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Husband refuses to work, wife at wits end

Posted: May 10, 2011 1:59 p.m.
Updated: May 11, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Dear Annie: I married “Theo” three years ago. The marriage started out OK, but then I discovered he had a drug addiction. After a great deal of pushing from me, Theo finally got clean two years ago. The problem is, he has not held down a job since he moved in with me six years ago, while I have worked a full-time third shift to support my children and household. It’s not enough to make ends meet.

Our utilities have been turned off, we have had multiple vehicles repossessed, and we have been evicted more than once. We recently began sharing living space with my sister and her two kids, but lately, we’ve had difficulty paying our portion of the rent.

I have screamed, begged, pleaded, cried and even cussed him out, telling him to get a job, to no avail. He uses the excuse that he doesn’t have a GED and can’t get a job that will pay him what he “deserves.” I don’t care if he takes a minimum-wage job as long as he contributes enough so we don’t keep losing our home.

We have been through marriage counseling, and even our pastor told Theo to get a job. He tried, briefly, but was fired after two days because he insisted on telling his supervisor what to do.

I am fed up. Am I wrong to lose patience? Theo did manage to get clean and start attending church. Maybe I need to give him more time. But, Annie, I can’t do this by myself. I have been considering a divorce, but it’s not what I want. What do I do next? -- Frustrated Christian

Dear Frustrated: More time isn’t going to help unless Theo addresses the underlying problem. We think he’s depressed and is deliberately sabotaging his job efforts. In fact, Theo’s drug use may have camouflaged depression if it was a form of self-medication. Ask him to discuss this with his doctor and pastor and get an appropriate, low-cost referral.

Dear Annie: My six-month dental checkup is fast approaching, and I’m dreading it because it’s so painful -- not the cleaning, the yakking hygienist. The woman is quite nice and gentle. I would love to get the cleaning done, but she talks with her hands. The dental tools become an extension of her hands, so as she talks about her family, she’s not working on my mouth.

I really love my dentist and the staff. How do I get this lovely lady to simply clean my teeth and not talk so much? -- Michigan

Dear Michigan: You can sweetly ask the hygienist to please focus more on your teeth because your time is limited. If that doesn’t work, you can register a complaint with the dentist. Or invest in a set of headphones. When you see the hygienist, stick them in your ears, close your eyes and say the music helps you relax. She’ll stop talking if she has no audience.


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