DEAR ABBY: My husband of 23 years, "Gerald," quit his job to start his own law firm. He told me about it only after he had quit. I have tried to be supportive, but seven months down the line, he has spent all our "rainy-day" cash and has earned only one paycheck. We have two teenagers, one who will be going to college in a year.
I took a high-paying job a year ago to help pay down our mortgage and finance our son's college expenses. Gerald contended that the bonus money he received when he quit his old job belonged to him to fund the new venture.
He's saying that seven months is too little time to make any huge decisions, but we are now going to start liquidating our 401(k)s. This is where I draw the line. He needs to get a job. I have worked every year of our marriage and never quit.
I feel like I'm living with a selfish stranger who calls me a "money-hungry stereotypical female" when I ask when he'll get paid. Is it time for me to take off the rose-colored glasses and file for divorce?
- Stuck In His Midlife Crisis
DEAR STUCK: Your husband should have discussed his career change with you before he quit the law firm. Do not allow him to push you into taking money from your 401(k). Because your husband hasn't yet reached retirement age, when he liquidates his, there will be a penalty for early withdrawal. Consult a lawyer - other than your husband - about what your next steps should be to protect yourself and your children, because your spouse does not appear to be making rational decisions.
Interview loved ones before they pass awayDEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to the July 2 letter from "Loving Granddaughter," who was asking for ways to prepare for the eventual passing of her grandparents, with whom she is very close.
A way to help her cope with her premature grief would be to take time to sit down with her grandparents and videotape a personal interview with them. This "Interview With a Loved One" provides an opportunity to capture her favorite stories and memories as told by her grandparents in their own words. She might even hear some surprising new stories!
We started doing this with my grandfather when he was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, before he started losing his memory. After he finally succumbed, going back to his interviews was a great way for our family to remember him in the way that he would have wanted to be remembered.
- Jessica in Missouri
DEAR JESSICA: That's a wonderful suggestion, one that I know will be appreciated by many of my readers. Thank you!
Call him what he is during introductionsDEAR ABBY: How do I introduce my unmarried daughter's baby daddy? Can't say husband and can't say partner, since gays have claimed that word. How do you define that new role?
- I'd Like You to Meet ...
DEAR MEET: When you introduce your grandchild's daddy, use his name and say, "This is [John], [Jessica's] partner." The term is not used exclusively by LGBT people, but by straight couples as well.