Life Advice



Husband Has Become a Man I Hardly Recognize

Annie Lane on

Dear Annie: I'm 40 years old and tired of having my siblings always telling me what to do. This has come up recently because my mother has to move out of her home. I've lived with her in the past, and she treated me horribly. Now my siblings expect me to get up and help her move and pack her stuff. I'm not a child anymore.

I asked my sister a couple of days ago if she could take me to the store. I didn't hear from her until yesterday, when she said she assumed I was going to help her and my other siblings by packing my mother's belongings. I told her no, and she and my other siblings cussed me out on the phone and called me horrible names. They are totally ungrateful for what I have done for my mother, putting up with her abuse.

I don't know what to do anymore. I don't want to be bothered by them anymore. Can you please tell me how I can ignore them completely? -- Tired of Ungrateful Family Members

Dear Tired: It sounds like you all need some space. If you don't want to help your mother out or engage with your siblings, then don't. You are an adult and sound capable of making your own decisions. Focus on finding some great friends until things cool off with your family.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for 19 years. In the beginning, he was such a gentleman. He never raised his voice or called me names, but as soon as we decided to blend our families, with my children living with us, he became very loud and started calling me names, and we argued frequently.

I realized that he was abusing substances, but he quickly turned that behavior around when I told him I would not allow it. A few years later, he stopped drinking completely, and things were calm.

But then he changed again, and he now calls me the most terrible names I could ever think of being called.


The way I see it, I have backed him for 19 years, including when there were illnesses in his family. I attended the funerals of several of his family members and took care of his parents when they were in hospice at home.

My brother has now passed, and my husband has become so angry that he will not attend the funeral with me. He says he wants for us to separate but not divorce because he does not want to pay for it. I am desperate to fix this situation but am not sure that it can be fixed. What do you suggest? -- Desperate

Dear Desperate: It sounds like the man you first married is long gone. If he is drinking or using drugs again, that will tell you a lot. But for whatever reason, he has gone from gentleman to monster. He is verbally abusing you.

As I see it, you have two options: You can get into marriage counseling and work through your issues, or, if he is resistant, you can contact a divorce attorney and get the ball rolling so that you can heal and begin to move on with your life.


"How Can I Forgive My Cheating Partner?" is out now! Annie Lane's second anthology -- featuring favorite columns on marriage, infidelity, communication and reconciliation -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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