Dear Annie: Once again, my husband is taking a vacation without me. We both work. My job, however, is part time with no paid vacation, and after taxes and paying my student loan, my annual income is $10,000. With that money, I pay a couple of household bills, feed and care for our pets, and provide all of our household necessities.
My husband had a free ride to college and now has generous earnings and benefits. At home, I do all of the chores while he runs off to play with his friends. He thinks housework is a woman’s job. His job is to pay the mortgage and utilities. I feel like a live-in maid.
My company would give me unpaid time off for a vacation, but my hubby says it is up to me to pay my own way. So I cannot afford to go with him. I am hurt and angry and feel abandoned. I have conveyed these feelings to him, but it makes no difference. He seems to think this is normal and isn’t willing to go to counseling with me. He does read your column, though, so please help.
— Exhausted Wife
Dear Wife: This is not a healthy marriage. Your husband treats you like a distant roommate whom he expects to clean up after him. He’d rather go away without you than help pay for your expenses so you can enjoy a vacation together. Unfortunately, the disparity in your incomes makes it unlikely that he will ever consider you an equal partner, since he doesn’t value the other attributes you bring to the marriage. This is a recipe for divorce. Please get counseling — with or without him — and figure out what, exactly, you are getting out of this arrangement.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.