Dear Annie: I’ve been reading your column for a long time, and I admire how reasonable and nonjudgmental your advice seems to be.
My husband and I were childhood sweethearts. We are currently separated, and I am concerned that this might lead to divorce.
This is my second marriage. We have two children. Our first child was born in February 2016, and my husband decided to quit his job of 17 years to stay home with the baby and me while I healed. We were married a few months later, in June 2016.
I returned to work that September, but not my husband. He hasn’t worked a real job — meaning, any work situation longer than three months — since the birth of our first child. Our second child was born in May 2019. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
We started living in separate homes in September 2020, and we are still both in New York but each living separately with our mothers. The children live with me and visit him every other weekend.
Hubby had a history of alcoholism. He’s been sober for more than nine months now. I bought a house in December 2021, but he refuses to live with me and my mom. I completely understand that.
I have no interest in being in another intimate relationship with someone else, but I dislike catering to him as a wife and not getting 100% of the benefits of having a husband. No Social Security is building up in his account. I pay for every date night 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 should I wait for him to get a job? Is our separation leading to divorce?
— Anxiously Separated Wife
Dear Anxiously Separated Wife: Whether your separation is leading to divorce is a question you need to ask your husband, and if you don’t get a straight answer from him, a therapist. If your husband continues to be evasive, talk to a lawyer.
It is entirely possible that his withdrawal — from his family and work — is nothing more complicated than the disease of alcoholism rearing its ugly head again in his life. You might profit by checking out Al-Anon.
Regardless of what is going on, if he doesn’t want to reach out to you, then you can’t force him. But what you can do is take care of yourself and your babies. Continue to focus on that, and remember that your husband has not earned the endearing term “hubby” because he is acting the opposite of kind toward his family.
He is acting selfish and entitled. He either ships up and gets help, or ships out, and then it would be time for you time move on.
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— A native Californian, Annie Lane writes her Dear Annie advice columns from her home outside New York City, where she lives with her husband, two kids and two dogs. Her latest anthology, How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?, features favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation, and is available as a paperback and e-book. Email your Dear Annie questions to email@example.com. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.