Dear Annie: I have been married to my wife for 20 years, but only three were truly happy. My wife is older and had been married before. She came to the relationship with a 3-year-old child. We then had a daughter together.
Not long after we married, I learned that my wife is a clutter bug and refuses to do housework. She always has an excuse. Usually, she's "too tired" or says, "I'm just not good at cleaning." For years, I've done all of the housekeeping and laundry and most of the cooking. I also had a full-time job while she would periodically be unemployed. I had to work overtime hours and get a second job to make ends meet. She once went an entire year without working, yet would not lift a finger to help around the house.
Needless to say, I've built up a lot of resentment toward her and have lost any feeling of intimacy. We live like roommates. I have stuck it out for my teenage daughter's sake, but due to my wife's terrible example, my daughter is now exhibiting traits similar to her mother's.
I've tried to talk to my wife about this, but she accuses me of being an ungrateful taskmaster, expecting her to do more, and it turns into a major fight. I don't think I can take it any longer. I want someone I can love. Am I wrong to want out? Should I suck it up and be grateful she isn't a drug addict or an alcoholic? Do I stay until my daughter is out of the house? Please help me out. — Trouble in Paradise
Dear Trouble: The bar must be set pretty low in your house for you to believe that a marriage is good enough because your spouse isn't an addict. Your resentment has festered too long. Please talk to a counselor, alone or with your wife, and see whether anything can be changed. Also discuss with the counselor alternatives to your current situation (separation, divorce, resignation, patience) to help you figure out your best next step.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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Originally posted 5-18-2014 at