Dear Annie: I have been with my husband for seven years. When we first married, he had a great job and was attentive and supportive. He adopted my son from my previous marriage, and I got pregnant shortly after our wedding. Life was wonderful, but it ended a month after our daughter was born. That was the first of several times that my husband was laid off. In order to keep our health insurance, I was forced to return to work full time at a high-pressure job with long hours.
Two years ago, I told my husband that I could not take the stress any longer, so he enrolled in a six-week training program in another field. Unfortunately, the field he selected pays minimum wage with no chance of earning more. He now makes less than he did collecting unemployment.
I am currently self-employed, with a highly successful business. I still work around the clock, pick my kids up from school and then work into the evenings. I have zero quality time with my kids. And I do this with no appreciation from my husband. He doesn't acknowledge me on holidays and skips our anniversary and my birthday. He cites his lack of income for not getting me so much as a card or making dinner.
I have developed a stress-related illness, which is likely to get worse. I have pleaded with my husband to take a second job or find something that pays better. He promises to look, but never does. Instead, he complains to his mother and brother that I'm too demanding, and as a result, they harass my son and me. They have never accepted him as part of their family.
I hate my life. I've told my husband that I'm contemplating taking the kids and moving back near my family, but he says I'm "running away" and not giving him a chance. He says a second divorce would be detrimental to my son. How can I survive our marriage? This man is slowly killing me. — 24-Hour Woman
Dear Woman: There are many marriages in which the wife is the main breadwinner and the husband takes care of the home and children. But it must be a mutual decision and accepted by both spouses.
You are stressed to the breaking point. Your husband refuses to do anything to alleviate your stress, and worse, he allows (even encourages) his family to denigrate you and your child, which makes him an unsupportive partner, emotionally and financially. Unless you change this dynamic, he is perfectly content to let it continue.
In many cases, a divorce is better for the kids than living in a miserable, unhappy environment with parents who argue and don't respect each other. Get counseling, with or without him, and figure out what is best for your family.
Dear Annie: I also say "amen" to "Tired of the Gimme Generation." I have several grandchildren whom I love equally. When they were children, I treated them all the same with gifts and cards. But they are adults now.
When my birthday and special holidays come around, I receive well wishes from only one of my grandchildren. Consequently, she is the only one I acknowledge on her birthday and holidays. I have been accused of playing favorites, but I only travel a two-way street. — Judy in Indiana
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.