Friday, February 23, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Partner is a thinker, and it's a problem

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Trying to live with a partner who overthinks everything

Q: My husband insists that meticulous plans are necessary before embarking on anything — but he hates to plan himself. Here's how it plays out:

Me: How about we go to Annapolis this weekend? I'll find a B&B, ask some friends for restaurant recommendations and get a dog-sitter.

Husband: What else will we do there? What are the hours of the museums? The admission costs? Is the dog-sitter insured? Are you sure we should drive our car? How would the cost of public transportation compare? Have you read all of the TripAdvisor reviews for this B&B? What if it rains?

Husband feels I should be willing to do the extra research to make him comfortable enough to participate. I believe that if he needs more, he should put on his big boy underwear and do it himself. I feel like I'm married to someone who has never boiled water, but who criticizes the chef if the souffle is slightly flat. He thinks I'm flighty, and I think he's critical and neurotic. Advice?

The Best-Laid Plans

Carolyn: The only fair response to his grilling is: "I've planned it to my satisfaction. If you want more assurances, then you're welcome to do the research." Unfortunately, it sounds as if you've tried this, so your option list is short and unpleasant: Fight to stay reasonable under constant pressure; take this to couples counseling — and also to the office of a mental health professional who is qualified to screen him for OCD, anxiety, ADHD and the other usual suspects that produce such an unquiet mind; or talk to an attorney.

In other words: His position is completely untenable, and easily turned around to, "Unless he's physically or mentally incapable, he has no right to make such demands." People have no right to ask their partners to do what they're unwilling to do for themselves.

Anonymous: It sounds like the problem here is that it cannot be planned to his liking because he doesn't want to go. It also sounds like a very one-way relationship. She is to please him, and he will decide whether he is pleased. The therapy, if they go, should be to ask: What is his role in and commitment to this relationship?

Carolyn: "He will decide whether he is pleased." Well said, thanks. This is, however, beyond the typical I-don't-wanna behavior. The dog-sitter has to be insured?

Best-Laid Plans, again: If this were just a matter of vacation-planning, then I'd say, "Here's the deal, come or don't." But it happens with everything: Last night we got in a ridiculously long argument because I suggested having the neighbors over for a cookout, and he freaked out about not having planned for contingencies A to Z, each contingency being more ridiculous. I do think he might have some sort of anxiety disorder, but he refuses to see a therapist. Knowing I can't make him, I'm trying to figure out how to live my life without getting sucked into his panics.

Carolyn: Oh my. If you scrapped the cookout, then you're good and sucked in. Talk to a therapist without him, learn some coping strategies. And stop engaging in these arguments: You can't reason with someone too ill or stubborn to budge.

Comments
Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

Your 4-year-old daughter could land a role in ‘Waitress’ at the Straz

TAMPA — Could your 4-year-old be the next Lulu?A touring Broadway show wants to find out. Waitress, which runs April 24-29 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, is looking for a local 4- to 5-year old to play a small but crucial r...
Updated: 4 minutes ago

Tell Me About It: Daughter needs an ear, not to be rescued

Q: My daughter is in a relationship with her high school boyfriend. They are now living together in a different state with no relatives nearby. My daughter, 25, is a people person with a bubbly personality and makes friends easily. Her boyfriend does...
Published: 02/22/18
Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Plan your weekend: Monster Energy Supercross. Gasparilla Distance Classic, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, slam poet Neil Hilborn

Extreme Monster Energy Supercross Championship: The action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing returns to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Each track in the 16-city series is different, so competitors will ride between 15 and 20 laps around t...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

As spring approaches, parties, food festivals bloom at Florida’s theme parks

Can you feel it? The air is gradually thickening with humidity and the layers of clothes are getting thinner. Spring has almost sprung and with it brings a bumper crop of festivals in Florida’s theme parks full of food, wine, concerts and parades. Th...
Published: 02/21/18
In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

In theaters this week: ‘Annihilation’ based on Florida author Jeff VanderMeer’s book, ‘Game Night,’ ‘Every Day’

ANNIHILATIONAuthor Jeff VanderMeer told me at last year’s Times Festival of Reading that Annihilation (R) is going to blow everyone’s mind. The Tallahassee author is biased, of course, having written the novel it’s based on, but there’s some reason t...
Published: 02/21/18
Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

Top things to do this weekend: Supercross Championship, Olate Dogs, Gasparilla Distance Classic

BIKE RACE: Monster Energy Supercross ChampionshipThe action-packed dirt bike stunts and racing of the Monster Energy Supercross Championship return to Tampa for the first time in two decades. Motorcyclists will race at more than 60 mph and fly off ju...
Published: 02/21/18
This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

This week’s top concerts: Willie Nelson, Los Lobos, Clearwater Sea-Blues and more

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Willie NelsonI’m sure that when Willie Nelson had to postpone his recent Clearwater concert after a bout with the flu, you, like me, took the news well, spitting through clenched teeth: "OH NO YOU DON’T, 2018. YOU WILL NOT TAKE WIL...
Published: 02/21/18
Green Thumb, Flamingo Festival and more spring festivals coming to Tampa Bay

Green Thumb, Flamingo Festival and more spring festivals coming to Tampa Bay

spring eventsFlamingo FestivalHelp celebrate the young flock of flamingos that recently arrived at Sunken Gardens at a colorful festival with live music, kids activities, and beer and wine for sale. Wear pink for $1 off admission. $10, $8 seniors, $4...
Published: 02/21/18
5 things to do under $5: The Romantics, Free Hugs Guy, Ybor Fiesta Day

5 things to do under $5: The Romantics, Free Hugs Guy, Ybor Fiesta Day

1Blast Friday: This block party in downtown Clearwater brings a free show by the Romantics, right, the power pop new wave band that brought us What I Like About You and Talking in Your Sleep. There’s also a family-friendly food and craft vendor...
Published: 02/21/18
SeaWorld uses food, concerts as bait for Seven Seas Food Festival

SeaWorld uses food, concerts as bait for Seven Seas Food Festival

Seaworld Seven Seas Food Festival at the Orlando park with an expanded menu celebrating two of Florida’s most popular types of food: barbecue and Latin-inspired dishes.DateSWeekends now through April 15.EntertainmentLike its sister park Busch Gardens...
Published: 02/21/18