Dear Abby: I have been happily married for 20 years to an amazing man, “Boyd.” Eight months ago, he left his administrative job to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an actor. He is working hard on auditions and shoots, and I am very proud of him. However, when he left his job, it felt to me like a pronouncement rather than the result of our usual mutual decisions.
Unfortunately, I communicated my frustration to family members at the time, and they have completely written Boyd off. They don’t want to talk to him or hear news about him, and he is not welcome in their homes.
Boyd didn’t take this well. He has, in return, written THEM off. It has reached the point that I can’t share news about them with him. I have had to take down family photos – which was my choice – but it felt necessary.
The irony is my family felt he had created undue stress for me, but the breach in family harmony has been far more stressful than my husband’s career change. Any thoughts on how to bring detente to this situation? It’s keeping me up at night. – Actor’s Wife in Atlanta
Dear Wife: Have you told your family that by shunning your husband they have caused you more stress than his decision – however one-sided it may have been – to become an actor? If you haven’t you should, because it is causing discord in your marriage. Your relatives do not have the right to punish your husband for his career choice, and you should not have encouraged or allowed them to alienate him.
You may want to remind them that you and Boyd are a unit, and if they care about more contact with you, they will bury the hatchet. Or perhaps you could convince everyone to agree to family counseling. The ball is now in your court because you are the person who started it rolling.