"I'm Too Scared to Go Back to Work"

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Scott's Turn

"It's time Jan got out of her rut," said Scott, 45. "Her misery is making me miserable! I'm tired of watching her mope around. And I hate the way she accuses me of taking her for granted and starts a fight whenever I suggest she go back to work. I guess Jan doesn't see herself as I see her -- a high achiever who needs more in her life than volunteering and carpooling. She can be an excellent mother and physician. She needs to lose this all-or-nothing mentality.

"There's so much I miss about our old life, before Jan stopped working. We couldn't keep our hands off each other. These days I'm lucky to get a peck on the cheek. We'd talk for hours about her cases and my business deals. We'd read and discuss the same novels. For the past eight years the only topic she's interested in is our kids. If she's not talking about their schoolwork or activities, she's quiet and withdrawn. As for her being angry that I don't take time off for parent-teacher conferences, this is news to me! I work 45 minutes away, even with light traffic, so leaving the office in the middle of the day is not an option.

"Jan has a really short fuse. She'll fly off the handle at the slightest thing -- if Lily leaves on the bathroom light or I forget to take out the trash. I never know what's going to set her off, or when she'll give me the silent treatment. And of course my heart attack has taken a terrible toll on our relationship. We used to love skiing as a family and even though my cardiologist has cleared me for all sports, Jan is convinced I'll keel over on the slopes. So no more ski trips. This is ridiculous. Okay, I know she's a doctor, but she's not an expert on heart conditions.

"After the incident with the last au pair I supported Jan's decision to stay home, but I didn't expect it to be permanent. Now she won't even hire a babysitter. I used to love going out to dinner or seeing a movie with another couple. So that's one more thing I miss.

"I want the old Jan back, the sexy, talkative one with the easy laugh. I understand that Jan is scared I'm going to die. I'm scared, too, but I've followed my doctor's instructions to the letter. The rest is out of my control. She's so deep in denial that she won't even discuss it. I love Jan and wish she'd stop letting fear control our lives."

Continued on page 3:  The Counselor's Turn


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