My wife & I have been married now for 20 years.  We are on our second marriage. She was widowed.  I was divorced.
She has two children from her first marriage, they are now grown up, aged 46 & 42
I have two children from my first marriage, they are aged 31 & 36.

My wife and I are fundamentally happy.  We share the same family values.  We have the same sense of humour and we enjoy our lives together.

The only issue that causes us angst and that we argue about is our children!

From my point of view, since we formed our relationship 25 years ago, I have always thought that my views and opinions about anything to do with my wife's children is both unwelcome and unwanted.
If I do venture to express my views, this causes resentment and upset with my wife who becomes ultra sensitive and protective about her children.

At the same time, my wife feels she has 'carte blanche' to express her views and opinions about my children.   Her views are often judgemental and disapproving, particularly lately as my daughter is going through a divorce after a very short-lived marriage that I tried to advise her not to enter into.

So my feeling is that it is unfair of my wife to, on the one hand, resent my talking about her children.  But at the same time she feels completely free to give her views about my children.

When I try to explain the lack of fairness in this she again becomes defensive and is in denial about it.

The only way I can avoid conflict is to try my very hardest not to express my views when it comes to her children and try to ignore her views when she expresses them about my children.   This is a very stressful set of 'eggshells' to live my life by.

The situation is worsening rather than getting better and it is having a corrosive impact upon our relationship.  The situation blew up again today because I expressed a view about her daughters husband.   I know that the view I expressed is one that my wife shares.  But it was not acceptable because it was I that expressed it.

My wife has in the last few days stated that she is 'deeply unhappy', that she is not sleeping well and even suggested we sell everything up and go our separate ways.

I am at a loss for what to do for the best.   I know that my wife and I love each other dearly.  But this one issue is tearing us apart.   What can I do?   I'm at my wits end.   Any suggestions gratefully received!
Hi, I understand that this is a difficult and troubling situation. Fairness in all aspects of a relationship is important. If your wife is willing, couples counselling could be helpful. Here are a few services: Relate and Marriage Care. You may find it helpful to read our articles on relationship advice and divorce and separation. If you feel you need further support please e-mail us at or call our freephone helpline on 0808 800 2222.