I appear to have used up all my husbands’ sympathy reserves.

I’ve been through a lot over the past five years: health problems, including multiple surgeries, and serious issues with my family. I try to be strong and keep a positive attitude but sometimes it gets to me. The other day I was talking to my husband about how emotionally exhausted and stressed out I am and he said, “Maybe instead of focusing on the negative you could use this opportunity to become a more spiritual person. Think about all the suffering in the world compared to yours.” Now I want to kill him. Why can’t he just shut up and give me a hug instead of saying shit like that?

I used to have an intern named Wendy. I had the worst job in my entire company and I think to keep me from quitting or becoming homicidal with my letter opener, they gave me an intern. If I complained about having to carry an enormous pile of manuscripts up 47 flights of stairs, Wendy would look up from her stapler and say cheerfully, “Well, at least you have arms! Some people don’t even have arms and would love to be able to carry stuff up the stairs!”

Wendy was an asshole. There’s nothing worse than a person who tries to convince you that your sucky life doesn’t suck because other peoples’ lives are worse.

It’s entirely possible that you’re not as cheerful and optimistic as you think you are, and that you’re driving your husband insane with all your complaining and suffering-martyrdom. You might want to think about that. But regardless, your husband should know that chastising people when they’re down, or coming up with a stupid solution like becoming more spiritual, is exactly the opposite of what you need.

Traditional marriage vows should be amended to include the phrase, “I will love you, honor you, and listen to you complain all the days of my life.” One of the many reasons I love Mr. To Chea is that on our first date he was very excited to tell me that in preparation he read some portions of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. (Cute, right?) He said, “I learned what you want! Women want empathy, not solutions.”

He doesn’t always remember this, but he tries, and it’s cool. Maybe instead of killing your husband, you could just explain that to him.

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