Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I am a jazz musician. I’m married with a child. My wife has a stressful 9-to-5 job. I play at a club several nights a week. My wife and I make OK money, and have always split the bills evenly. Playing jazz has not made me rich, nor is it ever likely to, but I get by. My wife’s work is really getting to her, and the stress is affecting me and our daughter. I have always had days free, and take care of our daughter, make dinner, etc., but I am often not home in the evenings. Now my wife says she is tired of this life. She would like to get a new job, which may pay less. She wants me home at night, and wants me to have more financial stability. When we got married, she was fine with our life, but now it seems things have changed. I can give up the music and get a stable job, but that would be giving up what I love to do the most. Music has been my passion all my life. I fear that if I did this, I would wind up resenting my wife, but if I stay the course, she will wind up resenting me. I love my family and want us to stay together, but I don’t see any way out of this. Any thoughts?

Torn

DEAR TORN: You and your wife agreed to this challenging lifestyle. But then something changed: You had a child, and realized that life is not all improvisation.

You are fortunate to have the passion, as well as the talent, to make a living as a musician. Your assumption that you would have to drop all of this in order to capitulate to your wife is faulty thinking.

Are there ways for you to transition away from playing at clubs several nights a week and perhaps work as a session musician, teaching, or taking other music-related jobs during the day? If you adjusted your current schedule by even 30 percent, it might have a huge impact on your home life. Surely some of the musicians you work with also have day jobs.

Two parents resigning themselves to make some life and work changes are better than two parents refusing to adjust and resenting each other.

You and your wife both have the right to try to get what you want most in life. And — like every other family with children — you’ll both have to compromise in order to serve your needs and also the needs of the family.

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DEAR AMY: My cousin and I were very close, but last year I was going through a heartbreaking breakup and felt very alone. My cousin texted me but never called or invited me to stay with her for a weekend. Eventually, I just invited myself. I wasn’t even there for 24 hours when she made me leave because she had to spend time with her boyfriend. I told her I was extremely hurt because of her priorities. This caused a huge rift because it somehow turned into my fault. On a family vacation she was very distant to me. I wrote to her, telling her how I felt. She texted me five months later to say she read the note, and feels we have a lot more to discuss and time will tell how much we are meant to be in each other’s lives. I suggested finding a time to meet up after the holidays. I have not heard from her since. I am torn. Should I (yet again) be the bigger person and reach out again?

Rejected Cousin

DEAR COUSIN: No. You’ve invited yourself, inserted yourself and asked for what you want.

You’re not getting it from your cousin.

The good news is that she will always be your cousin. She might not always be your friend, however. Your relationship will probably wax and wane over the years. This is definitely a “wane.” Don’t respond to her neglect by asking for more.

DEAR AMY: “Only Child” was asking how to make the relationship with her father “right again.” Maybe it is right, with him. He raised her as a single dad and spent plenty of time with his granddaughter. Now he wants to live his life. Let him live his life! It sounds like he deserves it.

Supportive Reader

DEAR SUPPORTIVE: This father’s biggest crime was when he decided (after decades of single-dad devotion) to marry. I’m with you.