Dear Annie: Awkward arrangement with her husband

DEAR ANNE: I’ve been reading your column for a long time and admire how reasonable and non-judgmental your advice seems.

My husband and I were childhood sweethearts. We are currently separated and I fear this will lead to a divorce.

It’s my second marriage. We have two children. Our first child was born in February 2016, and my husband decided to quit his 17-year-old job to stay home with the baby and me while I healed. We got married a few months later, in June 2016. I returned to work in September, but my husband did not. He hasn’t worked a real job — that is, a work situation for more than three months — since the birth of our first child. Our second child was born in May 2019. Then the pandemic hit.

We started living in separate houses in September 2020, and we are both still in New York but each living separately with our mothers. The children live with me and visit him every weekend.

My husband had a history of alcoholism. He’s been sober for nine months now. I bought a house in December 2021, but he refuses to live with me and my mother. I totally understand that.

I have no interest in having another intimate relationship with someone else, but I don’t like treating him as a wife and not getting 100% of the benefits of having a husband. No social security accumulates in his account. I pay for every date or family trip. I don’t even have the pleasure or luxury of waking up to Hubby’s face in the morning.

My question is – how much longer do I have to wait for him to get a job? Does our separation lead to divorce?

– Anxiously Separated Wife

DEAR ANXIOUSLY SEPARATED WIFE: Whether your separation leads to divorce is a question you need to ask your husband, and if you don’t get a clear answer from him, ask a therapist. If your husband continues to be evasive, talk to a lawyer.

It’s entirely possible that his withdrawal – from his family and his job – could be nothing more complicated than the disease of alcoholism resurfacing in his life. You might profit by checking out Al-Anon.

No matter what happens, if he doesn’t want to contact you, you can’t force him. But what you can do is take care of yourself and your babies. Keep focusing on that and remember that your husband didn’t deserve the endearing term “husband” because he acts the opposite of kindness to his family. He acts selfishly and legitimately. Either he ships and gets help, or he ships, and then it would be time for you to move on.

Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]


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