Every week, Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. The eclipse and my crying boyfriend: My dear boyfriend has just been unmanageable the past few days with the eclipse. No matter how much I comfort and reassure him, he just keeps crying and fears the worst. If this was an isolated incident I would understand, but he did the same thing when the meteor was entering the Earth’s atmosphere (he feared being struck by a meteorite), and don’t get me started on hurricane season when every tropical wave leads to a wave of his tears. We have been together three years, and while I care very deeply about him, I can’t imagine this is sustainable. I would love to take a trip together sometime but will not even consider flying with him. Is there a way to help him manage these fears?
A: It sounds like your boyfriend is dealing with anxiety that negatively impacts his ability to function normally and should speak with a doctor and a therapist about it immediately. I can’t say whether this is connected to a particular anxiety disorder or some other related mental/emotional health issue, of course, but if it’s this difficult for him to travel or to contemplate a benign solar phenomenon, then he needs—and deserves!—professional support. This is definitely beyond the pay grade of even an extremely loving and helpful girlfriend.