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My husband and I have been separated for 6 years. Neither of us have filed for divorce and our relationship is almost 100% nonexistent at this point. Our children are all adults now. I feel if he needed or wanted to get out of the marriage legally, he'd file. I haven't filed because he carries the health insurance. I know it's not a good reason to stay in this but I cannot afford health insurance and don't have a job where it's offered. I work out of the home and it's not really an option trying to find a job.
Also, I'm wondering about re-entering the relationship world. I assume one needs to be closed before another can be opened?

Is there any advice or words of wisdom you could offer? Thanks in advance for any help.

Hi Karen - it sounds like you ex's are psychologically divorced and stable. It sounds like your need for insurance (security# is stronger than your need for legal closure at this time. If/when you choose to try a new serious relationship, your partner #or you both) might feel more comfortable if you file. Deferring legal divorce may inhibit grieving your divorce-related losses. It also might be useful to ask each of your kids if they have any feelings about whether you should file or not.

I'd say - stay alert to your feelings and trust your own judgment on if and when to file. For perspective, see this worksheet:

Divorce is often a symptom of inherited psychological wounds in one or both mates. To see if you or your ex are wounded, see

If you have grandkids, you can help their parents protect them from inheriting such wounds:

If you have other questions, Karen, please ask - Pete


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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about choosing a mate wisely, marital communications and problem solving, affairs, same-gender relationships, trust, respect, bonding and intimicy, values differences, boundary problems, grieving, dealing with ex mates, parents, and in-laws, remarriage, separation, divorce, abuse, feeling unloved, codependence, psychological wounds, money disputes, balancing kids, careers, and marital primacy, etc. I cannot answer legal or medical questions


I've been a professional family-systems therapist in private practice for 33 years. I have specialized in helping people avoid and adapt to divorce, and manage remarriage ans stepfamilies, since 1979. I've studied and taught classes in interpersonal communication for over 40 years, and have presented over 200 seminars on a wide range of human-relationswhip topics to Chicago-area churches, schools, menyal-health agencies, and businesses, and have been featured on Chicago and national radio and TV. I have been married and divorced. I now believe all marital and family problems are caused by five little-known factors - see This forms the basis of my work as therapist and educator.

I now answer "" questions on stepparenting, communication, and counseling. I belong to ", "Death with Dignity," "Compassion and Choices," and to the online Adverse Childhood Experience Study (ACES) at

I've published over 200 free Internet articles on childhood-trauma recovery and wholistic health, communication skills, healthy grieving, human relationships (including marriage and divorce), family health, effective parenting, and managing a stepfamily). These articles are in the form of seven free self-improvement lessons ( These articles are augmented by 168 YouTube videos ("gercacn" channel); I've published a book on childhood-trauma recovery ("Who's *REALLY Running Your Life?"), and other books on interpersonal communicactioin skills ("Satisfactions"), remarriage ("The Remarriage Book"), "Stepfamily Courtship", and "Stepfamily Co-parenting" All published by

Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Stanford University (1959); Masters degree in Social Work (MSW) from George Williams college (1981); hundreds of hours of post-grad trainng from Northwestern U. the University of Chicago, et. al. in a wide range of human-relationship topics.

Awards and Honors
The state of Illinois licensed me to practice clinical social work in 1981. I was selected twice to serve on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA), and am currently on the Stepfamily-expert panel at Auburn University; I was the Board chairman at a major public mental-health agency in suburban chicago, and was the chairman of the Parent Relations Council for a major suburban High School. I currently have over 500 subscibers on YouTube since I began uploading educational videos in May, 2011.

Past/Present Clients
I've worked with over 1,000 men; women; dating, merried, remarried, divorcing, and redivorcing couples; and whole families. I'm currently 74, semi-retired, and disabled, and I do therapy with people and couples by phone and Internet (Skype).

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