My husband of 20 years wants to separate

If you had told me five years ago that my dad would be on the Love Letters podcast, I would not have believed you. But here we are. There are lots of great cameos on today's episode.

My husband and I have been married for over 20 years and have two teenage children. He just told me that he wants to separate because he feels that "something is missing." He has no other reason. There has been no affair, no abuse, no addiction issues. I suggested counseling and he said he does not believe it will help.

I am in shock because I did not see this coming. He has a demanding job and travels quite a bit. When the kids were young, we agreed I would quit my job and stay home with the kids. I take care of everything in the house and I do not complain because I love my family. I feel like he is going through a mid-life crisis but he doesn't want to discuss it. Do I drag my feet on the divorce until he tries counseling – at least to give me some closure? Do I let him go and hope he comes back when he sees that the grass is not greener?

– Searching for Answers


Counseling is a good idea. If he pushes back on going, let him know it's what you need to take next steps. Meeting with a professional isn't just about keeping people together, it's also about learning how to let go. You don't have to "drag your feet," but you can tell him that this is a necessary part of your process.

I don't know that seeing a counselor will wind up fixing everything – or anything – but it could get you some answers. It might be helpful if you also consider whether anything has been missing for you. Your husband has let you know that he's not satisfied with things as they are, but ... what have you wanted from the marriage? What kind of partner do you want now? Is he capable of being that person?

Also: Who else makes you happy? Which friends/family members/neighbors? What activities might enrich your world, assuming you had more time to pursue them?

History is important, but so is the future. When you think about the years to come, look at the entire picture. It might be useful for you and your husband to hear each other's versions of a happy life.

– Meredith

Readers? How do you get closure in a situation like this one?