Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We have never had an easy marriage, and I am considering leaving him.
I got out of an abusive relationship before I met him, and I feel like I am being put in that position again. This time, it is not physical violence but emotional and financial.
My husband took a job that he had always wanted. During the training, he made less than what he was making before. I had to leave my full-time job to take care of the kids. I picked up a part-time job, but it did not compare to what I was making before. Both his and my credit were ruined, and we almost lost the house.
Then, COVID-19 hit. My husband's employer put a stop to voluntary overtime, but there was mandatory overtime. His employer blacked out dates that were off-limits for vacation. My husband is a first responder, and we had to cancel our vacation this year due to those blackout dates. In fact, the whole summer was blacked out, from mid-April until mid-September. He was just informed that he will be on 12-hour days, with no days off for the foreseeable future.
It has been years since we have been away as a family. What's worse is that I have health issues. The only thing the doctors can do is treat the symptoms and make me comfortable. We have been through a lot together.
I love him with all my heart, and he is a great guy. However, he treats me differently now. He told me today to cancel his phone and leave him alone. He won't talk to me or his daughter. I am not sure how much longer I can take this. What should I do? — Stay or Go?
Dear Stay or Go: Only you can truly know whether to stay or go. It does sound like there has been a lot of love and history between you. Your husband's attempts to isolate himself seem to be in response to demands from work that he cannot control. He might have depression or built-up rage. Try marriage counseling or encouraging him to attend therapy on his own to navigate through these challenges.
Life is filled with peaks and valleys, and you — along with the entire world — are in a valley because of the pandemic. Never make life-altering decisions in a peak or valley. Try and get to a state of calm and peace first. Hopefully, your children can go back to school soon (if they haven't already) and you can continue working, all of which will offer some calm. This is a moment in time, and it will pass.
Dear Annie: I've never seen an answer quite so compassionate as yours to "Totally Broken," who was mourning the loss of her husband. Without impatience or condescension, you walked her step-by-step through the process of finding a counselor, which, for overwhelmed and grieving people, can feel like a bridge too far.
What a sensitive act of kindness, to remove the complications that might keep "Broken" from taking such a needed step.
I have not lost a spouse, but my sister-in-law lost her police officer husband in the line of duty at 34, and my grief for her, a pale imitation of the agony she surely was facing, made it nigh impossible for me to function. I simply can't imagine how she felt. — Compassion for the World
Dear Compassion: Thank you for your kind words. I am printing your letter because, like you, I truly believe that when we are compassionate toward one another, we feel better ourselves. The only thing bigger than fear is love.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette - is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]
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