Still not understanding the backlash against the character Joel. It's about time his wife realized she has been taking him and her life for granted for years. She can't even take responsibility for her choice to become emotionally involved with a man who is not her husband. Her ridiculous excuse making about not being responsible for the kiss, let alone everything else is absolutely a legitimate group of reasons Joel has to separate from her. It's not like he's enjoying this anymore than she is. Goodness, he's always been the solid rock in their relationship, the even keeled one to her melodramatic, needy persona. I see his character not as a jerk in any way shape or form-I see a character whose finally had enough of Julia's selfish behavior. Yet, I see a man who is hurt because he truly loves this woman, but needs space to figure out what to do next. Those kids mean the world to him. He is the one who understands those kids intuitively. He's the one who wasn't going to bail on their son when Julia decided it was just too hard. So, how is a man or woman supposed to respond when they discover their spouse is involved in an emotional affair? The kiss , and the refusal by Julia to acknowledge she bore some responsibility for what led up to the kiss (and the kiss itself) was a tipping point for Joel. It's clear to me part of the reason he chose to separate from Julia was to reevaluate and process his feelings about Julia w/o having to expose the kids to seeing their parents fight. I'm never going to view him as a jerk. Julia, on the other hand, needs to grow up, take responsibility for her actions and choices and stop denying she is responsible for inflicting incredible pain upon a man who has been nothing but a solid foundation ,and patient, understanding loving and stabilizing force in her life. Joel isn't gone because he's a jerk, he's gone right now because Julia took him for granted and crossed a line of behavior that not only included an emotional affair but with it disrespectful, childish behavior in regards to his job commitment. Perhaps, she'll realize what she is about to lose and finally grow up and stop living in denial as to how her choices and behavior are the biggest contributing factor to losing Joel. A person can only take being a doormat for so long, and Joel finally decided Julia could no longer step all over him.