2/1/2021 8:14:00 AM Spouse wants to end marriage but worries about money
DEAR HARRIETTE: I keep waking up in the night with the realization that I do not want to stay married. My husband and I have barely gotten along in years. He seems to have a short fuse all the time. We tiptoe around each other, and our only child is about to go away to college. It feels like things could naturally end after our kid goes to school, but I am scared to death about what to do next. I don't have enough money to be on my own, and he does not have enough money to take care of both of us if we were to split, not that he would want to or have the duty to do that, anyway. I feel stuck because I can't afford to go, which is horrible. I work, but I don't make a lot of money, and I have virtually no savings. Should I just figure out how to stay or pray that there is a way for me to manage if I leave? -- At the End
DEAR AT THE END: Do you think your marriage is worth saving? If there may be a way to rekindle your affection for each other, consider inviting your husband to go to therapy with you. At these pivotal transition points in a marriage, couples often need to figure out ways to recommit.
No matter what, be honest with your husband. Find the courage to talk to him about your concerns. Ask him what he wants for the future. Express whatever is in your heart. If you believe that you should go your separate ways, say as much, and begin the conversation about how that might happen. Facing the unknown can be terrifying, but being honest about your life and the future is essential for your well-being. This is how you will figure out your next steps. No matter what, it will require more than resignation or prayer to gain peace of mind.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a friend who recently lost both of her parents to COVID-19. She is devastated. They were a sweet couple and a tight-knit family. Her parents got sick at around the same time, even though they hardly went out of their house and always wore masks. Who knows why they didn't survive, but now my friend is frozen. She is so sad. She is an only child. Though she has lots of friends, nobody can seem to console her. This is too much to bear, or so it seems. I want to be there for her. What can I do? -- After the Fall
DEAR AFTER THE FALL: Without being too pushy, stay in touch with your friend. It will take time for her to accept that her parents are gone. The grief right now is overwhelming. She has to process the loss and begin to see herself in the world truly alone -- familywise, that is. From there, she will begin to welcome her friends back into her covenant and recognize the value of that bond. As your friend heals, stay present. Now and again reach out and check to see if she needs anything.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.