Ask Amy: Long-married couple copes with negativity
Dear Amy: My wife and I have been together for 44 years.
My wonderful wife used to be generally happy and positive.
Then came four years of politics, which seems to have scarred her permanently; she now worries about everything, is (at times) hypercritical, and has a decidedly pessimistic outlook. Negativity abounds.
During the Trump administration she would obsess daily about the latest outrage/headline/scandal to the point where I suggested, and she accepted, trying therapy. She “didn’t like it.” (She has done therapy before, and we both had counseling together years ago. Both experiences were positive.)
In suggesting therapy recently, I contrasted how each of us is likely to live out our “golden years.”
My high school yearbook described me as “happy-go-lucky,” a pretty accurate assessment; my father kept a smile on his face to the end, a trait she admired. Her father, by contrast, was Archie Bunker: railing at demons, scowling, always critical, forever unhappy. She doesn’t want to be like that, but even she admits that’s the path she’s on.
Is there a remedy other than “therapy” that I might suggest, or a more convincing way to position it to get her (or us) to try it again?
Neither of us is religious, we are financially secure, and we are very much in love. I’d like to course-correct to the way she used to be, and she agrees!
What to do?
(We read your column every day in the Washington Post.)