I am married and raising two children with my wife. Things are not the best between us, I want to make things work but I don't know if this is going to be possible.

We tend to have a lot of conflict which is mostly centred around one issue. I must admit, I am guilty of angry outbursts and criticism in response to this which I understand is damaging in itself. But I become so frustrated and resentful because my attempts at communicating the problem in a calm and civil fashion are always brushed off by my wife, and nothing seems to ever change.

The problem for me is in large part related to a lack of domestic support, but it is also one of a sense of a lack of fairness in terms of how much each of us gives to each other in our marriage.

Basically this is a summary of the imbalance;

I am the sole provider financially for the family. I've done quite well financially over the last couple of years after working extremely hard and have managed to pay off our mortgage on our new home (which I built for the family) as well as provide a very comfortable lifestyle for everybody. I am quite happy to be the sole provider in this regard.

My wife has a small business which I initially supported her starting up, but it has run for several years without achieving any success and yet is basically the most important thing to her in her world. She does not take any drawings from the business. This is all she ever wants to talk about, and when she is at home she is often sitting on her computer working on it with no awareness of the needs of other people in the house.

She does not provide much if any domestic support. Anything she does do I generally feel that I have to extract out of her - with repeated requests which often escalate to conflict - I do 95% of the cooking, grocery shopping, washing of clothes, etc., and have had to resort to paying a cleaner to help with tidying. I am even responsible for looking after the children after school. I think it is relevant to mention that the eldest child is not mine biologically, but I have raised him as my own since birth. I consider that giving her child a strong and supportive father figure is something that she takes for granted. She always claims that she doesn't mind doing things to help, but almost always responds that she is not yet ready to do whatever thing that I have asked for her to help with, and that she will do it at xxx time. Yet xxx time always elapses without the task being taken care of. Furthermore, she regularly leaves her clothes strewn around our bedroom, leaves messes around the place, and basically makes me feel like I am expected to clean up after like one might do for a child. This even goes as far as dirty dishes being pushed under beds, and other unhygienic and unpleasant mess making.

We can't seem to find things to talk about very often. I like to talk about ideas, to explore different concepts and knowledge, but I can't seem to engage her on this basis. She would probably state that she finds it difficult to engage with me on discussions surrounding other people, although mostly all she ever focuses on is minutiae relating to her business, which becomes very staid and boring quickly.

She does not take care of her physical appearance. She is overweight and does not exercise. Occasionally she attempts a crash diet which I see as symptomatic of a general laziness. I feel that it would be nice if she made an effort to look nice for me - its not the most important thing to me by any means but it is something.

I have expressed to her many times that I feel like things are a one way street in our relationship, and that the only way I will be happy is if we can work together, to support each others needs. I have been very specific that this includes domestic support especially considering she is supported by me financially and I think that she should consider herself very lucky to be in a position where she can go and work on a business just because she wants to.

Recently I made quite significant attempts to try and move towards fixing things by working through His Needs, Her Needs and working on how I can make things better from my end. I recognised that the angry outbursts would have to stop and tried to identify where I could be failing her. Consequently I put in quite a lot of effort to be more affectionate as well as calmly explaining how my needs were not being met.

Following she made some superficial efforts, for example she decided to clean up the dishes after dinner (which I have still been cooking), and I felt like there might be some promise. I filled in the emotional needs questionnaire and gave it to her, suggesting that we could work on understanding each other better if we filled that in. She didn't do that and so we never got an opportunity to complete that exercise.

After about two weeks it started to feel like this whole process was simply an extension of the general imbalance that I discussed above. Once again I was putting in the effort, trying to get her to read chapters of the book together, making efforts to consider how to best meet her emotional needs, not resorting to negative behaviour when I become frustrated etc. All the while nothing much coming back in return.

Eventually this built back up to my resentment boiling over and returning back to angry comments and criticisms.

It all feels like a negative cycle.

We go through this situation, quite often she acknowledges the problem, but then the action is never taken to deal with it. This makes me feel that I can't trust her.

The way things are going I do not know what the best approach is. I would far rather things work out between us but feel that I am actually quite justified in feeling the resentment that I feel. Nobody would reasonably expect their partner to act like a dependent child.

I am wondering whether a separation might be best?