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Enhancing her career?

Hal wrote:

My wife is 38 and a theatre arts college graduate. Her career ambition was to work in the entertainment industry, with her ultimate goal to work on Broadway. However, her career got derailed immediately upon her college graduation 16 years ago. She is a talented singer in several genres (Broadway shows, jazz, pop, gospel, yuletide, music theatre), a talented actress and an expert dancer.

Her ex-husband was controlling and did not let her pursue her dream, and placed strict rules of conduct on her (no makeup, she couldn't cut her hair, she could only wear dresses, etc.). My wife accepted this for the good of their marriage and the children, but it hurt her very much. Their marriage ended in divorce four years ago, and it was a true release from her emotional and performing prison.

Over the last four years, my wife has re-started her career as best she can. She is a member of three music groups where she is the featured singer (jazz and pop, mostly), and she performs several nights a month. She has appeared in several local theatre productions. She has recorded a gospel album and a jazz album. She is seeking as many opportunities as possible. She has received very good reviews in the local press.

Since we've been married (July 2007), my income has allowed her to re-think her entertainment career. She was able to quit her full-time non-entertainment job to more seriously pursue this, as she calls it, her "last chance" to be discovered, to get a big break in the business. She'd like to get an agent, and knows one who could get her more work. The possibilities are so exciting to her.

My wife looks much younger than 38, and I think she can pass for 30 when she wears makeup and is dressed for entertaining. However, she is also very concerned about aging as she frets about her appearance (gray hair starting, some facial wrinkles, less than she desires in size with her chest, more than she desires with her behind and legs). As such, she is seriously considering hair coloring, breast implants, liposuction and botox.

I think my wife is truly talented. I know this is her life's goal. And, I know she doesn't want to hurt her family (we both have children in our blended family). She is even offering to work in various part-time jobs (including teaching arts students) to pay for her "beauty enhancements". She truly wants to give her career that "last chance", full shot, but not for no longer than the next five years. She's asked me if I could support her dream - and would be very grateful to me for doing so.

How supportive should I be? Is she being obsessive? What do you recommend we do?

Dear Hal,

First you need to decide if you believe that these 'enhancements' are right for her. If they are, and you can afford it, then there's no problem.

If, however, you feel that she is chasing rainbows - or that the 'enhancements' are not about her career, but something rather different, then you have a problem. After all, neither acting nor dancing require surgery, and are not necessarily helped by surgery.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't support her anyway, but it does mean making tough decisions. If you support the 'enhancements', how will you react when she asks to go to Hollywood - or Broadway?

It might not happen - but if she's as determined as she sounds, it might well happen. How will this affect you, the children and the marriage?

Nothing wrong with supporting her dream, so long as her dream does not destroy yours. If it might, then you have some serious talking before it's too late.

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