My wife seems to be getting more difficult to be out in public. Recently, she verbally abused a waiter after one too many screwups. I realize I’m often walking on eggshells when we’re out, knowing that she might be demeaning or condescending to others. She was never meek, but this is troubling to me. But, of course, I don’t want the explosion if I bring it up. -Cringing
Anytime a spouse is “walking on eggshells” — and it’s not literal, like before I clean my kitchen — it’s cause to be concerned. It suggests that there is, at best, an unbalanced dynamic that’s causing stress and, at worst, a truly abusive situation. We’ve all been in that indigestion-inducing situation of someone being a jackanapes to a server, but this sounds like your wife is being downright beastly. (I also wonder how she treats you behind closed doors.)
It’s a conversation you simply must have — she could be depressed, anxious or any number of things, but you (and her waiters) deserve better. “Lately I’ve felt that something’s getting under your skin” is a good start; seek out professional support if you need it.
Divorced From a New Reality
I’m 28 years old and divorced after three years of marriage — it was a big mistake. I was the first to the altar out of all of my friends, and now all of them are starting to think about marriage. Two of my closest friends are probably going to get engaged over the summer, but I can tell they don’t want to let me be involved in it, or they think I’m some “curse” or something. How can I stop feeling like damaged goods and just be one of the girls again? -Odd Divorcee Out
Just as people with infants can no longer keep up the same stiletto-to-sweatpants ratio as people without kids, people who are recently divorced will not necessarily be privy to as many giddy engagement conversations as those who are happily married. The trick is not taking this personally.
It’s natural that they might feel awkward discussing marriage as the great American utopia with someone whose experience with it was more akin to a nightmare. It also might make them anxious to reflect on how things changed so quickly for you. Accept this, but be open in showing your joy for them and the fact that you’re not against a good boutonniere discussion.