Do I have to wait on divorce until the kids are older?

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I have been with my husband for more than 26 years, married for 20. We had a rocky start; we were so much in love when we met, but he cheated with my friend a year after of dating. I was so frustrated and heartbroken, but we got back together because I pursued him. After that, we migrated to the US, got married, and had children.

We fight a lot. And for the last 10 years or so, we haven’t slept in the same room. He sleeps on the couch and always has an excuse; he doesn't want to wake me up with his snoring, wants to watch TV, etc. We hardly have sex – maybe once a year.

I am so lonely. I can’t talk or have a conversation about us because he always brushes it off. We don't celebrate anniversaries. I try to write him letters, try to talk to him, but it never works. I make more money than him. My priority has shifted to my kids. I take care the house, the kids, the finances, and everything else. He never cared about money. Also, I had cancer five years ago and did all the treatment. I have to continue to watch that.

I feel he takes me for granted. I always feel it's my fault, though, because I begged him to be with me when he never really loved me. I aways have plans to leave him and have attempted to do it a few times but never succeed. My kids are my big concern. I can't wait until they finish college – that's when I think I can move on to be happy. Lately he has been even more detached with me, busy with himself and his hobbies. What should I do? Just suck it up and wait until my kids finish school?

– Waiting

I know I've said this a bunch of times – and maybe parents here will disagree – but I don't think anyone should stay in a miserable romantic relationship for the sake of the kids.

I say this as a child of divorce. Watching my parents separate taught me that adults are human, and that I'm allowed to leave a situation when it's not good for me. I'm not saying it was smooth or that their divorce didn't introduce new problems, but I was happier because my mom (my primary parent) was healthier on her own. I'm not sure you're doing your kids any favors by sticking around. If you can leave sooner than later, consider it. If it's impossible to divorce for logistical reasons, you might be able to live separately. Try to map out a plan.

Please do not blame yourself for winding up in a bad marriage because you wanted this man 25 years ago. You might have begged, but he said yes. I'm sure he made some promises and vows. You don't have to accept your life as is because of something you wanted when you were very young.

I know you don't have much time because you're managing your home, but this is a moment to consider what therapy options might be available. Even if it's just a few sessions, it might be helpful. If logistics and money are the issue, it might be worth checking in with a financial planner who can talk about how all of this might work.

Also, instead of concerning yourself with what your husband is doing in the next room without you, pursue the activities that bring you happiness. Watch your favorite shows. Consider your hobbies of choice. You're preparing for a satisfying life on your own. You might as well practice now.

– Meredith

Readers? Wait until the kids are done with college? How do you break out of a relationship like this?