Andrea Bonior

Special to The Washington Post

Q. My wife has started to act distant lately, and is now responding in emails and using my name. Like today, I let her know my first new sales account came through, and her response was, “I am very happy for you, Joe.” It sounded very formal and unlike how she usually responds. She sounds like someone I work with. This has been going on for a few days now, and she seems different. But I’m uneasy to bring it up, as it sounds silly. Any ideas?

A: What sounds worse: Bringing up to your spouse a seemingly silly thing that has been bothering you, or continuing to be bothered by it, without answers, thinking something is going wrong in your marriage?

If your response is truly the former, then I worry there’s a dynamic here more concerning than her email syntax. Bring it up. If you’re worried about the mountain-from-molehill aspect of parsing her exact words in an email, then make your concerns more general — saying that she’s seemed a bit formal and distant in some of them lately, that her tone has felt different. Then remind yourself that the way to build a strong and healthy relationship is to sometimes have conversations about difficult, vulnerable things.

Andrea Bonior, a Washington, D.C.-area clinical psychologist, writes a weekly relationships advice column in The Washington Post’s Express daily tabloid and is author of “The Friendship Fix.”

Andrea Bonior

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