Nick, 34, sailing instructor, married with an eight-year-old son Michael, 29, part-time IT manager, married for two-and-a-half years, with a month-old son Justin, 45, lawyer, married for 12 years to his second wife, though they live apart - his wife lives with her sister. He has one child, now 21, from his first marriage Russell, 43, marketing executive, married for 16 years, with three children. He and his wife recently separated Carl, 41, teacher, has lived with his partner for 15 years, with whom he has a nine-year-old son How would you describe your wife?
Sexy, interesting; more successful than me. Pretty, 5ft3in, slim, 54kg, same profession as me. But she's someone who doesn't really reflect on her own emotional make-up. And that's been difficult for us. Basically a nice person. She's 45, fit, active, intelligent. She doesn't live with me, but with her sister. We see each other once a week. She's intelligent and self-assured, not at all fiery, unlike my first wife. Why did you get married? I didn't want to carry on going through the whole going-out-for-two-years-and-splitting-up thing.
It was time to grow up. Would I have got married if all my friends hadn't been getting married around that time? I was 27; my wife was just I like the ritual of the thing. We were in love. At the time we would have loved to have had children, but I think that it was a bit too late for us. How well do your wives know you? Do you keep things secret from them? Funnily enough, now that things are hard between us, we talk about everything. If we'd talked to each other three years ago as we do now, we probably wouldn't be struggling.
We're far better friends now purely because we're speaking from the bottom of our hearts. In the past, she's kept a lot of emotion to herself, and I've grown to be a lot like her. I make excuses that I've got a business meeting if I don't want to pull my weight with the childcare I've had affairs, which I've never told her about. We don't tell each other everything, unlike a lot of husbands and wives. Have you ever had affairs? Yes - three, during the course of our marriage. I'd say these were driven by the wish for excitement, as well as feeling bored at home.
The thing is, I get a lot of freedom in my marriage - more than enough rope to hang myself. But I don't have any conscience about it. I've told my buddies about my affairs, but as far as my wife is concerned, she knows nothing. I'm still the wonderful nice guy she married. When I married, I made a decision that I wasn't going to be tempted. And with a child it felt as if my lot was now thrown in with Grace.
Certainly, I've felt attracted by other women, but I've always known I wouldn't act on it. There was just the one. The problem was sex: And one day I told her I wasn't getting as much as I wanted, and she said, 'Well, go off and get it somewhere else if you want to, just don't tell me about it.
Looking back, she might have meant it as a joke, but it didn't sound like a joke at the time. It was fantastic - a younger girl in the office, whom I found extremely attractive, and who obviously found me attractive. It was never going to go any further than that. It was just an ego boost.
I've forgotten how to flirt. If an affair was going to happen, someone would have to come on to me so strong, when I was drunk or whatever. I couldn't do the chasing. It'd have to be a weird, left-field thing, on a business trip Yes, though she doesn't know.
I guess I've had about four affairs. These were triggered partly by opportunity - women in the workplace. Being away from home at least one night in four.
So these affairs were always with work colleagues. Also feeling got-at when I was at home. How did having children affect your sex life? Our son arrived soon after we got married. That was a big mistake: The birth knocked sex on the head. Once the baby was there, the channel through which my wife wanted to pour her love was him. I remember the day before she gave birth, feeling that this was the end of my relationship. And, as far as sex went, it was.
Before our son was born it was quite active. She's an older mother, so after the birth she got a lot more tired. And he used to sleep with her in the bed sometimes, which made me feel as if I'd been moved down a peg or three.
I'm a pretty easy-going bloke, but when I got bumped down to fourth or fifth place - after her sister's husband was run over in Spain and my girlfriend sidelined our family to put hers first - I felt a bit miffed. And to make matters worse we weren't talking about it.
We had a lot of sex beforehand, then once you have children you become second place. Your wife's tired, you're tired. We didn't have sex for the first few months, but our son is 14 months now and it's got back to normal. But it wasn't hugely regular before. It's just been an even once a fortnight, sometimes once a week; and, if I don't start to think that's a problem, that's enough for me. But if I start to think that there's an average, and that I'm falling below the average, then it does start to be a problem.
For our relationship, though, it's enough. Having said that, there was a moment when the whole children thing felt pretty challenging, when I'd leave them in bed together in the morning, and he'd be glued to her breast, cradled in her arms. My wife suffered from post-natal depression, and I remember her getting quite emotional. The children took precedence over me, and that impacted on things.
Marriage itself also affects your sex life, though: To keep things exciting over a long period of time is hard. I don't know anyone who has been married for a long period of time who still has a full and exciting sex life. Have you ever wished you were single? No, despite the problems with marriage. As a young man I had quite a lot of relationships.
And I could have been single at any time in my marriage if I'd wanted; I can be ruthless if I want. But I think we'll remain together now. There have certainly been more than a few points in my life when I've thought, 'Bloody hell, what have I done? I could have had a wild sex life with a girl somewhere. If I hadn't been a parent, yes. If it was just us, me and Grace, I would have left by now.
I've often questioned whether I did the right thing in getting married to her that young. Despite having three wonderful children, I have at times wondered if it was the right thing to do.
As to whether I married the right person, well, we have some very similar interests - science fiction, skiing. But she wasn't part of the in-crowd at university with me, she didn't enjoy going out drinking, and to a certain extent that's one of the issues that has come to the fore now.
She wants a quieter life, and I don't. I've encouraged her to become a bit more of a party animal. But she'd rather have a quiet family time. Oh to be 26 now, with the consciousness I have now.
I'd be picking up all the divorcees