Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I feel like my whole life needs a retrofit. My marriage of 25 years has been up
and down for two decades. We love one another but it has always been volatile,
and I don’t mean in the good ways of make up sex. I’m very clear that I wouldn’t
pick him again, but we have a house, kids, dogs, debt, and many more ties that
bind. I’m also in a job I have wanted out of for years, and frankly I’d rather live in
another state, but my husband refuses to relocate. Fortunately our children are
grown, but each of them has approached me so say they can tell I am not the
happy person they used to know. My friends say much much more. My counselor
won’t tell me what to do, and asks me fifty questions a week, none of which I
seem able to answer with anything other than tears and saying “I feel stuck” over
and over. I have a degree and ironically I solve other people’s problems for a
living. Where do I start?
Have To Change!!!!
Dear Have to Change:
Here’s some simple advice: don’t change more than one thing at a time. While
I’m sure it’s tempting to move far away now, that seems like a rash over-
response. Jobs are easier to come by than marriages, especially if you may start
over somewhere else. So I think you need to start with marriage counseling.
Somewhere along the way you may decide you want to change your personal
counselor as well, but in the short run, sticking with someone who asks good
questions, even if you haven’t felt ready to answer them, will give you a sense of
stability. Ask your counselor for names of someone you can see with your
husband, assuming he is willing. If he is not, your problems are even bigger than
Unless your job is severely physically or emotionally debilitating, that would be
last on my list to change. Looking for and starting any new job is stressful, and if
you may relocate anyhow, it seems like a waste of energy. Work on your
relationship, but within a specified period of time to either make it better or agree
to a trial separation, one that would enable you to have a grub stake to start over
either where you live or in a new place. But know that once you leave your home,
the chances you will stay together decline precipitously. So marriage first, then
choose between job and trying out a new place to live. But stay in counseling no
matter what. You will need the support.