How does he tell kids he wants a divorce?

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: Fifteen years ago my wife fell in love with a married man. We went to see a marriage counselor but it didn't make any difference. Our kids were quite young at the time and instead of getting a divorce, I decided to stay in the marriage. My kids were involved in religious activities and sports teams, which they would've missed out on because my wife isn't religious or into sports.

I don't believe my wife is in love with the other man anymore, but she's not in love with me either. She doesn't really like doing anything with me (like going to a movie or out to dinner, etc.), and if we do go out with one of the kids, she treats me like a third wheel.

Our youngest daughter recently graduated from high school, and now I'm considering getting a divorce. I love my wife but I'm determined not to live the rest of my life like this. I know I'm going to have to talk to my kids about the divorce but what would do you recommend I tell my kids -- other than that I love them very much?

--Sad Dad

DEAR DAD: Now that your youngest has graduated from high school, you can expect the dynamic with your wife to change, for better or worse.

Before giving up on your marriage, however, I hope you will try counseling again.

Do not discuss divorce with your children unless you are definite about it and have chosen to separate. Your children certainly have noticed the dynamic between their parents through time. They will see that you have been marginalized over the years (and they have occasionally pushed you to the margins, too).

You needn't have martyred yourself for your children's activities -- and it's important that you don't present yourself as a victim.

All you need to say is, "Your mother and I have not been happy together for a long time. We love you very much, but our own relationship isn't working out."