Job dissatisfaction is causing headaches for husband, wife

DEAR ABBY: My husband suffers from migraines and has never been happy in any job he’s had. He has tried every available treatment for his migraines, to no avail. He still has them daily. I think they may be partly psychological.

In the 10 years we’ve been married, he has had six different jobs. The longest one lasted three years but ended miserably. He went on sick leave because of his manager and eventually quit on bad terms.

As soon as he doesn’t like a person above him or a situation, his migraines get worse and he quits. He’s now talking about leaving the job he got two months ago. He sees two different therapists to deal with these and other issues.

Where do I draw the line between being a supportive wife and just wanting a stable life for our family? We have two young kids. I earn a good income and have always had stable jobs (more than five years per company). I started a new job six months ago that is very stressful, and this has been tough on me. Please give me some advice. — MISERABLE IN MONTREAL

DEAR MISERABLE: Because the stress of your marriage is now affecting you, it’s time to make an appointment with a therapist for yourself. Whether your husband’s migraines are real, psychosomatic or an excuse to run from an uncomfortable situation, I can’t guess. You need an expert who is closer to home to help you figure this out. Please don’t wait. You have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: I am a widow who spends summers up north with my son and winters with my daughter down south. My problem is, a friend of my daughter is extremely rude and insulting to me.

“Valerie” arrives at my daughter’s without being invited, walks in and either makes a disparaging remark to me (“You still here?”) or walks right past me with her nose in the air. My daughter says nothing.

I have always tried to be pleasant to Valerie, but I’m tired of her rude behavior. I have excellent rapport with all of my daughter’s other friends. Please advise as to how I should handle this. — UNWELCOMED IN NEW YORK

DEAR UNWELCOMED: I agree, Valerie’s behavior is disrespectful and hostile. Express this to your (silent) daughter and ask how she feels about the way her friend behaves with you, and why she’s allowed to drop in with no notice. Her answer may be enlightening.

The next time the “friend” pops in and asks if you’re “still here,” speak up and tell her the length of your visit is none of her business and asking about it strikes you as rude. If you do, it may clear the air.

DEAR READERS: I wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere — birth mothers, adoptive and foster mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren, and dual-role dads. Orchids to all of you for the love you give each and every day. — LOVE, ABBY

DEAR ABBY: I have known “Charlotte” for 17 years. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding, and we talk and text regularly. I consider her one of my best friends.

Charlotte has had a tough couple years and has sunk into a depression. We live on opposite sides of the country, so I don’t see her in person often, but I can hear the change in our phone conversations. She even admits that she’s in a depression.

Recently, she told me she feels she no longer has a reason to live and has considered harming herself. Because I live so far away, I couldn’t get to her so I could be there for her, but I called a mutual friend (“Sandy”) who lives nearby and asked her to check on my friend. Charlotte didn’t mention anything to Sandy about the way she was feeling or her thoughts of suicide and pretended like everything was OK.

I know things are NOT OK, and I’m extremely worried that Charlotte may hurt herself in a moment of despair. She has a therapist she sees on occasion, and I have urged Charlotte to be honest with her about her feelings. Charlotte says she will, but I’m not sure if she actually does.

How do I help her? Should I go visit her to show her she has friends who love and support her? Is there anything more I can do than encourage her to stick with counseling? — WORRIED SICK IN INDIANA

DEAR WORRIED: If you know the name of Charlotte’s therapist, you could write the person a letter about your friend confiding to you that she feels she has no reason to live anymore and has considered harming herself. Because of privacy laws, the therapist may not be able to communicate with you, but at least she will be aware. Whether Charlotte was serious or just venting, this is something her therapist would be in a better position to help with than you are from a distance.

DEAR ABBY: I am almost 50 and have huge regrets about a terrible decision I made in my late 20s. I was married to my high school sweetheart when an older married man came into my life. He told me everything I wanted to hear and showered me with all the attention I was missing from my husband. I became swept up in the fairy tale fantasy and hurt my husband, my true love, deeply.

Of course, nothing the married man said was true. He never followed through on his promises. I knew the affair was wrong and it typically never works out, but I thought this was different and we’d live happily ever after.

I try not to dwell on how differently my life would have turned out if I hadn’t fallen starry-eyed in puppy love for that man. I only have myself to blame. Please warn your readers to not make the same mistake. Enjoy the life you have, especially when you are young. The grass is NOT greener on the other side. It may look better, but trust me, there’s a lot of hidden weeds. — WISED UP IN GEORGIA

DEAR WISED UP: Having an affair is never a good idea. Yours taught you an important, hard-earned lesson. Thank you for wanting to share it with my readers.

DEAR ABBY: My mother is 86 and drives everyone in the family crazy when we have to spend time with her. She says things that make people cringe. She’s racist, homophobic, judgmental and critical of everybody and everything.

When we try to point out that what she says hurts people, she starts going into how much she is hurt — daily — by all of us, how “mean” we are to her, and how we are her family and need to be more loving. We all feel sorry for her and hate how lonely she is. We include her in all major holidays and family celebrations, but she is usually the cause of a major blowup or an overall downer for the gathering.

I wish I could help her see that she’s her own worst enemy. I hate the idea of excluding Mom from family gatherings, but it is nearing that point. She has no friends. She goes to radical political meetings and constantly tries to push her health products on us.

Do you have any suggestions for how to respond to someone who is so difficult for the whole family? I do love Mom and care about her, but am at my wits’ end. — REACHED THE END OF MY ROPE

DEAR REACHED: Your mother isn’t friendless. Her friends are the kindred spirits she sees at the radical political meetings. Because she disrupts family gatherings, you and your siblings need to work out a schedule so each of you sees Mom and takes her out individually. Ignore her comments as much as possible.

Will it be fun? Probably not. But more of her time will be filled, and you all will be able to enjoy the celebrations with her absent.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.