DEAR ABBY: My husband of 30 years has always made me feel like I wasn't good enough for him. He would flirt with other women and say things to me about an ex-girlfriend he broke up with before marrying his first wife. (I caught him private messaging her.) He has told me four different times that we should separate. The first three times, I cried about it. The last time he said it, I told him never to say that to me again.
I have always tried my best to be a good wife to him. He's verbally abusive most of the time. When I see him coming home from work, my stomach ties in knots because I don't know what kind of mood he's in. He can be good at times, but it's not that often. I'm going to be 50 and I'm not sure if I want to live like this the rest of my life. Help, please. -- UNHAPPY IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR UNHAPPY: It's important you recognize that you are married to an emotional abuser. He maintains his power in your relationship by eroding your sense of self-esteem. Discuss with a licensed mental health professional the treatment you have tolerated for the last 30 years and your desire to rebuild your shattered self-esteem. It may take time to accomplish, but it will be money well spent.
At some point you may ask your husband to join you, but don't expect him to automatically agree. Once you feel better about yourself, you can then make a well-thought-out decision about whether to continue being married to him.