DEAR AMY: My marriage is not a particularly happy one. My wife and I were both older when we met and running out of time to have children, so we probably settled. My wife presented herself to me for years as someone with a strong moral character. She demonstrated that she had class, but when we married, she turned into a whining, nagging, disrespectful (in public, to me), and selfish person almost overnight. Recently, she threw a tantrum hours after a close family member of mine had tragically passed away. (It ruined her plans for the day!) I realized she will never change back to the old her. This is it. My oldest child senses something is amiss and has become super clingy toward me. We spend wonderful precious time together every evening. I feel as though taking this away from her is selfish on my part and that I should just suck it up. My girl just needs her father. Every day. Counseling has been a waste of time. She is constantly on the verge of a meltdown based on everyday little things, and has no resilience. This is a learned behavior and not a physical condition (i.e. postpartum depression). She won't go to therapy or a doctor, anyway. I am sorta done. I don't want to be with her anymore. What is the conventional wisdom on staying together for the kids?
DEAR STUCK: The conventional wisdom is that you should try mightily to repair your marriage — for the sake of the entire family (and that includes you) before you declare yourself "done."
I can't say whether staying together for the "sake of the kids" works, or whether it would work for your children. Every family has a different dynamic. But children never benefit from living in a combative household. Your daughter may be clinging to you because she senses that you are on your way out. Or she is clinging to you because you offer her a haven from your wife's volatility.
When you accuse your wife of not having "class," it is a bit of a hot button, because this "class" concept is a tricky one. It is appropriate (and "classy") to review your own behavior to see what you might do differently to increase the harmony in your household, and to take ownership for your own failings.
You also need to get a handle on your own emotions. You obviously have lost respect for your wife. You are very angry and resentful. You feel she has deceived you. You say that she is refusing counseling or that counseling doesn't "work" for her — but what about you? Counseling could help you to clarify your options and intentions.
Yes, your kids benefit greatly from their daily Daddy time. But divorce does not mean that you will disappear from your kids' lives. If you and your wife split, they might do best with you as the primary parent.
DEAR AMY: Can you comment on this sort of rudeness? On a 2-1/2 hour plane ride, the nicely dressed, middle-aged woman next to me continually snorted her "mucus" back up her nose. She needed to blow her nose badly, but chose this "solution" instead. Most grade-school children have better manners. Unbelievable! I thought of sweetly telling her, "Honey, if you go into the bathroom, there is tissue in there so you can blow your nose and you won't have to keep doing that," but I chickened out. What should I have done?
DEAR FLABBERGASTED: Many people experience allergy attacks or other sinus problems during a flight. Dismissively addressing a stranger as "Honey," is not cool (although it's totally cool to do it in your head). Good for you that you restrained yourself.
One polite response would have been for you to say, "Can I help you to get a tissue?" This could prompt her to take care of it.
Then it's time to reach for those handy earbuds.
DEAR AMY: "Reluctant Wedding Guest" was upset to be invited to an out-of-town wedding, but not invited to ancillary events (outside of the wedding). I don't get it. People hosting a wedding are not obligated to provide additional entertainment for their guests. The rehearsal dinner, for instance, is for the wedding party — not all of the guests.
DEAR UPSET: As weddings become ever-more elaborate, guests' expectations seem to have expanded, too. Mature and polite guests find ways to entertain themselves, without burdening the wedding hosts.