Ask Amy

Ask Amy: When is it OK to leave your marriage?

DEAR AMY: I’m at a crossroads. I’ve been married for 15 years, and have two children, ages 11 and 9.

I don’t love my husband anymore and don’t see myself spending the rest of my life with him. I care about him and appreciate him, but there’s no love left. He’s an honest person, and a very hard worker who’s great around the house. However, he’s also a rigid, insecure, angry man.

I’ve been unhappy for years (yes, years), but decided to stick it out for the sake of the kids. But I’m just tired of dealing with him. We don’t fight very often because I find myself just letting everything go for the sake of having a peaceful house.

If we didn’t have children, I’d have no problem dissolving the marriage. I’m not being truthful with him about my feelings, which really bothers me. My dilemma is that I’m concerned with uprooting my children’s lives. How does one decide whether it’s worth it to stay for the children’s sake?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

DEAR STAY OR GO: Just spitballing here – but I’m wondering if your husband might be insecure and angry because he is married to someone who likes but does not love him, and who has been unhappy for years.

I’m not blaming you for his behavior, but you don’t seem to be taking much responsibility for your own happiness. You passively avoid fighting in order to have a peaceful home, but there are times to be a little less Neville Chamberlain and a little more Winston Churchill.

I’m not suggesting you fight your husband “on the beaches,” but you two might be able to restore some connection and intimacy if you learned how to communicate honestly – and fight for your marriage. It would be a shame if you walked away from your marriage without at least attempting to change it for the better.

Raising children in an unhappy home is obviously not good for them, but don’t kid yourself – at their ages most children aren’t overly concerned about your happiness in your marriage and would rather have their parents together than endure the dislocation and uncertainty of splitting up.

A marriage counselor may be able to coach both of you into making changes that might benefit your marriage, or help you to separate peacefully, if that’s what you choose to do.

DEAR AMY: I am a 29-year-old woman with a wonderful career. I just bought my first home and have been dating a man for two years.

I love this man very much, he is my best friend and I invited him to live with me.

We get along very well, I love his family and I want a future with him. We are very serious and have talked about marriage. The only problem is, he is 27 and continually calls me “old.”

He recently saw a photo of me when I was in my early 20s, and told me I was in my “prime” back then. He talks about children and is concerned that I am too old to have them.

He also talks often about younger women and how beautiful they are. I have told him this hurts my feelings. I don’t understand how a two-year age difference is that big of a deal. It obviously bothers him, but not enough to end the relationship – or is it that he is just lazy and settling for me?

What should I do? I need some perspective and guidance.

Worried

DEAR WORRIED: Maybe YOU are lazy and settling for HIM. His comments might not bother someone else, but they bother you. You need to decide if you really want a future with someone who, frankly, sounds like a bit of a baby.

DEAR AMY: “Affair Bound” asked if he could get his wife’s “permission” to have an affair. You should have taken the opportunity to educate him about polyamory. This is a lifestyle which can work for many people.

Poly

DEAR POLY: I do not advocate for polyamory and thus don’t feel compelled to educate people about it.

Write Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribpub.com.

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