Dear Abby: My wife of 16 years, "Barb," and I argue constantly. We can't seem to agree on anything, have few common interests and don't enjoy our time together. Our love life is nonexistent. We have gone to three marriage counselors and it hasn't helped. We now "get along" by avoiding each other.
I think it's time we faced the fact that we're never going to be happy together. When I bring this up with Barb, she gets angry and launches into the same old tirade, saying if I want a divorce I'll have to get a lawyer.
Divorce will be difficult and costly enough without having to drag lawyers into it. I'd like us to agree that it's time to split and use a mediator to work out the details. It will save us a lot of money and, hopefully, make the divorce less acrimonious.
I don't understand why Barb wants to stay together when she's so unhappy and we're unable to make things better. How can I make her see that separating -- in as kind a way as possible -- will be best for us and the kids included?
-- "Former" Husband in Longmont, Colo.
Dear "Former" Husband: Your wife may prefer the evils she's living with to the unknown of being a divorcee with children. However, when a marriage is over -- it's over. And when it reaches the stage that yours has, what both parties need to be most concerned about is preservation of assets, so they aren't dissipated in attorney's fees.
I have seen both kinds of divorces -- one in which the warring spouses spent so much money in litigation there was little left for each of them when it was over; and the other, in which the couple agreed their marriage was broken beyond repair and arranged their divorce with as little cost as possible. I don't have to tell you which people are doing well now. So clip this and share it with your wife.
Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.