I've been married 11 years to a man from a wealthy family, who has also prospered. We have a large home, everything we want, and two children, eight and six, who are happy and very secure.
But I'm miserable. My husband told me not to work, we didn't need the money, and the children needed me at home. But I was too restless and needed to be part of the world outside.
I've been involved in political activism and met a wonderful man who thinks as I do. We've fallen in love, and I need to be with him.
We'll never have what my husband earns and will inherit. He'll always be able to provide so much more for the children. Yet I feel I have a right to take them with me. My lover says it's fairer to leave them with their father, and visit when we can.
Is it possible they'll understand when they're grown, and realize I did this so they could have the best education and future?
Be sure you're not letting your lover convince you to do this for convenience - his or yours. You may regret it and resent him for it, forever.
The fact that he's encouraging leaving your children is a worrisome sign, so also be sure you're not letting passion blind you to other aspects of this man, which may be red flags. Take time to make your decision about him, and longer to think through about the children.
Meanwhile, talk to a family lawyer about how a separation agreement works, and learn the rights and responsibilities of both you and your husband. He'll still be a partner in their education.
Ask, also, for the help of a therapist who deals in divorce and how it affects children, the custodial parent, and the one who leaves. You have a lot to consider.
My daughter, 48, has been divorced twice. Her two children, raised mostly by her, are both grown and she'd love to find someone for the long-term.
However, she hardly gets asked out and I can see why. She's highly opinionated and has become a know-it-all on everything she learns.
Also, her years of watchful mothering have made her overbearing with others, including me. She gives orders, and gets defensive when there's disagreement or even gentle criticism.
In the last years while she's attempted to meet men through set-ups, dating sites, or professional matchmakers, any men who were interested at first soon fell away.
How can I tell her she needs to soften her personality if she wants to find someone who'll stick around?
Tread lightly here, Mom, as your daughter will not welcome your view on this, which will make her feel like a failure.
Suggest that she "prepare" herself for dating in the way she'd have her children prep for something new - research. In this case, she needs to research herself, as well as the "art" of dating.
She can find numerous web sites that will give "tips" and viewpoints from both women and men, on how to date successfully.
But the way to learn more about her own attitudes, reactions, and how others perceive her, is through personal counseling. Let her come to this conclusion herself. You may prompt this by suggesting she also speak to her girlfriends whom she trusts, to ask how they think she can improve her dating success.
My older brother, 67, whom I respect and love, sometimes calls me to advise/lecture me on how to live. I'm 61.
He's a lawyer so has that air of authority. But I've also been a successful professional, living happily with my husband, no less happy than he with his wife.
I never lash back, to mind his own business, as I value the close sibling relationship of years, especially through our late parents' illnesses.
What's the best way to handle this?
Thank him for caring, and change the subject as soon as possible. Try to enjoy his company in a social way as two couples, say, out for a movie or other event together. He's less likely to lecture you when you're with your husband.
Except when necessary, avoid long phone conversations. If private chats keep bringing his advice, respond with "I'm doing fine, how about you?" Maybe he wants you to ask.
Tip of the day:
Child custody and access require long, thoughtful deliberation with professional help, for the best interests of the children.