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My wife calls me terrible names and undermines me in front of our children. She mocked me the last time I tried to get intimate with her. She hates me, and by now the feeling is very mutual. However, when we're out in public, she pretends everything is hunky-dory. I've heard more than one of her single friends tell her how lucky she is. She has the audacity to smile and act smug about it—because she has such a "wonderful" marriage and they don't. What a horrible joke.
I hate her family, who have always looked down on me because I don't have a college degree. The holidays are going to be torture because I was recently downsized, so now I'm an even bigger loser. If I weren't financially dependent on her, I'd divorce her in a hot second. Right now I feel completely trapped, and you'd better believe she's making the most out of my weakened state. Normally I'd worry about how the children would handle a divorce, but in our case they'd be far better off. It's gotten so bad that I've considered suicide, but ruled it out because I couldn't do that to my kids. I just don't see any other way out.
Normally I summon my Advice Columnist Superpowers and try to imagine the other side to a story, but in your case, it doesn't matter. You are so miserable in your marriage that you've considered killing yourself. Your marriage, therefore, needs to end.
I understand that you're broke and can't go anywhere. First, you need to determine if this is absolutely true. Is there a friendly sofa you can stay on? A relative or friend who can loan you money to get even a tiny apartment? Any odd jobs you can pick up? I know it's really hard to be resourceful when you're intensely depressed, but you have to try. While you're planning your exit strategy, you can take these small steps to make your life more bearable:
• Emotionally disengage. Refuse to be sucked into any fights and ignore any insults. I'm not saying you should pull some lame "I'm not talking to you" flounce—you two have children to raise. Just walk away when she starts button-pushing.
• Physically disengage. It doesn't sound like you're even going to get a hate-fuck out of this cow, so why sleep in the same room and have her poison your dreams? Make the sofa your bed or plop a cot in the basement.
• Know your rights. I am not a legal expert by any stretch, so you need to talk to someone who is. If she's the breadwinner, you may even be able to get some measure of support from her. Look up low-income legal resources and figure out how to get yourself out of this mess.
• Be straight with your kids. Let them know that mommy and daddy will be separating, but it doesn't mean you don't love them. It'd be nice if your wife could also reassure them of this.
• Keep moving forward. When you're caught up in a terrible relationship, it's easy to find yourself mired in a cauldron of shit stew. Focusing on all the crap she's pulled will not help you achieve your goal: getting the hell away from her. Look ahead to where your life will be in a year (far, far away from this she-beast) and figure out a way to get there. You can do it.
• Get some professional mental-health help. Presumably you're still on the evil one's health-care plan. Use it. And if you ever consider offing yourself again, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline immediately: 1-800-273-8255.