I've been married 12 years, and I knew things weren't right for us early on, because we constantly argued. She talks down to me, like I'm a child. I hoped things would change, and never felt strong enough to just leave.
I've fallen out of love with her over the years, but now we have two young children. We tried counselling, but it didn't help. I love my kids, but not my wife. Is it the right thing to stay for the kids even if you're unhappy?
Counselling helps those who want to be helped. Since you want to find ways to either improve your relationship with your wife, or decide that it's okay to leave, counseling can help you even if she won't go.
Through the process (not just two visits), you can try to probe the roots of how this negative communication developed.
By focusing on the problem instead of just running from it, you can also think ahead practically about how a separation would work, regarding the kids and finances.
No one should stay in an unhappy situation indefinitely, BUT, just leaving isn't a solution if you don't know why you've let her treat you this way, or how you'll maintain a workable relationship co-parenting the children.
Once you start to have insights, try to react to her differently. By pulling away from her over time, you likely reinforced her tendency to take control through her domineering behaviour. A changed dynamic between you two can be of benefit even if you split, especially regarding the children.
FEEDBACK Regarding your request for reader input from those who maintained virginity until marriage (July 13):
Reader - "I was a virgin when I married at age 30. It requires courage, determination, self-confidence and self-restraint to wait. You have to stand up to the pressure to have premarital sex from people you date, your friends, and the surrounding culture.
"You'll sometimes face ridicule because dates may denigrate you to get you to change your stance, and friends may feel guilty or ashamed because you dare to do what they did not.
"You'll need determination to stay the course for a potentially long time. It'll take time to find someone who appreciates you and your decision. But there will be someone and he/she will be the right one.
"You'll need confidence to continue living your life according to your beliefs, and to walk away from potential relationships because your values aren't compatible with others' values.
"You'll need will power and self-restraint to resist temptation from others and from yourself. It's hard to ignore the desires of the body. You must learn to run your body and not let it run you. Maintaining one's virginity isn't for the weak.
"You must choose whom you date very carefully and initially meet in casual situations or with groups of friends. Decide whether you want to continuing seeing someone by the end of the second date, and then let him or her know that you won't sleep with him or her outside of marriage and that it's not a negotiable issue. If they still want to see you, it's a good sign.
"But some men/women see it as a challenge and think they can seduce you where others have failed. If you think this is what's happening, end the relationship quickly.
"The right person will respect your desire to wait and will appreciate the gift you're giving them on your wedding night."
I am from Mauritius. My wife was a virgin when we got married. We dated for almost two years and temptation was high to have sex. But it's been our Hindu tradition that girls remain virgins till marriage.
In recent years, this tradition has been fading away, but it was her wish to uphold it. I respected and admired it.
I believe that if a girl's wish is to remain a virgin till marriage, it is the boyfriend's duty to uphold her choice. Though sex is very important in any relationship, it's not the sole binding factor. Love goes a lot deeper than that. I'd encourage any girl who wishes not to have sex to uphold their beliefs, and if anyone thinks they cannot respect that, then they don't deserve that girl's love.
We are all responsible for how we maintain our body and how we want it to remain.
Tip of the day:
Before making a stay-or-go decision, get professional help for insights on how both of you got to this point.