DEAR ABBY: I am a loyal wife who does not take divorce lightly, but I'm thinking about leaving my husband, "Joe." He is very hard on my 12-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, "Natalie."
Joe is very strict in disciplining her, to the point of being unreasonable. It has become so bad that Natalie says she hates him and wants to leave him. My two older children, who no longer live with us, feel the same way about Joe. Even my "strict" father is unhappy with the way Joe treats Natalie.
If I honestly thought he loved my daughter and was acting out of love, I might feel differently. However, he has made it clear he dislikes ALL my children -- with a long list of "reasons."
I told Joe my children are my No. 1 priority, and if anyone in my life is a variable, it's him. He finally admitted he's jealous of Natalie and the time we spend together.
As unhappy as I am with Joe's behavior, I'm afraid if I give in to Natalie's request that I leave him, she may try to manipulate me in other ways. Please help me find a solution. -- MISSISSIPPI WIFE AND MOM
DEAR WIFE AND MOM: For your husband to take out his jealousy and resentment of your parental duties on your daughter is deplorable. While I don't think that a 12-year-old should dictate with whom a parent spends his or her life, in this case, your daughter may have a point.
However, before you make any decisions, I urge you, Joe and Natalie to get family counseling to see if his jealousy can be worked out. If it can't, then a separation until your daughter is 18 may be in order.