Dear Annie: I’ve been married for 32 years, but my wife and I have never made a great pair. We now have two grown children and a well-established life in the local community. I find great fulfillment in my work and my hobbies, but our home life is miserable – for me, for my wife and for my children. I’ve thought about divorce, of course, but my wife wouldn’t be able to support herself financially, so I’d need to send her payments, I’m sure. How do I balance my needs with hers? We vowed “for better or for worse,” but she has been a negligent wife, refusing to help support the family when we’ve been at our breaking point. I’m so torn. I don’t want to break her heart or put her in a financially and emotionally precarious situation, but I also know I’m setting a terrible example for my children by staying with someone who makes us all miserable. What do you think? Is there any way out of this nightmare? – Stuck
Dear Stuck: Failure is an orphan, even in relationships. I’d ask for you to look for your part in this. While I don’t know exactly what you mean by “(she) makes us all miserable,” it doesn’t sound totally fair. Perhaps your wife is struggling with untreated mental health issues; it’s hard for me to guess at what’s going on without knowing the specifics. Regardless, my advice to you is to give marriage counseling a sincere try. It’s the least you can do for your marriage, yourself, your wife and your children.
Dear Annie: My daughter is getting married in two weeks and I have been battling pneumonia for more than six weeks. I’m being heavily medicated, so I am hoping to feel well by the time of the wedding. I have been told by my doctor and several medical friends that I can’t get close to people or it could really set me back. There will be family and friends attending that I would want to hug and be close with. Photos alone keep people pretty close together. I’m at a complete loss as to how to handle this. – Anxiously Recovering
Dear Anxiously Recovering: While I understand your desire to embrace and be close with all the friends and family that will be at the wedding, you should heed your doctor’s advice and try to keep a safe distance. Let your family know the situation ahead of time and ask that they avoid giving you hugs, as it will be easy to forget in the moment. As for photography, talk to the photographer about poses that won’t require your being cheek-to-cheek with anyone. Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding. Know that even if pneumonia means your experience of her big day isn’t exactly how you always envisioned it, it will still be wonderful.
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