- Dear Ann Landers: My husband and I have been married for 20 years.
Section: work, mental-health, relationships, marriage

Dear Ann Landers,
My husband and I have been married for 20 years. Our children are grown and out of the house. For the last 32 years, I have worked full time without a break. Part of my salary has gone to support my husband's ex-wife and his children. I have never complained. Here's my dilemma. My job is extremely demanding and stressful. We also own two businesses, which my husband runs. I need a life. I want to garden, cook, take some classes, you name it. My husband and I agreed that when I reach age 50 (I am now 48), I would work part time so I could keep contributing to our retirement fund. Ann, we have plenty of money put away for retirement. We have no debts, own our home and have a vacation home as well. I told my husband I want to quit NOW. I am stressed out and exhausted. I spend 10-hour days cooped up in an airless office with tinted windows. He wants me to hang in there because it's "only two more years." I can't bear the thought of it. He says I am being selfish. The bottom line is I am burned out and depressed. Every day, I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into despair. If I quit my job, it might be the end of my marriage, but if I don't quit, it will be the end of me. Do you see a way out? -- Dying Inside in the Midwest

Yesterday's Response:

Dear Midwest,
Your letter is a cry for help if ever I heard one. That husband of yours sounds excessively demanding. You need some time off so you can calm your nerves and clear your head. See your doctor about an antidepressant or something to relieve your anxiety. If, after you have had a rest, you still want to quit working, do it. If your husband leaves you because of it, you haven't lost much. Gem of the Day: Overheard on the bus: "My boyfriend designed a new car by taking the wheels from a Cadillac, the headlights from a Buick and the radiator from a Ford. Do you know what he wound up with? Twenty-two months in the state pen."

Today's Response:

Dear Midwest,
I suggest you take a leave of absence from your job to put yourself back together. (You may wind up not going back). If your husband takes a leave of absence from the marriage, that will tell you he is all about money, has little concern for your well-being, and, to my mind, is a four door, gold-plated S.O.B. What really got my attention was that you have been contributing to his alimony and child support! Since he is not taking care of you emotionally you must do it yourself. I believe people who feel despair need to alter their circumstances. Great good luck, you say you have plenty of money. Enjoy your garden!
- Margo

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Reader Comment
You are not losing much if your husband is willing to leave your marriage and not concerned about your well being. Shame on him!

Reader Comment
this is great. Thanks Ann!!!

Marina's Comment
I agree with Margo. This person is screaming for help and needs a break. The husband isn't listening and she is on the brink.

Reader Comment
What about concern for his well being??? He has been working all this time without breaks and is probably burned out himself.

Reader Comment
I wonder if she has her own financial ducks in a row and will not be out in the cold if things go south with hubby.

Reader Comment
Put some of that money aside just for you. If you like gardening. Go to Bucharts gardens in Canada. You will love it and feel relaxed. Be sure you start saving money just for yourself. Your husband sounds like that's all he's interested in. Sorry. But do what you like to do and get some AC in that office.

Jen's Comment
How long has he been divorced and how old are the kids? That seems like an awful long time to be supporting them if your own children are grown and out of the house. Leave the job. Marriages are equal parts of each person doing 100%. To ask more of you is impossible.

Teresa's Comment
You have been very giving to everyone. This time please do what you have to do for yourself. He is using you.

Lynn's Comment
Usually, the first meeting with a lawyer or financial planner is free or minimal cost. It might be wise to run this by a professional and go through the scenarios that could arise and how you could deal with them financially. I'm on your side but you need to be on your side, too. Get some money advice and then maybe some marriage advice. Good Luck, Dear!

Reader Comment
Since health care in the USA is usual via employers, that is a BIG question. Self-employed insurance can cost] thousands every month. Maybe the husband has reasons besides an arbitrary timeline.

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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, My x-girlfriend who lived with my son and I for 16 years died of cancer. Prior before we knew she had cancer-she moved out because of an addiction problem. We did stay very close before she died. Her x-husband an attorney took over her finances and the burial arrangements. I being financially set was okay with that, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies."
-Ann Landers