On various states of ruin.

Dear Coquette,

Over the past four years, I’ve been laid off twice and ultimately spent 16 months unemployed. My self-esteem, marriage, finances and career are in various states of ruin. Presently, I’m underemployed and bitter. I don’t know where to begin. How do I engage the second act of my life?

I fought hard to carve out a career in an industry that I always dreamed about working in. While I treasure that achievement, I have no idea where to begin anew. I feel the weight of supporting a family in my thoughts of career change.

On top of that, after 14 years of marriage and two small children, our relationship has crumbled. I feel a tremendous burden of guilt at the thought of putting my children through our divorce. I know what it did to me as a child.

I’ve been in therapy for over a year now and I’m making some progress. I don’t know that I can get her into couples therapy, but I do know it is the only thing that might save us.

I understand that the shitstorm is going on all around us. I’ve just run out of juice to fight it off. What the hell do I do next?

Take care of your kids, man. That’s it. That’s all.

As for your career, there is no difference between the achievement you treasure and the bitterness you feel. They are the same thing. Let that mess go.

While you’re at it, take your self-esteem and shove it up your ass. It doesn’t deserve a spot on your list of things in ruin. Get your ego out of the equation, because it’s in the way of things that actually matter.

As for your marriage, quit whining and take action. Get your wife into couples therapy. Turn “for worse” into “for better.” Do it for your kids, and if you can’t pull it off, keep the divorce amicable.

This is your life, dude. It’s not a shitstorm. You’re just in a transitional phase. It’s not your first, it won’t be your last, and you don’t get to run out of juice. Suck it up and keep going. You may not have it easy, but you’ve got it a hell of a lot better than most. Never forget that.

Oh, and did I mention? Take care of your kids, man. That’s it. That’s all.


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