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TheStreet Open House

A Weighty Marital Issue: Ask Noah

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Q: Noah, I'm 66 years old and for over 25 years (since we've been married) my wife's nagged me about my weight.

I'm a little overweight and my blood pressure is bordering high, but I'm not a horror show or anything comparing it! I'm just not going to get crazy over eating healthy foods and exercising obsessively (like her). I can't do that and enjoy myself.

I often feel like telling her that she must leave me alone. However, I love her, I value what she has to say and I don't want to lash out. I'm just getting very tired of her pushing her agenda on me. What do you think would be the best way to handle this?

A: Delicately! She has a lot invested in you making healthy choices.

Your wife's approach is obviously not subtle, but that doesn't make her motives any less sincere. In the end you will do what you want, but with the facts being what they are. Overweight and high blood pressure are reasonable causes for her concern.

Perhaps you yourself are actually getting concerned about your physical health. I'm sure it feels safer and easier to get angry at your wife than face your own vulnerabilities.

My fear in this scenario is that the topic of your physical health has become so intrinsically linked with your relationship conflicts that it is difficult to make up your own mind regarding your personal physical health goals.

Ultimately, a conversation needs to take place. You need to identify what angers you in her communication style. What about her actions impacts upon you? Is she embarrassing you or making you feel ashamed? Does she consistently question your eating/exercise regimen choices or publicly discourage you from making particular eating choices in front of others? Do you feel like she is constantly checking your waistline when she embraces you?

You need to be very clear in your communication on what's upsetting you so that her treatment of you can change. In your choosing to communicate through anger, she may have no real awareness of the true hurt and upset she's causing you. She may not be aware that a change of approach would yield much more successful results.

With this in mind, I would also spend some time understanding your wife's motives. You have been married for over 25 years and I'm certain her concerns stem from a very genuine love.

It's unrealistic to think she will change her communication style or opinions immediately, but having a clear awareness cannot hurt your cause.

Thank you so much for the question.

Please send all questions and comments to ASK NOAH at nskass@gmail.com

Have a profitable and peaceful week,

Noah

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Noah Kass is a psychotherapist specializing in addiction, relationship issues and work stressors. He has been Clinical Director at The Dunes: East Hampton and Realization Center in Union Square. Mr. Kass was a frequent guest on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show," featured in a segment called "Kass' Couch" and regularly blogs for The Huffington Post.

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