! Did I ever tell you that time that I ...”)

Andrea Bonior is a psychologist and author of “The Friendship Fix.” www.drandreabonior.com

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