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
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."
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