Dear Dr. Romance:

I heard you on the radio and I thought of writing to you. This is about my daughter. She has been married for a couple of years. They are both professionals. Since you listen to many cases and have a vast experience on divorce cases, I would like to ask you based on the following situation, should my daughter cut the loss now and take divorce or should she continue the marriage with the hope that it will be o.k.
-          Last time when they had a fight, he told me that he will not hesitate to take divorce even if they have kids. 
-          His mother lives with them. He constantly tells her that she must take care of her and his mother comes first. A couple of nights before his mother had a headache in the night. My daughter was a fast sleep. He woke her up and told her that she needs to know about that and she should have taken care of her. 
-          They go to look for a house and his mother has to accompany them according to him. 
-          They have one car and he does not want to buy another car because he rides train to work. However, he would make my daughter drive him to work before she has to go to work. Even in that he would get up late and ask her to drive him. Her job comes secondary and it is o.k. she is late.
-          He has four sisters. They are all married. One of them is not well to do. He wants to pay for her sister's down payment for her home. Three other sisters even well to do, he keeps giving a large sum of money.
-          He checks her emails, voice mails. 
-          He has his name on my daughter's checking account but he would not put my daughter's name on his. We do not know how much he makes and my daughter pays for house expenses. 
Basically he is selfish, wants my daughter to take of her mother. Can you please guide us based on your experience?

Dear Reader:
I wonder why you're writing me, instead of your daughter. I am concerned that you're trying to interfere.  If she's a medical professional, she probably can stand up for herself.  On the other hand, perhaps she complains to you, or how would you know all these things?  If she's asking you for help, you might consider whether she's too dependent on you, as well as her husband.

I don't think your daughter should get a divorce before trying to solve the problems.  He certainly sounds controlling, so your daughter needs to learn to stand up to him.  It would be a good idea to figure out if she can do this before they have children, because divorce is not good for kids, and neither is a controlling, demeaning father.  If I were talking to your daughter, I would recommend that she get counseling by herself, to learn how to stand up to this man, and figure out if she wants to.  It's better for her to go by herself, because controlling men are often able to manipulate counselors who don't understand the problem.  
Give her "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely"  "Gentle Persistance" and "Setting Boundaries and Saying No"  They will help her get therapy and be stronger with her husband.  She also might benefit from reading How To Be a Couple and Still Be Free (4th Edition) 

Couple and Free 4th Ed

For low-cost counseling, email me at

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.