"I am not trying to break the dance. I am merely trying to endure the next 5 years. Then I can break the dance permanently."

This kind of thinking reminds me of people who are very frugal. They live a life focused on what they will do when can be free of the "need" for frugality. But, years of living a particular life style has ingrained thoughts and behaviors they can't, and don't, want to change.

Will your self loathing disappear the day your possible divorce happens?

You keep coming up with reasons nothing can change until you're away from Mrs. H. Though your jobs plays a part in not allowing yourself to feel pride. This is putting her in charge of your self worth, or your job, or your level of income. There is always some outside source making it impossible for you to find value in yourself.

"In all cases, the path to happiness runs through my career success."

Then perhaps your definition of career success needs to be examined. Less emphasis on earning top money. More emphasis on finding value in what you do and how you do it. If you were complete s..t at your job you'b be out on the street.

"I feel a small pride that I said no."

Stop here. Feel the pride you didn't accept what would not make you feel good. End of story. Stop over analyzing what it might mean and how she might react. This is your choice to be proud of. You don't need to share that with anyone. It was a good choice and you felt pride. Let it go at that.

Formerly nam here since 07/31/03 coastal, CT