Q: I have been married for 14 years. My wife is a liar and lies about small things. I realized it about 10 years ago and have tried to reason with her. We have two daughters, and the older one is like her mom and also has a habit of lying.
Over the last few years I have started calling my wife on it whenever she lies to me. For the last eight months, we have not talked, and we sleep in different rooms. She has never made an effort to fix our relationship. I want a divorce, but for the kids’ sake I am not talking about it or forcing the issue.
I’m very depressed and don’t know what to do. I have started drinking a lot late at night when everybody in the house is asleep. Please advise. — Had It in Georgia
A: It’s time to take a step back and review what’s happened in your marriage in the sober light of day. Neither you nor your wife is communicating on a meaningful level. Drowning your sorrows in alcohol won’t fix what’s wrong in your relationship with a compulsive liar, and neither will tolerating the status quo.
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You say you want a divorce but haven’t mentioned it for your children’s sake; however, the silent anger and hostility in your home isn’t a healthy environment for them. Do you really want them to grow up thinking this is normal?
If you or your wife is concerned about how your behavior is affecting your daughters, start talking with a licensed marriage counselor to see if your marriage can be revived. If it can’t be, then it might be healthier to consult an attorney and make the split as amicable as possible for everyone’s emotional and financial sake.
Q: When my boyfriend, “Alec,” proposed, I happily accepted. But a few months later he came up with the idea to bring his 9-year-old brother, “Shane,” to live with him so Alec can look after him. Alec thinks the boy will get a better education and improve his behavior if he lives in the city.
Currently, Shane lives with their mom, and she agreed to send her son to live here. The problem is, we plan to get married in two years, and I do not see myself living with an adolescent boy. I want to start out fresh only with Alec. His family can visit, but the prospect of his brother living with us does not appeal to me, especially because he has a mom who can look after him. I am unsure now whether to proceed with the wedding, knowing what this will mean. — Plans Derailed in the Midwest
A: Does your fiance intend to bring Shane to stay immediately? At the beginning of the next school year? Is Shane having social problems at his present school? Academic difficulties? Has he become difficult for their mother to control? Who will be expected to supervise the boy when he is not in school?
You and Alec need to have a lot more conversation about what the realities of this situation will be once the boy arrives. If Alec plans to have responsibility for his brother fall on you, you need to be honest and let him know you are neither willing nor able to do that, so he can make other arrangements.