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I have been married to my spouse for two years, together for just three. Our lives have been very hectic from the get-go, with school, work, living apart, living together, living apart, and living together again. Shortly after our marriage, my husband developed some digestive health issues, which took over the bulk of our relationship’s time and attention. I’ve noticed, though, that he complains about many (and every little) ailment in general. I sometimes feel that there’s no room for me, with all the attention on his needs. I sometimes feel that I’m the caretaker, house manager, and handywoman, rather than the wife. I do the bulk of household tasks, including the traditionally male fix-it type tasks.

His constant worrying is grating on me. He just started a well-paid job, which he applied to in order to move to the city where I began working. He is under a lot of stress, which I get. However, I think he needs to compartmentalize work and home, and take a moment to relax.

We were just on vacation, but he spent every possible moment on his computer. When not on his computer, he didn’t seem completely present.

He has a hard time adapting. When he lost his headband on our vacation, he proceeded to throw a hissy fit, making us late to see a local attraction, and nearly ruining our time at a place of great natural beauty and tranquility. There was a beanie in the car that he could wear instead, but he didn’t care. He was angry about his headband and threw his phone onto the car seat, where it bounced off and landed on the ground. Then, he proceeded to have another hissy fit about his phone falling. He scoured the car for 20 minutes while I went and got us tickets, before it was too late.

He worries about every little thing — cancelling our gas and electric at our old place a few days late, for example. To me, an extra $10 or so in charges is not worth the worry. After hearing about it five times, I got very frustrated and it turned into a fight. I don’t want to hear about these small things on a daily basis. It’s needless stress. (He had those bills in his name, by the way, so it wasn’t stress about me not doing something).

He turns the blame on me when he doesn’t get something done, or when something doesn’t turn out right. Today, we decided to have groceries delivered (presumably to have more time to relax). We created a shopping list, and I volunteered to add the items to the online cart on my phone. When the checkout wouldn’t work properly, I asked him to log in and check out on his computer. He did so, but about an hour later, he asked if I ordered bananas. “No, I didn’t order bananas. You didn’t put it on the list.” He proceeded to tell me that I should have known, and that I need to think of his needs. And, also, that I prevented him from reviewing the order, somehow. I asked him if he was serious, and told him that he’s an adult and he needs to take responsibility for his own actions. I was very upset, though, that he wanted to blame me. Again, I feel like I’m the mother and I’m supposed to attend to every demand and need, as well as every ache and pain.

This is driving me nuts!! I love my husband— he’s sweet, smart, hard-working, hot as hell. BUT, how do I deal with this constant worrying? Constant complaining? Childish behavior?
 

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Re: Husband’s Anxiety is Driving Me Nuts

Get counseling quickly and figure out if both or either or neither of you is committed to doing what it takes to be married for the long haul. That's three different answers to the question, of which two will result in a failed marriage, and the one that might... isn't a certainty. But it is an opportunity. Thankfully you've got little invested in your lives together so far. Get things figured out, and either get to work or get out.
 

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How old is he? He sounds very immature. I had several friends like that back in college. Many of them got much better over time. Some didn't. If it's going to happen, it'll be a fairly long and slow process.
 

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Counseling may be a good idea.

My wife is a bit like that, though not to nearly such an extent. I think it comes from a sense of insecurity and wanting to be in control. I have to remind her that if we are on vacation, if we have our passports and credit cards, everything else can be fixed. One big difference though is that because of this she does all the planning.

Does he generally seem insecure about things?

Do you think it is a money issue? Some people are naturally very conservative with money - they really hate to spend unnecessary money and will go to great and irrational lengths to avoid it

Does he enjoy any sort of risk taking - sports or something?

I don't know if its possible to get across the idea that for the most part the world is a very safe place and minor oversights rare result in serious consequences.
 

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Hope you do not have (more) children til y'all work on this. Is he by any chance a perfectionist who can't let go of mistakes? Does he mostly think only of himself? Does he lose his temper regularly and lack self-discipline in many areas?

How is intimacy? connection? Interaction with his FOO? Ages? What do you do when he overreacts?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for your advice. He’s definitely a perfectionist. He’s obsessed with doing well at this new job, which is great, but he’s not leaving time for himself or for us.

I agree about the counseling. We need to make time to address these issues with a neutral third party.

I am hoping that this is mainly a consequence of the situation. We’ve moved several times during our marriage and he’s started two new jobs in that time — me, one. Moving and new jobs are generally really stressful and that can make little things seem big.

I think, though, this also has to do with his past. He just moved to the US for his PhD. Before then, he lived with his parents (typical for his home country). His parents did everything for him: cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, bills, etc. It’s no surprise he’s still acting like a child.

In general, he does seem open to self-reflection and self-improvement. When I tell him my concerns, he usually answers with, “you’re right, honey, I’ll try to do that next time.” It doesn’t always apply in action, however.

Our chemistry is really great together. He is very affectionate, and I love that. He has a lot of positive things to say about me (when we’re not arguing lol). He really appreciates how much I know, how well I can manage a household, my intelligence and ambition, etc. Although, I don’t always feel like being a walking encyclopedia.

I will look into counseling, as well as fun things we can do together, so we’re not only interacting with each other over stressful things. I do think he could use individual counseling to manage his stress, but I think it’s best for him to come to that conclusion.

Also, we have no children, so there’s no additional complication there. I am very invested in this relationship, though. I dated for a very long time before meeting him, so I know I have a good thing going— imperfections and all.
 

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Men tend to respond to bluntness. "Your obvious issues with anxiety are killing me. Seriously. You need help with it. It's not up to me to fix these issues you have, nor should I have to deal with them. I'm very quickly running out of patience and empathy for you. We can go to therapy together, but you will also need to go on your own. I will set it up for you and we will go."
 
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