Your story sounds familiar. 17 years later than this stage of our marriage, when my youngest was 18 and graduated Hi school we separated for the last time and the divorce was final 3 years later after 30 years of marriage. Lots of mistakes along the way and I was the one with ADHD .
What I did right. At the age of your children I blurted out something i shouldnt have said and my wife threatened to turn my daughters into prostitutes. She was a person who didnt make threats, she made promises and kept them. I left for a hotel for a few nights and decided to remain in the marriage and importantly to make the best i could of it and to cherish and love her as much as i could.
I was no bargain, a kid when we first married and an untreated raging combined ADHDer. I did have 4 years of military training and when i left the army an excellent job waiting for me. No Hi school diploma but lots of smarts and ambitious.
I went in naive but not lied to. What i have learned is that much of the advice you have been given is good. You might though want to be aware that tending to the needs of 3 very young children is completely exhausting. Many men and some women are completely unable to handle it without help. I slowly learned this and coming from a family of 12 was more than able to lend a hand. I was a lousy cook but i often brought home KFC or MacDs or Pizza. I did the vacuuming and laundry often and maintained the flower gardens and lawns snow clearing in winter and the cars. Everyone soon did dishes and eventually the kids learned to keep their toys and things in their rooms. I made the beds so that there were always clean sheets weekly, and my wife was an excellent mother to the children as well as an excellent cook. She isisted that she would not go to a dentist except to get all her teeth extracted and she kept that promise. She was an adequate seamstress and made many clothes for the kid s allthough i tried to increase the funds i gave her each month so that we could outfit them well. I also gave her a Sears credit card when our youngest needed a snow suit and sears would only take a check if we opened a credit card account and used the check to pay the balance. She loved children not men. And as has been suggested i tried everything i could to improve her self esteem, but i am ADHD and blurt out the wrong thing without thinking often and they were always taken the wrong way. Months of improvement dashed in a moment. A few trial separations did not improve things as the children got older.
A company a colleague and i started neede an office assistant and she volunteered for the job. Unfortunately even though she volunteered it did not work out and we needed to hire a professional office worker.
Our marriage didnt recover from this and eventually she left only to show up at my adult Daughters place. Quickly she realized That although she had been working parttime at our church she would be unable to earn enough to afford a place of her own. She returned home and we started the last round of counselling. We agreed to separate and i delayed until my son graduated the following spring. I renegotiated the small mortgage left on the house to meet the separation allowance i paid her. She met and married someone who tolerated everything including a son in law who molested his grandson and went to jail for it.
My girls now adult, one married and one a graduate nurse both told me they had been waiting for this for years and were very supportive of both of us but wondered why it had dragged out so long. My wifes mother spoke to me once and was excommunicated for life because of it by her daughter my exwife. She lost her job at the church a year later….but found a new job and husband.
I had mestasticized cancer 2 years later and went to the Mayo Clinic for surgery. One of my Daughters , the nurse went with me. Her mother didnt speak to her for a year. While we were in rochester for this she got remarried not telling any of the kids.
I can not tell you whether it would be better to leave now or wait until your girls are older. I can tell you that after 5 years with my second wife she left because of my yelling RSD. And the third left after 8 years when i had a major depression after which i discovered i had Raging ADHD combined.
I filled the same need in all three . Security. Which seems to be what you are doing.