I’m 40, female, with teenage children. My husband of 20 years is 44. I dated him before marriage but had to leave my own family to marry and live with him. Wherever we go, his family comes too.
Within five years of marriage my husband had an affair which he ended after I discovered it. During that time, we had no sexual life together. If I try, he refuses.
After several years, we resumed an intimate relationship. He started to travel for work. I wanted him to vacation with me, but he didn’t. I wanted to explore intimacy together. It wasn’t possible at home because of his family’s presence.
We had many fights and arguments. He blamed me for everything.
I was a shy person, but in our bed, I liked to be dominated by the man. But we never discussed what we liked. I started to focus on work (in his family business). It also became my responsibility to do all the household work.
He said he goes to bars and nightclubs with friends but I later learned that he’s going to prostitutes. He promised that while he’s in a relationship with me he wouldn’t do that.
He blames me for everything including these past 20 years he feels he wasted because of me. He says he wants to separate, but my mind won’t accept it. I suggest we try another year to fix things.
But even if I wait another five years, he won’t fix himself or these issues.
I’ve been like his servant, but don't have the guts to leave him.
My family won’t accept if I divorce him. I don’t like him only living with me because of his children.
I can't go to any counseling because they record whatever we communicate.
You could have a better life on your own, with less stress, and less emotional pain.
Your husband can’t just walk away through a legal separation, if you have no income from “the family business” or you’re working as “a servant.”
Once you meet with a lawyer, your husband can’t just leave you without financial support and a suitable place to live which you accept. Search online for information on what laws apply to a legal marriage separation in the jurisdiction where you and your husband currently live.
My daughter and her fiancé are getting married in September. They decided not to invite their cousins’ toddlers to the wedding. My niece has asked several times if she can bring her baby who will then be eight months old.
My daughter responded that no young children are invited. My niece then texted back that she doesn't think she can attend the wedding without bringing the baby.
I feel that they’re both adults and that my niece should respect the couple’s decision, but she won't let it go.
Should I speak to my niece regarding this issue? My daughter’s starting to feel stressed and doesn't want to have bad feelings between herself and her cousin.
You’re wise to stay out of the matter. Yes, they’re both adults but the cousin either has little previous experience with babies - especially when among crowds, noise, and strangers - or she’s envisioning the event as a “coming-out” for herself as a new mother.
However, this is the wedding couple’s big day, no other youngsters are attending. Also, no other parents of youngsters are trying to be in the limelight. And who knows? One day your daughter may feel the same way about a baby.
Reader’s Commentary To help the boyfriend of the “Cruel girlfriend” (July 8):
“I’m happily married for 46 years. I was in a ‘very serious’ relationship with a girlfriend before going to university. She attended a different university.
“She invited me to homecoming weekend. I hitchhiked there and found things had changed. She told me that evening that she wanted the relationship to end. I was devastated. I stayed in her room, cried all night and for the next three weeks.
“However, I got over it, and had other relationships before I married at 23. Looking back, I see that first relationship as a great learning experience. It helped me become more mature about relationships.
“At the time, it seems almost nothing said can alleviate the hurt. But time will heal the wounds, and help one see the value gained from the relationship, and even its ending.”
Tip of the day:
Any wife being treated “like a servant,” needs to get help from a supportive organization e.g. a local YWCA.