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I want to separate from my husband but don't know how

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I've been married for 20yrs and we have 2 healthy children. We are financially stable. I know I should be happy but I feel depressed and stuck. I no longer want to be married.

I care deeply about my husband, and he is a good man, but he has always been totally closed off to his emotions. Since the beginning I felt rejected and alone when he wouldn't talk to me. After we had our first child I asked him to come to marriage counselling, but he refused. Then I asked him to read a book I’d found helpful, but he was offended that I was 'picking on him' and very angry about it. He said hurtful things I’ve never been able to forget. I think it was then I started to shut him out the way I had always felt shut out by him. That was 8 years ago.

He finally agreed to counselling about 2yrs ago but I feel like it's only scratched the surface. I've asked him to do extra reading or even his own therapy but he refuses. I’ve tried to initiate some fun activities for us but we don’t enjoy the same things and neither of us end up having a good time.

Intimacy is also a problem. For years I was having sex in order to keep the peace and now I just feel used up, like I’m not even capable of enjoying it anymore. The idea of having sex with him makes me so anxious I feel physically ill. It’s been months since I’ve tried and I don't want to again. I've read about sexless marriage, but I know my husband wouldn't handle that. Sex is very important to him. but the real problem isn't the sex it's the lack of connection. I don't know how to feel connected to him anymore. I don't think I want to.

I dream of asking him for a separation, but how? I only work part time, and I don’t want to move the kids even if I could afford to. And it seems too cruel to ask my husband to move out. Should I stay until the kids are adults and waste another 10yrs of both of our lives? The alternative is to break my husband's heart and break up my family. But staying is just adding more layers to my resentment and I'm scared I'll end up hating him.

Has anyone been through anything like this? I’m still seeing my own counsellor, but I think it's gotten to the point where more talking about the same issues won't help. I need to take some action, because I can't stay in limbo. I'm not living just existing.

Thank you

126 Replies 126

welcome sildingdoors, scooter and JCW,

am pleased you have made your first or second post . Well done.

t is a difficult ime that Io went through a couple of decades ago, and the decision is not easy to make and once made it does not get easy as Goodwitch has written in her last post here.

For me it was the right decision but it did affect my children in different ways even though they were glad we were separating.

Besides you three, people have not posted on here for 4 months.

If you want you can keep posting here and support each other or you could start your own thread so more people can see it. '

It is up to you. Whatever you decide I will keep an eye out for your posts.

Hey slidingdoors1 , that sounds really tough . It’s so hard when kids are involved . If you were giving advice to a friend you would tell them to put themselves first but I know it’s not that easy .

Hi Scooter DM,

It's very tough, it's just a vicious cycle, It gets better and then gets worse. I'm always in two minds. It's hard struggling with his mental health, as mean as that sounds! I feel like I'm always doing the wrong thing and I go out of my way to hide stupid things because he is so "paranoid" of me cheating. I have never cheated. He is very controlling and won't even let me go to the shop by myself or when I do, he will ask me why im "acting weird" and then the cheating allegations start.

At the end of the day it's up to me to put a stop to this, I just have no idea of how to even start this process!

It's not always bad as I said previously, we do have a good times and he can go awhile without the allegations.

Community Member
I dont have any helpful information but Oh my gosh. I haven't read all the post replies yet but I am blown away about how much I am relating to you (Goodwitch) right now. I don't know how to do some things on this forum but when you said "I feel depressed and stuck. I no longer want to be married" - I understand.
I have been married 25yrs this year and what he is putting me through at the moment I am just distroyed and want to leave but don't know how. We have a mortgage and a few other loans either in my name or joint names so I am also financially stuck. I am also too scared to leave in case something improves as I love him so much.
I don't have family, parents have past. I don't have friends to turn too. My life is him and the kids.
My husband is also closed off to his emotions and always comes across angry with his tone of voice, amongst the swearing as well so you never know if he is angry or not as those words are part of his everyday talk.
I am mid 40's with 2 boys under the age of 15 but unlike you I want them to stay with their dad because I am not in the best frame of mind.
I am lost, feel betrayed in a way as I have based my life on him.

Hi everyone I can relate to much that’s been said. I don’t know what to do . My husband can be tired, grumpy, angry, frustrated, negative, a workaholic and abuse alcohol. He has anxiety and depression. He barely talks to me. Doesn’t spend much time with me. We don’t have a relationship. We are like house mates. When I try to talk to him about more than the “weather“ he may display one or more of the following behaviours:- doesn’t respond, gets angry, swears, puts people down, puts himself down, puts me down. I have a lot of life issues I am managing too. Thanks for reading my post.

Community Member
Hi Shoyne, I feel very much in the same position as you and many others in this thread. I have no advice, other than you are not alone in these feelings. I’ve barely spoken to my husband in a week and only about things relating to our 3 year old when we do. I’m sick of arguing 😢

Community Member
Sorry that should have said Hi Brave Girl 🤦🏼‍♀️

Community Member
Hi Wiv Thanks for your reply. Good to know I am not alone. That’s very comforting. I can understand your experience with your husband .

Hi shy one brave girl and wiv, and all those reading.

inposted a few months ago scroll back to see it.

itbis great you are giving each other suppoertbbut you will notice this is an older thread and people may nit reply for months,.

if you like you can stay here or start a new thread where more people can see it.

i made the decision over 20 years ago and I still wonder what my life would have been like if I stayed, I am pleased I left and think it was right decision for everyone but is not easy.

take care


Hi quirky. Thanks for your reply. I don’t know what I am going to do yet. I am trusting that I will make the right decision about whether to stay or leave. Neither option is easy. Like I wrote on 6th this month it is hard to live with how things are. Leaving would be hard too. I’m glad you made the right decision for you 20 years ago.Take care Brave girl.