Bicycling through the Midlife Crisis: Site Map
Best Years Home Page
Midlife Story Home
Table of Contents
Picture Page
Trailways Map
Comments Page
Best Years Home
Mike's Midlife Story
More Free Columns
Links Page
Best Years Blog
About Mike
Old Stuff
Comments and Questions:
Please notice
To respond and view responses to my columns after August 2008, please go to The Best Years Blog.

I'm glad you're here, and I look forward to hearing from you.--Mike

October 01, 2007

Emotional Affair

My husband is in an emotional affair. He wants out of our marriage, does not love me anymore, and does not think that he ever did. (I'm 45, he is 48, we've been married for almost 25 years and have two teenage sons.)

He does not see the relationship with this other person as a factor at all in his attitude towards me. In the same breath he said he would cut off contact with her just to prove it to me...and then suggested instead that she be allowed to call him at home so that their friendship did not have to be so underground. The thought of that actually makes me sick to my stomach...but no sicker, I guess, than the lies he has told me and the secrets he has shared with her.

You purposely did not write about your affair, but I would appreciate knowing if, anywhere else, you have written about the intervention that took place. Since his relationship has been going on for almost two years now, my resolve to stay committed to my marriage is wavering. I can see myself in the place your wife ended up in, and if we are both "out of love" then there is not much of a chance of getting to the best years.

And in case I am sounding like a saint here...I am not. After discovering his affair via emails, I reacted in ways that I am so ashamed of now. And I've done much to contribute to how our marriage even got to that point in the first place, and I'm working on those much needed and long overdue changes. The miracle is that I am actually starting to be thankful for this season because I like myself, and love the Lord, so much more now!

And the good news is that while he has many of the other symptoms of a man in midlife (except for the sports car!), I also see that he is practicing solitude and going on personal retreats and "embracing his pain," as he calls it.

But what I have been praying about is whether to give him an ultimatum or not about his emotional affair...or whether to ask one of his friends to help me talk to him. My ideas at this point are all over the place. The bottom line is I'm also afraid that it won't help and that he'll hate me more and choose her. He is also in a ministry and while he might not lose his job, he does stand to lose the respect of others and his testimony. I think the fear of being thought less of is all that has kept him here. On the other hand, he is a self-declared people pleaser and sometimes says that he needs to leave just to prove that he is over that phase. It could also confirm his accusation of me as being a "controller."

Can you explain, if you have time, the process of the intervention and your reaction to it? I dream that my husband would start to weep, confess his wrongs and recommitt himself to me. The reality would probably be much different, and I want to prepare myself for that too. If I thought he would read your online book, I'd send him the URL, but any suggestions I've made in the past to read about this phase of life are rebuffed.

Sue in Cleveland



I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Believe me, I've seen the pain firsthand. 

First the disclaimer--As I say on the website, I'm no expert, not a psychologist or psychiatrist, not even a certified counselor. I'm just someone who went through circumstances similar to yours and--by God's grace--emerged on the other side with my marriage still intact. 

Yes, I think there needs to be some kind of intervention, initiated by someone, a friend, you, maybe God apart from anyone else. And you are right to assume that intervention is risky business. We just don't know how our loved ones will respond. It may drive them further away. It may permanently damage relationships with all the interveners. But then, is a slow leak better than a blowout, especially if the tire is going flat either way? 

I suggest you try to find a trained counselor, whom you trust and who can keep your husband's stuff confidential. Let him or her tell you how to proceed. Also, I'm hoping that other visitors to Best Years and to this forum might read this and have advice for you. In the past, my readers have given each other far better advice than I've been able to give. 

I know one thing. While your husband clings to the affair (and I make no distinction between emotional ones and physical ones--emotional affairs are just affairs on their way to becoming physical)--again, while your husband clings to the affair, I see little hope of starting to rebuild your marriage. At least you know it's going on. Many visitors to my website do not, and they are at a great disadvantage when their husband (or wife) says he/she doesn't love them and they don't know why. 

Well, I hope you'll continue reading my story (and I hope it gives you hope and grace), and do check back from time to time to see if others have advice for you.

Charlotte and I are both praying for you--and for that misguided and hurting (whether he admits it or not) husband of yours.



Your Book

I loved this story. I found it at just the right time. I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself, thinking that I must be going through a midlife crisis when I decided to google "midlife crisis" and found your story. Reading it made me feel better, especially the part about facing your fears and there being worse things than embarrassment or rejection. Those are just the things I am struggling with. The trip to California mentioned that hurt the spouse was kind of uncanny, as I have been actually thinking of taking off to California, lol. A common midlife crisis thought, I'm sure. Anyway, to be honest, it is very late and I just skimmed through the story, but I plan to come back and read it again. It is a very well written interesting story. 

Joanne in Memphis


Hi Joanne. I'm so glad you responded. Yep, you are not alone. I do hope you come back, and let me know what you think when you've finished my story. 

Best wishes to you, and may your next years be your best years!


October 02, 2007

Midlife Career Change
Im 46 years old and definetely in a mid-life crisis. Ive been laid-off for the fourth time in five years. I havent been able to save money because I keep getting laid off. Ive got 2 kids in school, one of which looking at college soon. Im thinking about starting my own business in a new field. Im not sure I know what Im doing. Ill need to invest a fair amount of money, and I know my skills, i believe, are far behind those who do this for a living. I want to try Web Designing. I come from a Mechanical Engineering background, but have excellent computer skills. I have done some small web pages as a volunteer for some non-profits in my area. How do I turn Professional? How can I get noticed without spending tons of money on marketing? Can I turn out some easy web sites cheaply just to get myself going? Is this just a big mistake Im about to make?
The Prospect of working from home doing this sounds great. I wonder about how great its going to be when Ive been working ALONE for a few years.

Hey John. It certainly sounds like you're asking the right questions. I'm not a professional career counselor, but I'll offer what thoughts I have. Maybe you could go to a local community college (which, I'm sure offers degrees or certificates in web design), and ask them whether taking some of their courses (or a degree) could result in gainful employment. I do think it's a good idea that you have done a few freebies for non-profits. That also would be a suggestion of mine. Good luck and I hope you post again on this forum to tell us how you work it out.


Top of the page.
Post a message on this forum.

October 03, 2007

Changing with Change
I understand your statement of Change and Change can be good. If you change in ways to advance yourself not ruin yours and your families lives. My husband and I have really had a very steady strong relationship. When we got married 15 years ago we both did not believe in divorce and we wanted to be a strong family. We both have spent most of our 15 years with our kids and we have been each others best friend. 

But my husband, who is in the military, just came back 3 months ago from overseas, different. He said he is unhappy and confused and needed space. He said things needed to change. So we started going out more with friends together at first. Then he started going out with friends himself and now he is drinking at least 3 times a week (this was a man that seldom drank when not on detachment). Now he wants to leave me. 

I will admit that he asked for space and I swear I tried my best but the coldness and looks and the tone he would give me, would hurt so much I would finally confront him. We have probably had relationship conversations almost once a week for the past 6 weeks. I have told him I am willing to do whatever he needs and I have looked at myself and past mistakes and I am trying to change with him and be a better wife, I have been reading the booking 'The nurturing and feeding of husbands'. But he tells me for him it is too late, he wants out and he is tired of trying. He says he just wants to start a new life. 

How does someone come to that conclusion in 3 months? If we had had a shaky relationship or were not strongly dedicated to the same values or he was a drinker or promiscuous I maybe would understand but this was a rock solid man who told me everyday he loved me but now can't be near me. 

So when you say change is good that statement is too broad. If I took your cover page to him - which I think is great - and he saw the change part that is what he would try to mark this up to. He needs a change and that getting rid of me is that change. 

We have 3 children's lives at stake here. How do I tell him or do you have somewhere where you elaborate on the change. Change is good but ending a 15 year marriage under the cover of change...well that is scary. Any advise you can give me I would be very thankful for. I love him no matter all the horrible things he has said to me, I know this is not the real him. This is a hurt, frustrated, trapped, scared being trying to cope with his pain and fear. Please help me!!!



You're right. Not all change is good. Certainly a change that hurts those you love most (or did love most) is not good. I hope your husband sees that, but it's awfully hard for those whose minds are made up to see anything that interferes with their plans. You might read My Story; it's under Mike's Midlife Story on the menu bar. I'm praying that your husband sees his mistake before it's too late.Best wishes to you.


October 04, 2007

Identifying Your Midlife Passion

I was sitting in my chair in the garage as I was thinking to myself. What do I need in life? I need something to better myself. I am just not happy with the way things are. 
Suddenly, I answered myself. Passion! This is what I need to enthuse me and to inspire my time. So, I went to the computer and typed in "Passion in Life". Found this website and I could not believe that you explained exactly what I was going through. 
I know it was not much that was written but it did inspire me to dream up some passions as I did when I was younger. As of right now I am not sure what I really need. But, I think you may have motivated me or at least supported what I believe I need. 


Gary in Danville, IL

Hey Gary,

Thanks for writing. As you will read in My Story, discovering passion in life was one of the unexpected benefits of my midlife journey. You might also want to read A Midlife Getaway and Recovering the Pan Within.

Check back some day and let us know what you're discovering. Good luck.


October 07, 2007

Surviving the Midlife Crisis
I am responding to those who feel lost in mid-life with no direction after their partner's went off on a midlife crisis...I was there about 2 1/2 years ago and this site helped me make it through. I was in a dead end job in the area of social work and suicidally depressed. I made a decision that suicide was a long term solution to a short term problem ! I picked myself up and applied for an LPN program at the local junior college. After 11 months of training and so much homework I didn't have time to remain in mourning for my marriage. 

I am now successfully working as a nurse, making great money, and have met and married a lovely man who has been spectacularly supportive as I went through this transition.I know that many of you out there feel now like I did then when my husband got the traditional sports car and younger women, but let me tell you something that I would have never believed was true. There are a TON of men and women in their 50's (I am 55) who are looking for faithful, responsible people for relationships...being older in the work market is not as bad as it was 30 years ago. Many businesses are looking for mature people due to our generation's history of good work ethic and personal responsibility...

Once you get over the mourning and put yourself back into 5th gear, life will be great again...And let me say one thing about the partners who leave and act out their crisis, severing or mutilating their family ties...they are the lonliest population I see in the hospital...when their health breaks down there is no one to visit them, usually. As they age, they reach out to children who were old enough to see the destruction they wrought and just don't want anything to do with them. There is true sadness in that, but what goes around inevitably comes around... 

Suzanne in Jacksonville

Top of the page.
Post a message on this forum.

October 09, 2007

Letting Go
Thank you for this gentle and well needed reminder. I have had such a difficlt time letting go of our college bound daughter. I am not a novice to this process, but this is my first daughter. My sons have gone to college and graduated. But a daughter is new for me. I fear for many things. I think the alternative to not letting go is the key to clearer thinking. Thanks for that reminder.


October 15, 2007

The Autumn of Our Years
I love it! Autumn has always been my favorite time of year and this is my favorite time of life. I will turn 53 next month and feel that I am still in Indian Summer. Ive only just begun to think about Harvest Time.

November 07, 2007

When Teens Rebel
I am a single mother of 3 and have been since they were born for the most part. My oldest (16)has recently just pushed me over the edge.  And I made the most difficult decision that I have ever made in my whole life.  I sent him to live with a father who to put it mildly is a child himself.  I don't know if this is going to help him or not, but I have 2 other children ages 14 and 12 to think about.  They are wonderful, loving children and I want them to stay that way. He was abusive to them.  He was abusive to me.  He lied to me constantly and rarely had a kind word for any of us.  His schoolwork was terrible and his teachers were constantly calling me saying that he was being disruptive, won't do his work, all things that he did at home as well. 

I tried to be supportive. He plays football and wrestles and I never missed a game or a tournament. 
Whatever equipment he needed no matter how expensive I always found a way to get it for him.  I would ask him everyday if he had homework or a test to study for and I always got the same answer, no.  Which most of the time was a lie.  He would even lie about things he didn't have to lie about.  He always got the nicest stuff being the oldest, which really wasn't fair to my other two because they work hard and he never did.  But I always thought that if I kept encouraging him someday it would be enough and things would get better. 

The day I finally came to the decision of sending him to his father's, I went completely of his teachers had just called me and told me how difficult he was making her life.  I call him, he is suppose to be at home, and he is not at home.  He missed the bus (he says on accident, but I know better, not the first time I've heard this) and he is with his friends.  So, I drive to the school and pick him up.  I tell him that his teacher has called me, and of course he denys everything.  So as soon as we get home, I felt like I could just crawl out of my skin and I proceed to scream and cry and basically have a meltdown in front of him.  That would have been ok if he had just seen it, but my other 2 had to witness it as well. 

Not one of my finer moments as a parent, but I just had all I could take after dealing with this kind of situation for the last 10 years or so.  So, I tell him that he has to call his dad and get the ok for him to move in.  He does and now I am really scared that I made a terrible mistake and maybe I have ruined my son's life.  His father is a very self absorbed man and I suspect the only reason he agreed to let him move in is to collect the money from me every month.  He has learned from his father how to treat women (he can't have a girlfriend more than a couple of weeks and always has more than one) and how to lie to get what he wants.  I am so afraid of the new lessons he is going to teach this boy who is fast becoming a man.  But I really had no options left. 

Please pray for him, Pray for us all.

Thanks, Angie

November 23 (Thanksgiving) 2007
As you've noticed, I've not been consistent at putting up reader comments on this page. Sorry, I just haven't had the time. I hoped to automate the process so you could respond immediately. But spammers and people in the online porn industry took advantage, and it took all my time just to remove their daily ads. And when I went to the old fashioned approach (send me an email and I'll put it up), I just didn't have the time. 

Just know that I'm still working on this. And I still enjoy getting your emails even though I won't always be able to respond to them or post them on this page. I do appreciate you reading my stuff, and I hope you have enjoyed it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


Best Years Home
Mike's Midlife Story
More Free Columns
Links Page
Best Years Blog
About Mike
Old Stuff