Hold, how about instead of a fancy trip or even modest trip to Maine, you and the wife and kids go to a third world country like Haiti for a week.

I want to totally 2x4 your for your comment about feeling like a failure because you can't afford to buy your teenage kid a car.

Because IMHO, actually BUYING your kid a new car when he turns 16 is a total failure in parenting. We are supposed to be raising ADULTS, NOT CHILDREN>>>>> and ADULTS get jobs and buy their OWN vehicles that they can afford. And if they can only afford a $2,000 beater, then they work a bit harder to earn a little bit better car and slowly upgrade, and have along with it a sense of pride and accomplishment.

It seems to me that you are staying in your marriage for the sake of your children. However, with the attitude and chip on your shoulder that you have, you still aren't doing your kids any favors. You may still be causing harm. Don't think you're off the hook just because you stayed married "for their sake." I am the product of a marriage that stayed together primarily because of us kids, and I can tell you there are days when I wish my parents had just been brutally honest with each other and had agreed to go their separate ways instead of pretending that there weren't problems and living in denial. I personally believe that staying for the sake of the kids can be JUST as emotionally damaging as divorce , except no one ever does a study on that.

The reason that you are so depressed, I believe, is because you have an incredibly superficial definition of what it means to be successful. Buying your kids cars? Being able to afford fancy trips and summer activities for the kids? Give me a break, please. No wonder your self-esteem is in the toilet! One way to have healthy self-esteem is to do activities that are WORTHY of esteem. Another way is to know Who you belong to. When I believe that my purpose in life is not simply to live, breathe, procreate, work, and die, but rather, that I am created to play an integral and unique role in the cosmos, that gives me self-esteem. I may not play that role perfectly, but I have a purpose, and it's not to make sure my kids get to live like royalty. It's to teach them, and everyone I know, what love looks like by putting it in action, starting with myself.