Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Mrs. Bluth,

I am composing this letter while sitting on a plane and seriously considering never returning home again. I know I’m probably not thinking straight what with the chance of never seeing my children again or my parents and siblings for that matter, but my misery is so great, I can’t face returning home in two weeks to the shrew I married. I know you need some more background in order to, somewhat, understand my thoughts about disappearing from my family but there’s really no other way because if my life is hell with my wife, it will be a thousand times worse going through a divorce. She will eat me alive, fleece me of every penny I have and every penny I’ll make until the kids are grown, not to mention what she will do to my reputation, which will ultimately dry up my clientele and ruin me totally.


I am a reconstructive surgeon with practices in Israel and the States, which I visit twice a week for consults and surgery and return home for two weeks of the same in my home state. I am highly respected in my field as well as a distinguished member of my community for over ten years. After finishing my studies and going into active practice, I first starting seeking a life partner and since I was somewhat older, 28 to be exact, and a bit more selective, it took a while before I thought I found exactly the right girl for me. Leah (not her name), came from a very wealthy and prominent family, the youngest child and only daughter, so you can only surmise how big the silver spoon she ate with from birth.

Our wedding was legendary, and we lived way above our means, and as the family grew over the ten years we were married to include three boys and a girl, Leah changed. Her appetite for the latest ‘everything’ grew beyond anything I could have foreseen, and if she could not have what she wanted, she would become enraged, yelling and cursing and saying she would tell everyone what an abusive husband I am. Truth be told, I lived for the weeks I would travel away from home to regain my sense of self and have a little peace. I love my children and try to spend what little free time I have to be with them so that they would benefit from at least one parent’s attention instead of the housekeeper or the babysitters. But with my building responsibilities as a sought-after consult and surgeon on special cases outside of my own, my time is very limited. I have begun to see changes in my children as well. The older two fight constantly and talk back to their elders, they have also developed behavioral issues at school, to which my wife turns a blind eye. When I am home, I try to reverse some of the damage, but it is too little, too late.

The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred just two weeks ago. Upon my return home, I discovered that my wife had left on a trip with two of her divorced girlfriends and was arriving that evening. The kids had been left in the care of our housekeeper for the past two weeks, while she was off doing who-knows-what! I was so furious when she got back that we had a blow-out fight and we haven’t spoken to each other since. During the two weeks I was home, I tried to smooth out some of my boys’ issues at school, but with my work obligations here, it was a poor effort. Before much of anything was accomplished, I was back on a flight to Israel for my two weeks there. And I am writing to you from the plane.

I don’t hold out too much hope that you’ll have anything to offer that is curative to this marriage, if you can at all call it that, I no longer feel any love or desire for my wife and I’m pretty sure she feels the same about me. So I’m thinking it would be best to just not return home. Maybe I might not even send this out to you as it made me feel somewhat better just to vent, even if it is in letter form, and hear what you have to say. What would you do in my place?


Dear Friend,

I’m really glad you hit ‘send,’ whether by accident or with intent, and I truly feel your frustration, anger and defeat. I ask you to shut those feelings down, if just for a few moments to read what I have to say. First, right off the cuff, you sound like a man who has been working himself to the extreme for a very long time. You married a woman who was used to having anything and everything she wanted, this was not something that just happened during your marriage so she can’t be faulted for her behavior, nor did you ask her to. You, on the other hand, chose to concentrate on your career and your successes and acclaim came at a steep price. Your celebrated career paid the bills and your wife substituted her loneliness with exorbitant purchases and unsuitable company. But the biggest losers in this play are four young children who just needed the security and loving guidance of a mother and a father in a stable home and a safe environment. This you and your wife were responsible for, and both of you blatantly failed in this endeavor. Both of you are equally guilty.

What would happen if you gave up your two weeks a month business venture and made your practice solely in the States, close to home. You could very well be as successful here without the wear and tear of traveling back and forth and your wife would have a husband she sees every night and the kids, a father they can reach out to for hugs and talks, not just a voice over the phone! Your marriage is in shambles and there is a great need for professional help to disassemble it and put it back together again in a healthier more cohesive way, if you want to save your marriage and your children’s well being because they are normalizing this toxic and damaging idea of ‘family’ that they will carry over into their adult lives and possibly repeat in their own marriages.

Divorce is not always the only answer. With a vision of the kind of family you both want to have and the will to strive towards that goal, there’s a good chance that with family therapy and individual counseling, much of the damage can be undone. It will take a lot of work, an honest and joint effort on your wife and your part to stay with the program and keep your eye on the prize. I hope you can understand that the failure here is giving up without at least making the effort to fix this marriage. Your taking the cowards way out and running away will make you the bad guy, the guy who abandoned his wife and his kids. So think good and hard about what’s at stake here and what you stand to lose!

I wish you well and hope that you will take the initiative to sit down and speak with your wife, not in anger but in earnest, and ask her to partner with you in an attempt to make your family whole and loving for both your sakes, as well as for the sake and well being of your children. I’m here for you if I can in any way make that journey easier for you.


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