Dear Abby: I have been married to my best friend, "Blake," for two years. A year ago he started having panic attacks, so I made an appointment for him with his doctor. After checking him for everything, including heart failure, the doctor diagnosed him with anxiety.
Since his diagnosis, Blake is scared to leave the house. I have been working two jobs to make ends meet because he says he "can't work." This has taken a toll on our marriage. We have three kids and a lot of bills.
Blake is on medication and has tried many different ones, but they aren't working. All he talks about is his anxiety and every little ache or pain. He thinks he's going to have a heart attack.
I am fed up with it, while he says I just "don't understand anxiety." Sometimes I think he's making his anxiety worse. I don't know what to believe or what to do. Any suggestions? – Stressed in Virginia
Dear Stressed: Yes, I do have one. Your husband should be seen by a licensed mental health professional (psychologist) who works with a psychiatrist. He may need more than medication to help him conquer his anxiety disorder. He might do better with a combination of talk therapy in addition to his meds.
Please urge your husband to do this because the aches, pains and anxiety he's experiencing may seem like they're all in his head to you, but they're real to him. It could save your marriage.
Dear Abby: My husband and daughters and I enjoy a beach trip every year. With our busy lives, it's the one time in the year we are able to be together and relax. Although we have invited friends and family over the years to join us, I have never invited my sister. She keeps bringing it up and portrays me as the snobby sister.
The truth is she has two undisciplined children whom I can't stand to be around. I suspect she just wants to join us so she can pawn her kids off on me while she and her husband relax.
My mother is now telling me I'm selfish and not being a good sister. Must I sacrifice my one week a year at the beach to make my sister feel better? Please advise. – It's My Vacation
Dear My Vacation: Considering that you have invited friends and family to join you, but not your sister, I can see how she might feel snubbed. Has no one told her your reason for not inviting her and her family to join you? If not, someone should, because it might motivate her to assert more control over her children. If she takes offense, however, you will be off the hook because SHE will no longer want to socialize with YOU.
Dear Abby: We have a housecleaner once a month. Last month, I offered her some grapefruit from our tree and she took six. This month, she helped herself to all of the fruit that was left on the tree! She didn't ask permission, and she didn't tell me she had done it. I happened to see her put it into her car.
I consider this to be stealing, but my husband does not. Because she took the fruit without permission and without telling me, do you consider it stealing? – "Anita" in Florida
Dear "Anita": The woman may have assumed you wouldn't mind if she took the fruit because you had offered it to her the month before. (Did you say she could take only six?) Rather than call this stealing, I would call it a misunderstanding. Clear it up by telling your housecleaner that you want nothing removed from your premises unless you have SPECIFICALLY told her she may have it.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.