You know that Talking Heads lyric: "This is not my beautiful house!... this is not my beautiful wife!"? That was me, waking up. I had been married for 8 years to a responsible, solid man, and had 2 adorable, precocious kids. But something was not right. The marriage was not working for either of us, yet we weren't even talking about it. I now understand why we were avoiding conversations on the subject: we were parents of young children, who were also working and attending school; our day-to-day obligations were enough-- we were exhausted. In the short amount of "free time" we had, we were much more inclined to collapse in bed and read than we were to bring up the undercurrent of dissatisfaction we both felt. We were basically sleepwalking through life.
We were busy and tired, sure. We also had habits and preferences that kept us from really digging in, really having a conscious relationship. I preferred harmony, avoided confrontation. He disliked emotional displays. The cards were stacked against us, unless we were to make a strong effort against our habitual inclinations.
What could possibly get us to take the bull by the horns, and open that can of worms?... only another idiom: the shit hit the fan. We experienced a disaster that shook us out of our sleepwalking state (and which shall stay out of the internet archives). It inspired conversations we should have been having for years. We saw numerous therapists. Shouted the shouts and shed the tears we had been saving all these years.
The result was a painful blossoming of hope for a happy, satisfying life for each of us. We entered uncharted territory when we decided to try a peaceful, experimental separation. We are currently occupying two different residences and discovering what it is like to live a life without the other one constantly by our side. We like each other, we spend time together, and we are rocking at co-parenting cooperatively. But we are not together. I don't know what to call us other than finally, blessedly awake.