Q. Eleven years ago, I married my husband for better or for worse. The problem is that it has never gotten better, only worse. He refuses to get a full-time job, but spends my money like he’s a rock star — and then gets mad at me when I object to unnecessary spending. He’s ruined his credit and now mine. I never thought I’d declare bankruptcy. This will be his third, so he doesn’t blink an eye at the consequences. I am so unhappy, and I know it will take a divorce for things to get better, but I’m still holding out. I regret marrying him for “love.” (We never could afford a honeymoon.) I fear this is what my future will be like: more hard times. What advice do you have?
A. Any guy who refuses to get a full-time job but spends himself — and you — into bankruptcy needs to be cut loose. I’m pretty sure the love is gone, along with your money. I cannot see any positive reason for staying. Women are not reform schools. I think it will be a constructive step to call it a day and rebuild your life — and your credit. Your future will be what you make it. So go forth and make it.
Q. I am 24 and a victim of childhood sexual abuse that lasted from age 5 to age 18, when I finally got out of the house for college. My stepfather is a horrible predator who was convicted of this same crime against another victim and is currently subject to Megan’s Law. When I was 5, I told my mother, and she brought him into the room and said, “Nothing happened to you.” Last year, I met an amazing man with whom I have chosen to build a life. He helped me gain the courage to go to the police and to seek therapy. Despite this, my mother is still with my stepfather, even with my younger siblings still in the house. The police barely helped the situation, citing budget cuts, etc., but I know he eventually will be put away. This ordeal has been so painful and has put a great strain on my relationship. Not only have I been depressed and anxious, but due to poor coping skills (drinking, holding my emotions in), I fear I have been downright abusive. The worst part is that after I behave this way, I black out and have no recollection of what I said or did. I have agreed not to drink any longer and have found a therapist. Now, however, there is a disconnect between us. Is there any way we can salvage the relationship? We had considered marriage at one point, but he admits to having caregiver’s burnout, and I feel he has no faith in “us” now.
A. I can’t figure out why this molester hasn’t been put away. But for your life now, if therapy is helping, stick with that, and maybe try AA to stay sober and get some insight and support. I would let this wonderful man know that you are trying everything in your power to repair the relationship between the two of you — and give it your best.