Dear Annie: The past four years of my marriage have been difficult. My husband and I have made many poor financial decisions, and we also have intimacy issues.
I’m an artist. When our kids were young, I chose to do freelance work so I could stay at home. My husband has a steady job with a 9 to 5 workday. On the side, he is a talented musician and gets low-paying gigs a few times a year.
Over time, my husband’s band equipment has become worn, and he has hinted that he’d like to upgrade. While I would like him to be happy, we are not in a financial position to invest in a hobby that offers little return. On the other hand, I am extremely well paid for my artistic craftsmanship and would like to invest in some technical equipment to further my career. If I am paid more, we could then finance my husband’s future musical purchases.
Unfortunately, my husband’s response to not getting what he wants has been immature. He attacks my choices, and I resent the lack of respect for the sacrifices I’ve made to raise our kids. The kids are older now, but it seems that I’m not married to an equal partner, but rather a perpetual teenager.
I love my husband, but I feel stuck in a relationship that is unhealthy in more ways than one. Your thoughts? – Got the Blues
Dear Blues: It is not unusual for couples in their 40s and 50s to reassess their lives, wondering where their youthful dreams went. Like you, your husband may feel stuck, believing he could have had a career as a musician instead of the one that helps provide for his family. Please don’t turn this into a standoff. Have a gentle, loving conversation. Ask for his input. But if money issues are an ongoing problem, it might help to enlist a third party with better financial acumen to referee.