I'm [40/f] in 20y marriage with ups and downs. WHERE do you "fix" things?

Counseling is a good option. I wouldn't discount it until you try it yourself. I personally haven't done counseling but a lot of my friends have and they have gotten a lot out of it. It's also possible that you'd get a crappy counselor on your first try but an awesome person on your second try.

For me, I don't like to talk about my relationship problems with people who also know my husband. It just seems to me like that really undermines the confidentiality & intimacy of our relationship. For example, if I talked to a family member about a fight with my husband, they'd side with me and eventually get a bad impression of my husband, which is hugely unfair to him. Same for him--I wouldn't want him airing our dirty laundry to his family! That would make me feel so uncomfortable at our next family gathering. So in general, I process things by myself through introspection and reading. I love reading stuff on this forum as "thought experiments" and for perspective on my own relationship, and I have a few self-help type books with relationship skills.

I also have a couple girlfriends with whom I can talk about relationship stuff, but I don't share specific examples with them. I'd say something like "Lately I feel like [husband] isn't helping much around the house; how do you think I should bring it up with him?" rather than "On Saturday I cleaned for 6 hours while [husband] sat around playing video games! What an asshole, right?" (That did not happen; it's just a silly example.)

Mostly my partner and I just sort of bungle through our relationship and try to deal with problems as they come up. There's no perfect recipe for success. You just have to keep trying and focus on the good stuff, IMO.

/r/relationship_advice Thread