Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 12 years. We have two children together.

I can fully admit that the last few years have not been our best. We’ve argued frequently.

Six months ago, he moved out for what was supposed to be a short-term break. During that time, he has been treated for depression and anxiety.

Over and over, he has maintained that his only goal is to get well enough to come home to be a family, but I feel like I’m being led on with false promises.

He constantly sets milestones he wants to reach before he can come home. Every time he reaches a milestone he sets, he sets another, and then another.

Am I just incredibly naive to think that he will actually move back as he has promised?

I wrestle with constantly feeling hurt. I’ve become resentful for parenting on my own.

I’ve had to explain his absence to our children and respond to their hurt feelings when he says he will be home and then doesn’t show up.

Should I remain supportive while he works through his issues or has this gone on past the point of what is reasonable and do I end the marriage and go our separate ways? — Hurt Wife

Dear Hurt: Let’s assume that your husband is not deliberately putting you and your children through the torture of continually breaking his promise to move back home. Moving the goalposts is exactly what someone with acute anxiety might do.

Should you remain supportive? Ideally yes. Can you remain 100% supportive, when his choices have such a high impact on you and the children? Probably not.

I think you should see a therapist

— preferably his therapist, who might be willing to work with both of you regarding mediating this important question. The National Alliance on Mental Health also offers information on family support groups — these are peer-led groups of people who are affected by a loved-one’s mental illness. (Check NAMI.org).

Additionally, you should see a lawyer regarding the wisdom of pursuing a legal separation from your husband. I’m not advocating for a specific course of action, but you should at the very least understand the legal (as well as emotional and financial) impact of this long-term separation on your children, and you should act in their best interests.

Be honest and appropriate with them; understand their confusion and sadness regarding this challenge. You shouldn’t blame their dad for being sick, but it’s OK to be upset about the illness that has changed all of your lives.

Dear Amy: I’d like to recommend that people planning destination weddings ease the financial burden on their guests by saying, “We would prefer your presence to your presents. Please, no gifts.”

— Outside the Box

Dear Outside: This is clever. But even without the cost of a wedding gift, many guests find destination weddings unaffordable.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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