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

Community Member

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

Hi again Cynthia,

I'm glad my story has helped, it's why I keep posting updates on here. When I was looking around the internet I just wanted to find something from someone who was in my exact (or almost) situation so I'd know I wasn't the only one.

Nothing official has happened yet. I think emotionally I feel separated and I don't think hub will catch up until there's paperwork or something official he can understand. I downloaded the separated under one roof form from Centrelink but I don't fulfil all the criteria because we are sleeping in the same bed still due to no spare bed in the house. I rang them and they said I had to fill out the form or move out before I could apply for child support, in the mean time I'm not likely to get a rental unless I can prove income from child support. It's a catch 22. They said if my hub would ring them and confirm that we are separated it might work, but he's still saying he won't give up and can't let me go so he's not going to say that to them!

As for what was the last straw I feel like there have been many. I've done all the emotional labour for 20yrs and I'm spent. I needed him to do something and he just wouldn't not only that he gets angry when I even ask like it's not possible anything is his fault. I'm sick of feeling blamed and like nothing I do is ever enough. A lot of stuff I do just also goes unnoticed. He said something as recently as two weeks ago that made me realise he is still not taking responsibility for his part, still laying the blame for things in his/our life entirely at my feet. So not even the letter or all the attempts to talk it out have worked.

I feel bad hurting him but I feel worse hurting myself by staying. We have a counselling appointment on Friday I told him he had to come with me so we could discuss our options. Maybe that will help. He's just texted me at work to say he's devastated and wants to talk about it again and I feel like I've said all I can say. 'I don't love you enough to keep feeling like this I want to separate.' It's not a mixed message but still...

In the movies one person just packs a bag and leaves, relationship over. Ha! Not so simple is it - GW

Hello good witch.... Tis a very difficult situation... The rock and the hard place! I had more or less the same... Cept I wanted intimacy and he was neglectful.... 20 years later I felt that I had to choose staying coz I love him & it's not as bad as some ppl have..but accepting I would not get what I wanted & needed in the relationship.... Or leaving & definitely not getting those things Ide yearned for , loosing my companion and dad to our then 18 yo lad ...but also stopping the pain, depression and loneliness I felt in my marriage.... Ide been struggling with it for nearly our whole time together and hubby, a good but careless man said my requests were reasonable but he somehow never could make that effort etc etc.. So I left last year.... I do feel grief and sadness but also relieved & begin to remember who I am /was... I think he was relieved too... Which made it easy ...but also made me sad coz I felt I was right all along that he was not emotionally invested in our marriage despite good intentions.... Anyway... My gf says it gets easier 😊 hope some of these ramblings help somewhat

Community Member

Dear MiaM

I can completely relate to your situation. The only reason I am in my marriage now is for my two children. I am trying to get into the workforce as well so as to get out of the house. It is depressing.. We have done counseling but nothing has changed. We share a bed but no intimacy for almost a year. Am at my wits end... I don't know what to do...

Community Member

Hi MiaM! I felt like I was reading my own comment while I was reading yours. I also feel stuck, and we’ve only been married a year! Since being married though his personality has completely changed. I have pulled him up on this and I continue to do so, but I feel like his lack of empathy and some of the things he has said are stuck in my head and I just can’t get past them.

I am too scared to actually take the plunge and leave with our daughter. Although I think about it every day.

Im miserable, and stuck. I have no idea what the right thing to do is.

Hopefully you and I can sort out the way we are feeling, I just wanted you to know you aren’t alone. All the best!

Hi GoodWitch.

We have spoken a few times before, I feel like you are the future me.

Reading this and comparing it to my husband scares me. Should I leave now before I regret it? Or should I try and work through it for our daughter? I have put up a new post and would love to have your take on it.

All the best, thinking of you.


How are you getting on..interested how the counselling went. You are a very strong woman, sounds like you already know what you want but fear is stopping you. How has yr partner been coping? Are you prepared to live together separated under the sane roof.

Since your last mess to me I am still struggling and hate that I am. I was close to telling my partner I do not love him but could not. I just don't know if this separating but living under same roof will help. Kids have a feeling something isn't right and again feel bad.

Community Member
I feel that I have reached the point in my marriage where I just want to walk away from the negativity, the blaming and criticism, the loneliness and isolation and the fear of more years of the same, boring, dull routines that my husband has set up to distance himself from people. We are retired and although there are a few health issues, nothing major to stop us living a social life. He has no friends, has insulted or prevented me from having any except a few he approves of. I have tried to get him to think of moving to be closer to our only daughter and three grandchildren but he gets angry and refuses to discuss it. I want to be in their lives. Now I found out that he told a friend he should have left me years ago as I am a horrible person. I feel so betrayed and want to move out.


I have been reading these posts and feel like I am in the same boat as alot of you. I am looking at separating from my husband of 11 years in the next 2-4 weeks only because he is going overseas for work in November. We have been having issues for about 2 years and I have tried leaving already but he is stronger personality than mine so kept bringing me back in and my fear and children kept me.

As guilty as I feel he found I did cheat on him last year, no excuse AT all but in saying that we have no emotional connection anymore, he will say there is. I can't even be bothered talking to him as I don't actually want to be married anymore!

I am scared to take that leap but have opened bank account and put valuable items in a safe with a friend, my kids will be happier in the long run I am sure of it, I just need to take the leap. Having no family where I live doesn't help either and the feeling that he will bad mouth me to everyone but I can't control how people see me and I have to be OK with that. My anxiety is high at present

Sorry for the rant, just feels nice to be able to let it all out somewhere......

Hi everyone

-Cynthia the last counselling session we did was the best we've had bec hub finally acknowledged a whole lot of stuff he refused to admit before & we talked all through the letter I'd written back in May. I said I was at the point of walking out the door I was done, but it ended with the counsellor asking me if I was willing to give it more time now that hub is willing to do all the things I asked for in the beginning, and he's finally listening and going to therapy himself etc. What could I do? I said yes I would give it more time for the sake of the kids. Hub is doing everything I asked at last, but who knows if that's enough? I don't know so I guess I'm back in limbo again. I'm very hurt on the one hand that it took a rock bottom moment like me saying 'get out it's over' for him to actually do what I needed. I said I won't stand for that, I deserve to be heard every time I speak not just when I threaten something. But I don't want to lose the time I have with my girls, don't want them to lose happy family time. Right now that's keeping me where I am & I still don't know if it's the right decision for me, but for them it might be. I have to put in every effort for them. We have another session this afternoon. I feel like I'm not on the same page as the counsellor though tbh. At the moment I would like to be friends with hub but he and the counsellor want it to be a full romantic/sexual connection. I don't know that's what I want at all or ever will, so still a lot of uncertainty.

Mary R, I'm so sorry that must have been painful for you to hear what your hub said. Understand what you mean about the negativity/criticism there comes a point where enough is enough. How are you going now?

Manoody I'll go look for your other thread

Little My and Breegirl, thanks for your responses all of it helps. I relate to everything you're saying. I hope you're finding a way through, keep me posted if you can xox

Hi Goodwitch

Thank you for the insight and honest opinions with your relationship. Its scary how so many of us can relate, I am in the same boat at the moment. 10 year marriage with 2 little kids, fallen out of love with a man who is not the man i married. Hes depressed, an alcoholic, well has been sober for 4 weeks now.. After been hurt so much in the last 18 months I've put my walls up and pretty much have lost all feelings for him but Im doing things to keep me happy and healthy and loving life with our kids. Sad as it is if we didnt have the kids I would have been long gone. So Im glad you started this thread.. Im so hurt and lost and confused and wonder if there is hope for a depressed male to ever change.. I guess time will tell. He says to me he will try, but ive given so many chances, but as people have said its easier to stay and put on a happy face for the kids to at least have a home and roof over their head.
I have noticed now, with my new found happiness (not waiting on him hand and foot), i go out with friends and started the gym and looking after myself, dressing nice for work etc his insecurities and trust issues are crazy! He makes me feel like im the bad guy in all of this. He is so insecure and questions everything i do, asks where ive been, why im wearing matching underwear and goes through my phone! This I know is not right.. but he throws it back in my face as its me whos changed.. im happy and not showing him enough love, i must be up to something, im cold towards him, I dont kiss him anymore, its all my fault.. this is such a head game mental health. The depressed ones can easily bring down others with manipulation its so hard. But when I tell him all the things hes doing to hurt me i get "oh yep thats it its always my fault! I may as well just die and leave you in peace!" its so hard.. but Im glad there's people like you sharing stories to give me ideas of how to cope. I wont let him depression and jealousy get me down and break my positive outlook on life.

So please Goodwitch dont stop posting, please keep us updated xx