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Midlife Crisis Forum

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Forum:The Midlife Crisis

So what are your thoughts on issues pertaining to the midlife crisis?Talk to me; talk to each other, or just talk. I look forward to hearingfrom you.

Midlife Crisis Forum by Year
April-December 1997 January-December 1998 January-December1999 January-December 2000 January-December 2001
Midlife Crisis Forum 2000
January-March April-May June-August September-October November-December

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September-October 2000

September 1, 2000

Hi I'm a mother of two children I'm going through the same thing as all of you are..  Just a couple of months ago my husband sat me down and said he needed space and time to get away..  I wasn't too sure what he was getting at but he went on and on about he needed to find himself and he wasn't happy at this marriage.  He said he found it very difficult to talk to me about it because he was scared about what it would do to me.. He kept telling me that it wasn't my fault and it was nothing that I've done but this wasn't sinking in because I thought that we had the perfect marriage.  We never fought and we've been married 13 years this September..  I love him so much and I haven't given up on him yet!!  Just the other night we talked and he said it was hard to say he loved me.  Well that was a blow because it is not like him to talk that way,  he says that he felt he was falling
out of love for about a year..  It is so hard to accept this and I keep thinking that it is something that he is going through and one day he will find himself... Emotionally he says it is very hard on him and even though it is hard to accept the things he says to me I know it is hard on him.  I asked him if he would see a counciller and he was suppose to make an appointment today so I'm hoping that this will give me the strength to hold on and get it in my head that it is not my fault and someday he will come to his senses.........




I've never communicated with anyone over the internet before but after reading your comments about your troubles with your husband and MLC I feel that I could have written the same thing!  Like you, I find a little comfort in knowing that others are dealing with the same problem I am.  I wish you or someone would say that counseling worked and things get better.  My husband just opened up to me in the past month and I am trying to find a counselor or doctor to help us thru this.  I was so
prepared for dealing with menopause for me but never really thought about the fact that my husband would deal with this.  I've been married for 26 years and feel like my really nice life is falling apart.



I am currently struggling with MLC myself and it is no fun for my family or myself. People tend to make fun of men as they go through MLC which I think is an attrocious double standard; who thinks its funny when women go through menopause.Just as menopause is a time when women realize that they no longer can bear children and are growing older,MLC for men is a time when we realize that all of the dreams that we had as young men will not be fulfilled unless we try to do them NOW!! This is NOT because we do not love our families but because time is running out on us and if we dont act NOW then we will never
know if our dreams and hopes can be realized. This urgency to act on our own desires conflicts with our duties as husbands and fathers and this conflict can lead to stress and depression ,or in some cases a "dont give a damn" attitude.



On the 4th of July my husband told me he is not happy in our marrige. After a lot of fighting,tears and pleding I let him go.He moved out 4weeks ago.When i talked to him he told me he knows he is a husband,he knows he is a father and a worker but he does not know huh he is. He still tells me that he never stopt loving me but he does not know how he loves me and on other days he tells me he still loves me but he does not know if he is still in love with me.We have 3 childrens and he was allways very caring,loving and we could tell that we are his world. This is all gone know and I dont know where it went. He is 33 years old and his new friends are 19,21 and 24 years old,there also all couples. Anytime he comes over he tells me there is no other women and i dont have to worry about a other women,because he doesnt want anybody else. I life like every other women in LIMBO. There are days when he puts my hopes up and then he kills it with in an instand. I still love him very much but I dont know how long I can go on like this. I asked myself  if I did something wrong,if I,m ugly that he has to go. I have so many questions but I have no answers. Is there any hope to get him back?


I can feel for all the women I have just been reading about. My husband is in mlc and has been since 1997. It started around his 50th birthday and in the same year he was made redundant. He left me and the teenage children to go and teach thoudands of miles away in Thailand. He has never returned and like a fool I am still hoping he'll return ( I know hwe won't of course ). I've been told to hang in there but it's painful and pointless. I thought I was everything to him and that he truly loved me. Now I wonder if he ever did. My story is similat to many on the Forum pages but there is no younger woman involved. I am hurt angry and devastated as well as left with all the resoinsibilities while he does what he wants and escapes to the Far East!



I don't really have much to say at this point.  I am affraid if I start I won't be able to stop. Thank you for your website



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September 10, 2000

Welcome to Mid-life Crisis

You know, I didn't really expect these years to be as tramatic as they have been. My daughter recently went off to college.  No doubt, I anticipated her departure, but it wasn't just her exodus that shook up my family.

First of all, my 13 year old daughter had a really rough time of it. She idolized her sister very much.  And since my older daughter moved across the country, it was very tramatic for my younger daughter.

Aside from that,  it brought to light to my husband and I that we are eventually going to be alone. I know, "Big News Flash"  but when you've been parenting for almost twenty years it is still a shock.  I, as a mother, have had a difficult time defining my new role. 

Now, my husband and I aren't really getting along.  And I wonder if the Mid-life crisis thing is survivable.



I've been married for 18 years to my 42 year old wife. We have two children both teens. Our marrriage was rocky at times. I drank but quit. My wife tells me she loves me but doesn't have any feelings for me and wants out of the marriage. She is willing to go to counselling but says to me not to get my hopes up about staying. I'm devastated and in shock. She had told me 2 months ago she was not happy so I changed to suit her but not enough apparently. I've begged her not to leave me because I love her intensely. What now?



I'll give this a try.  I'm only 46 and not thinking of leaving my wife or quitting my day job, so to speak so my desire for feedback doesn't seem as urgent as some of the other stuff I've read.  However, I suppose that, left unaddressed, it might become more of a problem later in my life.

I got "stuck" in a career path many years ago and have finally lost all interest in it.  Luckily (I guess), I work for a university and am thinking of pursuing a PhD on the side (as I said, I'm not quitting the main stay).  Coincidentally, just this past week, the chairman of one of the departments at school asked me to teach for him but it would be in the same area that I really have no interest in anymore.  I'm already signed up to take a statistics course this semester to brush up for entering the PhD program in spring.

I know these don't sound like such bad options - they're not - but, since this forum is about midlife crisis, I thought I'd ask if people can successfully change careers at this point in their lives.  If I had to give up very much of things like contributing to our retirement, I don't think that it would make me very happy overall since I'd be taking away from my wife's and my sense of security, which is very important to us.  But, if I didn't give it a try, I think that I'd always regret it. 

Any thoughts?



My husband has been involved with a girl at work for quite awhile.  They have been having an affair since February.  He is not the same person he was a year ago.  Could he be experiencing a mlc?  We have been married for 28+ years and I love him very much.  He says he wants a divorce but he doesn't want to marry her.  He sometimes acts like he still cares for me.  I can't figure him out.  He doesn't know what he wants.  What should I do?



Having read all the things on this page I dont have too much to add but hope to help if I can. My husband is also in his MLC. He prepared his abandonment a few weeks before he shocked us with his sudden disappearance when we woke up on Easter Friday after a normal evening before all his things and him were gone car and all. I have two kids who have just hit
thier puberty years. One, a girl of 12 and destroyed by the loss of her Father and the other a boy aged 14 who is trying hard to wear the pants around the house. A lot to deal with alone. When we got together to discuss everything (after many years of a good marriage too) he firstly said he didnt love me enough to stay married to me and then denied that and said he needed time and space to sort himself out. We made an agreement verbally to seperate. Over the last months he has been left alone and contacted only for essential reasons. During this time he has searched hard for all the ladies he could possible find not really caring if they were married or single. One he has a relationship with has two children she leaves in care while she works which involves traveling between the country where she lives and this one. He is telling everyone that she is his life eternal
love,  and will marry her as soon as we divorce. He is doing this right in front of his family. He has hardly seen or kept in touch with his own children and seriously nasty lies are flying around like wildfire. Now he feels we are no longer any reponsibility of his and is holding back financially while rumours are telling me he is just throwing money around like water. Rumours cant be relied on until you find out some are true - and some are!  Its so very hard to understand all this when you have done and are doing NOTHING WRONG!!! No matter what we do somehow we are still wrong. The MLC man changes from that lovable reliable caring and wonderfull love you knew into someone you no longer know. If you  think in opposites it helps. Relaible now is unreliable, loving is now unloving, attentive is now unattentive etc etc.

A little advice to other Moms out there in the same situation - he is balistic - he is searching for his lost youth, last chance, lost dreams, the perfect woman he can give energetic perfect service to - even all of them. Its shocking to know he is suffering too. He wont admit that to you or anyone else. There are stages to MLC. First the realisation he is getting older - panic sets in. He is scared of losing his manhood and those abilities. He is afraid of being unable to do things he could when he was 25 and is sure he still can and will prove it. Dont try to stop him - if you do youre history. Then secondly - the pain of leaving his loved ones, thier not understanding and thier reactions. He will perhaps drink, drug, or go sex crazy to ease the pain he is feeling. He will justify this to himself and out of this try to create a bad wife and kids and himself a hurt hero. Dont help him - if you do youre history!  Then thirdly - he wants to come back and doesnt know how to undo it all. He gets confused about if he wants to come back or not. He gets confused about whether to divorce. He has a new life now - this will work. But how sweet memories are of you, how he misses you and the kids.... dont get involved, dont comment, say nothing! If you do youre history!! The final stage if you havnt divorced him/moved on/whatever.. is when MAYBE he will try to come back to you. This can take months or years. Ive heard from other women who have been strong enough to handle this much abuse that thier realtionship is fantastic and the kids have a wonderfull father. He found his peace and stayed stable. Knowing this if your up to it, remembering there are NO guarantees he will ever come home again (hard isnt it?) my advice is to get on with all the things you wanted to do. GET INDEPENDANT FAST or lose yourself to depression and hopefullness. Move on
with your own life and stand on your own two feet as if divorced. This way you will find your own self respect and self worth. No matter what is said about you no one can take this away.You are also not subject to his income which believe me cant be trusted. Your children will learn to roll with the punches because of the example you have set and you will all be stronger for it. If it ends in divorce - you know it can and more than likely will - youve dealt with it and can go on with your life. If it
doesnt end in divorce dont carry on with the old marriage - start a new relationship with him. Why? Because youve both changed youre both different people at the end of it. Its hard to build anything on a heap of regrets, along with all the pain suffered and its easier to close the book on the past.

I hope this helps and if not then better adivce is needed so dont hold back - give it freely.




Thank goodness a man has writtten to tell us how men feel. My husband has been going through his MLC for a few years now, and i wish i could help him. I have read all the books around, but i have noticed their is not very many. They stress on the women but what about the men. I think that is very hard for the men to go through this, and as loving wives we must try and let them know we are in their corner. On our wedding day we made a commitment ,for better and for worse,i think we must look at all the good times and i am sure they will outway the bad. I know it is very hard for men to talk about it, as they are always teased about it,  and I am sure that is why they get so defensive when we want to talk about it. As a man can you give us women any advice as to how we can help our loving husbands through this trying time. I refuse to give up and throw away  a 22 year marriage.Lately, my husband has been giving me the odd positive feeling that everything is going to be alright, but then he goes back to his ways of being distant,unloving, etc. I know it must be killing him inside, but I am here to help.
Again if you can give any advice I am sure we would all love to read it.

Canada in the USA

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September 17, 2000

To DMC and Christine:

Christine, I read your note on the forum and the part "He still tells me that he never stopt loving me but he does not know how he loves me and on other days he tells me he still loves me but he does not know if he is still in love with me" could have been written by me early this year.  I heard those same words, exactly, from my husband then. 

My husband told me he needed some time in January of this year.  He moved out on March 1st, with me begging, pleading and promising anything as he walked away from our 22 year old marriage and our two daughters.  He would not consider counseling.  Between January and March, we talked extensively.  None of it did any good.  I wish I could tell both of you that there is some miracle cure, but there isn't.  I wish I could tell both of you that it will work out, but I can't, because it may very well not.  What I can tell you is that I am not the same person I was when we were together.  Our separation has given me time to reassess our marriage, too.  I have discovered that he has been distant and uninterested in our life for a long time.  I have discovered that he is very self-indulgent.  I have discovered that life for him when we were together was pretty easy.  I have discovered that I am a very giving person with a lot of very wonderful qualities.  You see, I work full-time.  And I take care of this house, and just about everything else.  He pretty much did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do, and if he wanted to do.  And with all that giving from me, I still wasn't good enough.  So be it.  I filed for divorce 4 weeks ago.  There are still days when I wish he would just come home, but then I realize that it is not because I love him, but rather because life would be easier if there was not so much change in my life and things just went back to the way they were so I could be "comfortable" again.  Change on a daily basis at the age of 44 is not easy, especially when I look back on my wedding day and realize that I never thought this was where I would be in 22 years.

The best advice I can give you is to be selfish.  For once!  Be selfish about finding out who YOU are.  Be selfish about YOUR needs.  If you have children, make sure that you are supplying their needs, emotional and physical.  They shouldn't have to live without you emotionally just because they have to live without him physically.  TAKE this time that he has given you and cherish it.  Do something every day for YOU.  Just for YOU.  Be good to YOU.  It's about time somebody was!  Remember, he is an adult and has made his choices.  He can take care of himself.  He'll have to, because no one else is going to any more.

You will get through this.  That I CAN promise you.  Search for your own inner strength - you may be surprised at how strong you really are.  Go to church.  Pray.  You WILL find an answer.  I did!



I have been wanting to write for some time. I read so much of the pain of those of you whose spouses are "taking off". I am in the midst of my crisis and I am "hanging on". My heart goes out to you.    I discovered a way to talk about my pain which may be helpful to those who read this forum. I read this analogy in another context but it certainly fit my situation. This is what (my) mid-life crisis feels like:   Imagine that you have planned a wonderful vacation for your family at Disney World. You have made all the arrangements: tickets, transportation, expenses, rooms, etc. Now imagine the day you are to leave (or arrive) you wake up in Washington, D.C. Now Washington, D.C. can be a fine place to spend a vacation but you made all your plans for Disney World--and you are not there. You might begin to panic, you might desperately attempt to get to
Disney World. Those around you may be of little help. Some may feel that Washington D.C. is a fine vacation so don't worry. But all you can think about is getting to Disney World as the days pass in Washington D.C. your search may become more desperate. You see the analogy? Those at mid-life wake up somewhere other than where they thought they were planning to go (and take their loved ones).    The more I thought about this analogy, the more I could use it. I can even talk to my wife about where I am on a particular day. I may be angry that I am still in Washington D.C. (and that is how I will talk about it). In my attempts to go to Disney World I may get no further than the hotel lobby in Washington D.C.. Some days
I don't even get out of the hotel room in D.C. (those are very frustrating days). Actually, one day I decided I was in South Dakota (which  may be beautiful to some but for city lovers it is the middle of nowhere--and many more miles from Disney World)And often, my  family can't figure out what is so bad about D.C. (but I thought I was going to Disney World-- I want to go to ______________ .) I am praying that some day I will wake up and be content to be in D.C. Right now I am grieving that I will probably never see Disney World. When I have shared this analogy with friends, they have asked me what Disney World is. That is a good question. I have only begun to formulate an answer to that but one answer is that Disney World for me would be having a larger audience or being more effective in my work. That is by this stage in my life I thought I would have a larger audience and I would already be more effective. Alas, I  remain in D.C.    The desperation that the mid-lifer feels to me is in this analogy and that Twilight Zone experience of not being where you thought you were supposed to be is there too. Why have I not physically fled for what I think will be Disney World? I am convinced that the routes I would take would not get me there. And I have a religious faith that believes if God wants (or wanted) me to go to Disney World, God would find a way to get me there. Because God knows I made plans to get there(!)     I hope that you will find some help in this. 

Peace, GM


I never thought I would question my marriage.My husband left in Nov.1999 to think about what he wants.I always thought he would be back,I never would have guessed different.I love him with all my heart and would welcome him back with open arms.I know I have my faults and he finally told me where I was wrong and I went for help.Thing wre good for 3 weeks then he would find something else wrong and I would try to fix that then something else and so on.My heart is empty since he left I am very lonely and hurt.After being alone for the last 9 months he has decided to get a divorce.How can someone not know what they feel for you anymore?We have been married 26 years.We have 2 children and 2 grandsons.He does not think this has any effect on our kids.He is seeing a girl from work who he says is just a friend but he is with her and her son every weekend.He says we had a good marriage but that he never dated anyone else but me.I know how much this man loved me but he avoids confrontation because he does not like to argue.He also just woke up one morning and said hedidn't know what he wanted.I need your help! How can I make him listen to me or get him to talk? 

losing everything


Hi Mike,
Just had a look at your web page, it is great to know that there are other people like me going through a crisis. I am f.f.f.f.f.f. (hurts to say it) 40 on 1st October and dreading it. If you have any tips please pass them on to me. Good luck to you and yours



Karen, Oh to see 40 again! 

;) Mike


Hi Mike and fellow midlife crisis sufferers

What on earth is life all about !!!!!!

I feel as though my life is passing me by. I had the unspeakable birthday in February this year and am feeling empty with no direction whatsover. Its comforting to know I am not the only one suffering, reading the stories on your site it appears there are hundreds of crossroads with bewildered people wandering round, not knowing which direction to take. 



I wrote to you yesterday but I don't think you will receive it.I am 47 and my husband is 45.In feb. of 1999 he woke up to inform me that he didn't know what he wanted anymore, he was not sure how he felt about me anymore.We have been married 26 yrs. I love my spouse very much more than I thought.We sold our home,moved to apartment and after living with me for 3 weeks he said he had to get away and figure himself out. It broke my heart to see him walk out that door.Previous to him leaving may I say we were only surviving in the same house,there was no sexual contact at all.For the last 5 months we lived in the same house he would not even sleep in the same bed.This man never left for work without kissing me goodby untill then.We had a good marriage but he missed out on alot of things he felt because we married when he was 18.We 
have 2 kids that never knew what was going on.They threu us a 25 aniversary party and it hurt to tell them we were going thru some rough times.My husband and I rarely fought,about money when we did.He left on Nov.20,1999 and only took 2 laundry baskets of clean folded clothes.I thought he would be back.Yeah sure! I went thru hell for months and finally on march22 I went to his apartment and told him it was time to talk,he said he was not ready and told me to leave or he would call the cops,I called his bluff and so he did call them.The cop came in and said I had to leave and I asked the officer if 
he was married,the next thing I knew I was under arrest.This was the only time I had ever been in any trouble in my life. They called it domestis violence.I thought this was a joke but now I have to go to classes for 10 wks. and the judge also put a restraining order on me to stay away from the man I still love.My husband filed for divorce in May and does not want to pay 
me a cent.He says maybe he is making a mistake but that it is best.My husband woke up as a different person that one day in Feb.1999and I am suffering from it not him.I have tried so hard to get on without him but I love him.At first our family dr. said it was mlc but my husband says no it is not.We went to court for temp.motion and at this point I am lost and do not know how to wake him up.By the way ahen he talks to me he CAN NOT look me in the face.Do I have to give up on our dreams?How do I go on?I cry for him every dayand the hurt I feel is unbearable.Is this what mlc does to 2 people that were so happy? 



Reading the messages for September/October 2000 brings up the past for me: all the pain and waiting and ups and downs and waiting again for the other to decide to make a move...

In my case, my husband finally left after torturing himself over leaving our then 5 year-old daughter...when he saw that I had emotionally let go after years of trying to make it work.

That was three years ago.

What is essential is to take charge of oneself, as one other contributor said: Get independant fast! Financially and emotionally (emotional independence takes longer, a lot longer and I guess much of the work is done before the actual separation).

Beware of rebound: I fell into that too quickly...and it didn't work.

Rebuild your love of yourself and your children. Be good to yourself. Let the wandering partner go awandering. If the relationship is salvable, he or she will try to return, if you apply no pressure. If that wandering soul perceives that he or she has really lost something precious and strong and enviable, well, perhaps there is a chance. But don't count on it. Count only on yourself. Make new friends, find new interests, retrain, work hard, build a career. Look after your children. Be strong for the children. Protect them from destructive conflict and from too much exposure to your pain. Take up physical activity that
makes you feel good. Make the wandering spouse aware that you are not a piece of comfortable furniture, but a human being with aspirations that you can also fulfill.

In my case, the relationship was too far gone, too twisted with too much bitterness, recrimination, manipulation, on both sides. It had to end.

This may sound trite, but the end of a relationship is also the beginning of a new life, new self-acceptance, self-discovery.

It is crystal clear to me now that having a relationship - a marriage - is not the most important goal in my life. Of course I am nostalgic at times; of course I feel sadness at times, especially for my daughter, but also for myself. Sometimes I wish Mr. right, the one I'd want to grow old with, the one with a house with a picket fence, would just drop out of the sky. But I know that my goal is to raise my daughter and give her a good, strong model. To enjoy my work - while balancing it with what really counts in life: love and sharing with friends. Over the past three years, I buried myself in work, to put away the pain, and I exhausted myself. Now I am setting new priorities. And the most important one is to slow down and pay attention to my daughter, my friends, and the boyfriend I see only occasionally. I try to savour the present.

All that sounds well and good, but perhaps doesn't mean much to you when you're in the midst of such overwhelming pain and fear. The process of letting go of the other, to listen to oneself, takes time and is surely different for every  individual....For me it came in several painful steps, the realization that the love was gone. I had to get very angry. For one year I was livid, till I became tired. Till it just came to me one day, when my husband started yet another verbal assault. It felt
like throwing in the towel, when I said to him: look, I just don't want to fight any more; I have nothing more to defend, to ask for, to complain about. I'm not responsible for your anguish/pain; your life may have been the same no matter what woman you married, has that thought ever occurred to you? He immediately backed off, and said, you may be right. My response: You are free now, let's just let it go.

That was a huge step. Of course the fighting went on, even after he left. But eventually the financial stuff got settled. And the fighting finally stopped altogether when I insisted he no longer set foot in my home.

The point is that in one moment, I stopped being the furniture, stopped responding to the cruelty, the insults, stopped trying to control another human being. Stopped begging for...maintaining something that just did not work at all anymore after 13 years.

In other cases, the realization and assuming of responsibility for one's own life could well end up in reconciliation...

Take courage, take heart, is really what I wish to say.

Life goes on in Canada

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September 25, 2000

Dear GM,

I read your analogy about thinking you were going to Disney World and instead were in Washington, D.C.  Let's take it one step further.  You are in the lobby of the hotel in Washington and you know you don't want to be there, but the porter wants to take your bags and you punch him right in the mouth.  The hotel clerk asks if he can show you the executive suite and you
punch him in the mouth.  A tour guide comes up to you and offers to show you the sites of Washington D.C. and you punch him in the mouth.  Now you know how the families of midlifers feel.  No one lives in paradise, but to find it, we all have to work together and stop hurting the ones who love us.  We got the message, you are in pain, and we believe you.  Please don't destroy the most important things in your life to find something that may not be out there.

Getting stronger


It's good to hear these stories of others dealing with this problem. I have MLC but it's a bit complex. My wife developed major depression 2 years after having our second daughter. I lived with withdrawls, binging, alcohol, obesity, hypersomnolence, credit card debt, medications, and repeated illnesses and injuries that came out of it. Finally, after 8 years of this stuff it culminated in a drug overdose and psychiatric hospitalization. I told her to stay away and get her life back in order. Now after 8 mons of intensive psychiatric care she is back in my area, living in her own apartment, trying to get me back. It took me so long and after so much trauma, that I'm not sure I want to go back. i am unhappy, unfulfilled, And lost myself in this process. You know the story- no time for friends, interests, self-priorities go out the window. I have told her that I have to get me back before I can know if I want togive me away again. Only now I have to figure out how to do this. Where do you begin?



Mother earth is made up of wee lil particles of stuff called specks... and everyones life is just that; a wee speck.  What we make of the speck; if we want to make anything more of it is up to only ourselves, Me, myself and I.  I don't know where,or what or how I'll be, but to my own self I will be true.   I hope this faze lasts awhile...kind of like this age! 



I want to experience a proper mid life crisis....  But I can't decide what kind of sports car to get. I tried a  red Mercedes SL..   But it wasn't my style......  Too flashy...  Now I am thinking of a Miata.....  Fun but not too show offy......




I am responding to let you know that you are not alone in this and that many women also go through the midlife, so called crisis.   I have a hard time with the word crisis because i am going through alot of the same things right now , but it feels more like a fog has lifted and i am becoming more conscious of my oun feelings and needs. At 41 years of age I now realize that 
something is definately missing in my life.  Just what it is i am not exactly sure at this time.  I am in marriage counseling with my husband of 22 years.  I do know that he is not the reason for my crisis and that only i can decide what needs to be done.  I also realize that this will not be easy for either one of us.  He has been very understanding (so far).  I still love my husband very much but am no longer in love with him.   Maybe  the time away from your wife will help your relationship.  After all doesnt absence make the heart grow fonder?  Or maybe you can use this time to clear your thoughts and get a 
better idea of what you really need from a relationship at this time in your life,   I know that everything happens for a reason and maybe there is a profound reason why we are going through this mess.  Hopefully we can both discover that reason really soon.  I certainly hope so anyway.  Everyone deserves to be happy and i hope you find your happiness again real soon. Hang in there.



Dear Christine, 
I felt as though you were writing about me. I also was told on the 4th of July that my marriage was over after 15 years. I was told that he was never truly in love with me the way that husband and wife should be. He also has taken to being with younger people; only in my case he has started seeing a 19 year old girl who just graduated from high school! My three children are all in counseling with depression; one is talking suicide. We go to couples counseling, but the consistent theme is that there was never any love and never will be. Please be prepared for the worst. If the best happens that will be great. It is very difficult to deal with everything on a daily basis, but you must think about the future and the children. But most important
think about yourself. Get some counseling, have some time alone. And believe me I know this is difficult, but it can be done. Do not be accommodating to him! That was the hardest part for me. He has created this, and he must live with the consequences of his actions. You are a good person! Always remember that. No matter what he tries to tell you about how your actions do not meet his needs.

And finally, while I hope for your family that things work out; I want to share a little note that was given to me by a dear friend.

                                                                LETTING GO 
to let go does not mean to stop caring 
        it means I can't do it for someone else 
to let go is not to cut myself off 
        it is the realization that I can't control another 
to let go is to admit powerlessness 
        which means the outcome is not in my hands 
to let go is not to try to change or blame another 
        it is to make the most of myself 
to let go is not to care for 
        but to care about 
to let go is not to fix 
        but to be supportive 
to let go is not to judge 
        but to allow another to be a human being 
to let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes 
        but to allow others to affect their destinies 
to let go is not to be protective 
        it's to permit another to face reality 
to let go is not to deny 
        but to accept 
to let go is not to nag scold or argue 
        but instead to search out my shortcomings and correct 
to let go is not to adjust everything to my desires 
        but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself instead 
to let go is not to criticize and regulate anybody 
        but to try to become what I dream I can be 
to let go is not to regret the past 
        but to grow and live for the future 
to let go is to fear less 
        and love more 

Author Unknown 

Best Wishes, 


I wrote several months ago, when I thought my toes were dipping into the deep end.  At that point I wanted to use my husband's boat and his girlfriend as kindling for a bonfire!  I wanted to read that these tragic stories had good endings, meaning the wayward husbands would come to their senses and go crawling home to their families.  But that's not
usually what we end up reading, and I don't think it's what I really want.  I read somewhere that to GET through MLC, you must GO through MLC.  I hope my husband comes through this feeling empowered and ready to reclaim life.

I can't tell you how much better my kids and I are doing now.  It's been over a year and a half since my husband left.  We are supposed to have final orders next week.  I still don't want the divorce, but I also wouldn't take him back right now if that's what he wanted.  He still has a long way to go to get through this and he needs to do it on his own. He did move back in last January, but he wasn't ready.  I thought everything would work out, but it was too soon for him (and probably for
me).  When he left again, I was devastated--again.  It took just as long to get through it as the first time.  Now I feel so much more empowered to handle life.  I feel better, look better, and AM better.  My daughters (16 & 14) and I have adjusted to our family of three.  He makes sure that he's still part of their lives as much as possible. 

I played mind games with him for a long time, and I figured I should tell him how I really feel, since he's making very important decisions now that impact his future, my future, and our children's futures.  I'm still in love with him.  I let him know that, but also added that I'm not going to chase him.  Right now, it's kind of strange, but we are friendly with each other.  I really think that he'll figure out what he's losing one day.  He's a good man.  MAYBE we'lll have a chance at a fresh start then, but who knows what I'LL want if and when that happens?

In the mean time, I'm finally enjoying myself and feeling optimistic about my life and my children.  I feel confident and self assured, I take care of myself, I go dancing, and at 41, I think I'm doing great. I went through a year of pure hell emotionally, and at the same time, Mother Nature decided play several dirty tricks on me.  Now things are looking up.  It's too bad that during the 20 years of our friendship and marriage, we didn't take greater risks with each other.  I think we fell into the trap that many others fall into.  We should have taken more time for each other, and made life more exciting for each other.  I
won't make that mistake again.  Take care!



I am really worried and disappointed in my dad. He just turned 49 years old and is acting like a dog in heat. He is having an internet affair with a woman whom he met on a Soprano message board. He has been married to my mom for 25 years and is a successful business man here in St. Louis. Shirley is the woman who he is carrying on with. She knows that he is in a very vulnerable state of mind right now and is taking advantage of it. My dad, who used to be so responsible is now sitting at his desk all day at the office in front of the computer waiting on this woman to either e-mail him or IM him. She calls him collect but won't ever let him call her, because she is married too. All of this has my dad acting like a complete jackass and I have lost so much respect for him, I can barely look at him in the eyes anymore. My mom knows something is wrong, but he told Shirley he would never divorce her because he would lose half of the exterminating business that he has worked so hard to build all these years. Shirley is working him like a wind up toy. She will tell him in one e-mail how much she loves and needs him and when he confesses he feels the same she will back off. I hate her and want so badly to e-mail her and tell her off. If you are wondering how I know all of this, I work in my dads office twice a week and found the e-mails and read them. I know that was not right, but it does effect me and my mother too. It won't be long before I will have to confront him, he knows my feelings for him have changed, I rarely speak to him anymore. The only reason I go to the office anymore is to find out the latest about the affair. It is going to kill my mother when she finds out. I just don't understand this, he has a woman at home that has done everything for him all of these years and now he pulls this. Shirley lives in Wyoming, what the hell is he hoping to get out of this? 



What an insightful website!  For those that pooh-pooh the existence of the Male Mid-Life Crisis -- let me tell you it is a FACT!  I KNOW BECAUSE I AM LIVING (OR TRYING TO) THROUGH IT (my husband's that is)! The story:  My husband is about to turn 41 and was "showing the signs" of going into a mid-life crisis right before his 40th birthday (buying a
fast, flashy motorcycle, worrying about his appearance, etc).  However, he did pretty well with it (or so I thought) until May of this year. Then everything went down hill -- FAST!  He seemed to turn into a different person literally overnight.  The man I had been married to for 11 years (and known for 14) was no longer there -- he looked the same but he became like something from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Even though I "saw the signs" early on I was completely powerless to do
anything for him or to prevent what I was sure was to come next -- the affair.  So, for those of you that think you could have done something to prevent it -- you CAN'T.  I was very worried that he would do something stupid to completely ruin his/our life -- and he did.  He put everything on the line for the "other woman."  I see most people comment on how the OW is younger -- not in my case -- I'm 8 years younger than my husband.  The OW in this case is OLDER than he is by 3 years.  In this case she made him feel younger by the fact that she was older, she played up to his vanity, made him feel needed, and he felt she could "understand him better since they are closer in age." This is the saddest thing that has ever happened in my life.  I have always been able to handle stress and crises (my husband always comments on how strong I am and how much he relies on me) but this sent me for a major loop.  I found myself crying at my desk, unable to complete the thought processes, in a deep depression, inability to keep food down, burning stomach, etc.  I was on my way to work one morning and found myself at the mall instead -- I don't remember how I got there.  I no longer look forward to the future because we had all of our dreams "tied together" and since "his change" I am no longer able to see past 24 hours.  What
were the other signs? Flirting outrageously with other women (ALL women between the ages 16 and 70), uncontrolleable mood swings, finding constant faults in me (when before there was none), unconsiously driving a wedge between us, hanging out with new friends (people that didn't know me so he could tell them lies about me), loss of appetite, being jumpy, doing all activities with new friends and no longer wanting me there.  When I found out about the OW I was stunned (I shouldn't have
been because I "saw it coming" but I guess I was in denial).  I felt like this sort of thing always happened to "other people."  The clues started before the actual hard evidence appeared -- the emotional and physical detachment, trying to pick fights by "pushing my buttons", telling his friends and family lies about me (he told them I was the one having the affair so he could justify what he was doing to me), working late every day and on weekends, running 4 hour errands that should have only taken 30 minutes, lying about his whereabouts when he was "out of pocket", wanting to go out with his friends or alone and leave me at home, getting a cell phone when he had never had an interest in one before, started keeping a supply of breath mints, started paying a lot of attention to his appearance, started smoking, etc.  For 11 years he had been a devoted, attentive husband.  All the way up until his "personality change" we held hands and were always affectionate with each other -- he was always proud to have me as his wife and always bragged about me to our friends.  All of a sudden he didn't want to be near me, stopped looking me in the eye, became morose, seemed to hate the very sight of me, started telling his new friends that I was frigid (which is competely untrue), was constantly uncommunicative, smoked around me even though I am allergic to it and it made me sick, would no longer speak to me unless it was to complain, and he became explosively angry at everything (and it was all my fault no matter what). In July I was emptying the trash can in his study when I came across the first "hard evidence" and it made me sick to my stomach.  It was his visa statement -- on it was charges for $75 worth of long-distance phone calls to an unknown number, a ladies watch from the jewelers, flowers, and fancy restaurants.  Most of the charges were made when I was out of town on business so I knew none of these things were for me (besides he had already bought me a watch).  Now I know why he seemed to be so unhappy when I came back from my trip -- none of the usual hugs, kisses and "I'm SOOOO happy to see you -- I missed you." It was obvious he did not miss me at all. When I got into the car for the ride home from the airport I noticed two drink bottles in the car -- one for Coke and the other for Mt. Dew (he doesn't drink Mt. Dew)-- he had obviously been with her all the way up until my plane arrived. I kept the visa
statement and then went straight to the cell phone company and got an itemized statement for his cell phone.  Again my stomach leapt -- 65 minutes (in only 4 days) to a number I didn't recognize and only 1 minute to me. I did a reverse look-up on the phone number and was sick when I found out it was a co-worker of his -- a female one, of course. I bided my time to see what would happen and nothing improved -- I confronted them both (separately) and both denied anything was going on. Of course I don't have to tell you this was a lie. He told me they were "just good friends" and that he would no longer talk to her since it obviously caused trouble.  I didn't believe him and it was a good thing -- on the next cell phone bill the amount of calls to her had quadrupled (355 minutes to her and 20 to me -- mainly to find out where I was so he coul make sure I wasn't watching him).  He called her from the bathroom at the restaurants he'd take me to (he said he had to go "wash his hands"), he called her every night when I was in the shower, he called her when he went to go run errands, he called her when he went fishing (and no doubt she met up with him and went with him). I then tapped our home phone and got the information I needed.  The warmth in his voice was such that I had forgotten, it gave me the shivers -- I had not heard that warmth in his voice for me in many, many years. From the conversation it became apparent that he had simply transferred all of his feelings from me to her.  He was doing all the things for her that he had been doing for me -- up until a mere couple of months previous.  He couldn't even be creative and do or say things differently than he had for me.  He told her how beautiful her eyes were (which he has always said to me), he called her "love" and "sweetheart" -- definitely NOT just friends.  My heart went cold.  I took the taped recording and walked out the door.  I called him when I was driving away to say "good-bye."  That was all I said and I didn't give him time to question it.  I went to a park and sat in my car and thought about everything that had changed in my life in a mere 4 months.  I turned the cell phone back on and he tried to call me.  We talked for an hour and he acted confused as to why I left.  When I told him I had tapped the phone and recorded thier conversation he didn't seem to be angry or flustered -- simply said that she had cancer and needed someone to talk to.  Of
course I later found out there was nothing wrong with her (I don't know if this was her lying to him or him lying to me).  He begged me to come home and when I did he seemed so happy that I was home.  However, the next day he "worked late" again (after telling me he would be home early so we could cook some steaks on the grill and spend some time together).
When I questioned him he said they were no longer talking, said she was working in a different building and he gave me his cell phone to "prove" he could be trusted. Then I was told by his co-workers that she was calling him at his work number (where I couldn't see the calling activity) and a week later she had been transferred back to his building (I later found out at his request).  Then I found out about what was being said about them at work.  They called her his "sweetie" and his
"girlfriend." I felt like such a fool -- a fool for believing in him, for trusting him, for loving him.  When he went out of town last week I resolved to move out.  I was in the process of doing so when he sent one of his buddies over to check on me -- because I was not answering the phone, was not at work, and the answering machine was not working (I had unplugged it).  I told his friend what my husband had been "up to" for the past 4 months and he seemed surprised and said he couldn't blame me for leaving.  When his buddy called him to tell him I was leaving my husband cried and told him that he was "wrong" in what he had done, that he loved me more than life itself, would do anything to make amends, and begged me not to leave until he could talk to me face to face.  When he came back from his trip everything seemed better than ever -- he told me everything was his fault, that he loved me more than ever, would do anything to prove his love for me, would talk to me about everything, etc.  However, when I try to talk to him he gets defensive, angry and loud (even when the subject has nothing to do with the OW).  He once again holds my hand and puts his arm around me in public -- but it doesn't feel the same (and I don't know if it is just me now).   I can't see the love shining in his eyes anymore and his smiles seemed fake and
forced. He told me he has to go out of town this week for work and I automatically went cold.  I can't trust him and who can blame me? He says wants to work things out with me because he loves me -- but does he not realize there is more to marriage than love?  The respect, commitment, trust, faith, friendship, communication, bond, etc is gone and in it's place is a black hole.  In the past I loved him plain and true and now that pure love is mixed with hatred, anger and resentment. I don't know if I can go on with this relationship -- even if he never talked to her again I'd wonder when he'd do this to me again and with whom?  Is there EVER a happy ending and if so, what are the chances?  One in a million?  I have seen so many stories from other wives going through this very hardship and I am starting to wonder if I should just call it quits before I am REALLY heartbroken.  I have given him every opportunity to make a "clean break" from me but vehemently resists by
telling me he can't live without me.  If I made a break then the next fear would be, if I found someone else, how long would we have together before they too go through the MLC?

Scared, confused, angry, resentful and betrayed in Alabama

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October 1, 2000

To Scared, confused, angry, resentful and betrayed in Alabama:

After reading your post, there's one thing that kept popping into my mind.  As I've been going through my husband's MLC, I've kept refering back to a book that has really helped me understand how I should handle it.  After all, this is new to the majority of us, and we're totally in the dark after all of these years with the person our husbands used to be.  The book is called "When the One You Love Wants To Leave" by Donald R. Harvey.  There are parts in there that pertain to your situation and it gives you advice on how to handle the situation and your husband. I've read all I could get my hands on, and this one has given me the most information that I could really use.  You shouldn't have to put up his behavior.  You're better than that.  Hope this helps,


p.s.  To Getting Stronger---VERY WELL SAID!!!  Getting to Disney World is a trip that can be taken with the family--try using a travel agent (therapist).



If you only knew the valuable service you are providing to these good people.  I just turned 47.  47?!?  That's almost 50  What happened to 30?!?  My dad was 50!  My beautiful young bride was now a middle-aged woman, and my oldest daughter is 22, one year younger than I was when I got married - yesterday.

I slammed full speed into this thing called MLC.  I didn't know what was wrong with me.  I felt like a cross between Rip van Winkle and Ebeneezer Scrooge waking up after 20 years finding everything different - marriage, outlook, everything.  Like Scrooge facing his own mortality, I felt that new priorities were in order.  I did the school thing, the career thing, now its time for other things, like jazz piano and rediscovering our marriage.

I've heard of midlife men dumping their families and buying sportscars.  I thought they were just acting stupid, but now I know.

I searched the web for help and found your site.  There I read about all the things I've been experiencing and knew what ailed me.

Your website has helped me put things in perspective and, hopefully, not to do anything I'll regret later, but only time will tell on that.

Thanks again.

Now I Know


And thanks to you "NIK" for writing. I'm glad you've found this web site helpful . . . Mike


Hope I have sent this e-mail question to the right place.

Will he try to come back like everyone tells me he will come begging?

I noticed my husband changing in January 2000, right after his 52nd birthday.  He talked and worried all the time about getting old and dying.  I just thought it was stress of the job he lost in January and stress of the new job, (I helped him get) in February. In January he set up his own e-mail on his computer, (instead of using mine) and one day I notice SHOCKING PORNOGRAPHY by the tons coming in on his e-mail.  WHAT A SHOCK FOR ME.  He had NEVER before been into pornography and didn't believe in it.

He is very deep into a midlife crisis right now and seems to be falling deeper into it on a daily/weekly basis. He met a new woman that started to work where he works, started going with her in 1 week later and after 4 more weeks, he left me.  He has now been with her for 70 days, I believe they have split up once and he went back because he had no where to go.  His friend called me and said my husband wanted to come stay with him, as his "new living arrangements weren't working out", but the friend said he really didn't want a room mate.

I thought my husband loved me, (15 years together) and he always told me he loved me, and I did him.  NOW I AM "PUBLIC ENEMY # 1" AND HE CAN'T DO ENOUGH TO HURT ME" AND I DON'T KNOW WHY.  He will do ANYTHING this woman tells him to do. He hand writes hate letters to me and to add insult to injury SHE ADDRESSES THE ENVELOPE.  I got tired of hurting and now just mark through my name and put "return to sender".

He has fought me for 2 months, I have wasted $2,000  in attorney cost, and he won't give me a divorce.  I now go Monday to FORCE a divorce in court. (I filed for divorce less than 24 hours after he left.  THIS SHOCKED HIM!!!)

TO date, he has stopped paying his VA mortgage on our home, and is not longer pay ANY of our bills including water, electric and phone.  He shut off my cell phone, cable TV and long distance phone service the 1st month.

If my husband would only talk to me or explain ANYTHING I think that would help, but he pretends he doesn't know me.  I guess I just need answers.  My husband refuses to acknowledge he was ever married to me.


Click here to view my policies for responding or here to respond to something on this page. Please type "midlife crisis" in the subject box ofyour e-mail editor.

October 8, 2000

My husband is SO typical of the mid-life crisis person.  He was the "perfect" son growing up and "perfect" father and husband (at least to the outside world).  Suddenly he decides he hasn't been happy for a long time and has left for a secretary he's having an affair with.  We have been married 21 years and have 2 girls 14 and 11.  His personality and morals have completely  changed (consensus of his family, coworkers, and friends).  Is this a "PHASE" he'll grow out of?  Is he sick?   My children are devastated!!!!!!!!!



Dear KA,

Thanks for the advice about reading a copy of "When the One You Love Wants to Leave."  I am sure I will have to order it because most of the book stores here carry very few self-help books (I guess no one in this area needs help of any kind <smile>).

To all others:

There was something I have noticed in posts to this BB and Forum as well as others about MLC spouses.  How so many people said "If I had only done this, that or the other my spouse might have not left..." If you have tried your best and your best was not good enough then it had nothing to do with you (chances are even if you didn't try your best it still had nothing to do with you).  Your spouse married you because he/she loved you (faults and all as you did him/her) -- whether they now say they never loved you or not.  It doesn't matter how pretty/handsome you are, how skinny or in-shape you are, who paid the bills, who saved the most money, whether you cooked fancy dinners, made his/her life comfortable, didn't harp or complain, kept the house perfectly clean, did things with them, didn't smother them, paid attention to them, complimented them, etc.  My husband's friends always commented how lucky my husband is because he has a wife that is loving, caring, doesn't harp, lets him do his hobbies with his friends, is a gourmet cook, keeps the house spotless, doesn't have children to distract him, looks 21 at 34, is in good physical shape, etc.  My husband STILL had an affair with OW.  What is so funny is she is my exact opposite!  Very plain, kinda dumpy, has 4 kids, she whines and complains all the time (is VERY pitiful), can't cook, lives in a dump, is always broke, and is 14 years older than I am. What she provided was re-affirmation.  I could have told him a million times a day that he is still handsome, witty, talented, smart, etc. However, he needed to be told by someone OTHER than me to REALLY feel he is all these things.  She said all the RIGHT words and since she "needed" him made him feel like he was her hero.  He didn't realize that he was being used by her until after I had found them out.  So he got used for all he could give her, everyone he works with found out, I was in the process of leaving him, etc -- he then decided he had made a mistake (duh).  Now he sort-of has his wife back (me) but the relationship that was the envy of all his/our friends is now torn apart.  So, what did he gain?  He found out that he is still attractive and can "get the women" but is now in relationship hock.  So, for those of you feeling the need to go out and "find yourself" think it over and over -- you may be throwing away everything to find out whether
or not you are still attractive, etc.  What happens after you find out that you are still an attractive, functioning human being after all?  You try to come back to a home that was once beautiful and comfortable to one of confusion and fear.  You come back to a spouse that used to think you "hung the moon" to thinking "are they worth the pain they have put me through?"  To a family that thought "my daddy/mommy/spouse loves me" to "when is daddy/mommy/spouse gonna leave again?" What happens if
someone comes along and offers your wounded and/or abandoned spouse all that you "took away?" Comfort, peace, trust, communication, friendship, love, emotional attachment, joy, etc.  Then you decide you want them back and they are no longer waiting for you? What a price to pay.

Crazy in AL (formerly "Scared, confused, angry, resentful and betrayed in Alabama" -- that was too long to keep typing)


Like the others that write to this column, I am left behind by my husband of 23 years.  He has no interest in anything that had to do with those 23 years - home, children, mutual friends, my other family members, etc...  This has been the shock of my life and I have been reading, praying, going to counseling, taking antidepressants, and talking to anyone who will listen to my tale of woe.  I have been crying since this started about 10 months ago. I am sure everyone is tired of my tears and sadness.  What I want to know is, is there any research that provides some insight into the predisposing factors, causes, treatment, or prevention of this phenomenon.  It is very frustrating to me to know that this has been going on for years or centuries, and plenty of people can describe the same manifestations, same devestation to those left behind, and yet, there seems to be very little scientific
information available.  There are a myriad of books that describe mlc, and books that suggest how to cope with it, but it doesn,t seem as though this subject has gotten much attention from an official, professional, scientific community.  I know that I meet more people that have been affected by this than by schizophrenia or multiple personalities, and yet we know much more
about those subjects than about mlc.  Is anything available for inquiring minds?  Are there any studies underway?  I can't bear to think that future generations have to live with the high risk of this destructive behavior, when there could be some benefit to be gained from those who have gone before.  Please share anything you might know about this.  Thank you.



Hello everyone. I just turned 43 years old 3 days ago. I have been married for 7 years. I have been grappling with MLC now for at least 3 years. I have sought out and received therapy for this mental disorder, as diagnosed by the DSM IV. I have worked very hard and now feel that the smoke is clearing. I can now see light at the end of the tunnel. For a long time time now, I have been desperately fighting off chronic feelings of obsolescence, complacency, degeneration, all leading to intense alienation, loneliness and despair. In response to these feelings I believed as many others that by changing my surroundings (spouse, clothes, fitness level, car, geographic location, employer) I would change the feelings. I was wrong. These superficial attempts at external change only lead to further confusion and isolation, temporary gratification notwithstanding. I have now reached a point in my recovery process where I have gained enough insight to recognize that the pathology of MLC is internal. It lies within heart and soul of the person. It affects the heart and mind and manifests itself first through emotions (feelings), second through cognition (thoughts) and thirdly through actions (behavior). I have learned that to overcome MLC one must reconsider the beliefs, stereotypes, roles, and expectations that family and society have impregnated and conditioned into our minds. Many false beliefs are implanted in our heads as children by parents and friends and not necessarily through bad intentions. The point is that they are not etched in stone nor do they apply to everyone. They are all valued judgments that are often eschewed by bias. Unfortunately many of us carry these unrealistic expectations into adulthood. This causes terrible problems when we try to live up to the expectations of others instead of attempting to truly understand ourselves. Only by getting to know ourselves will we ever be able to identify our true talents and aspirations (as well as our shortcomings and
limitations). Hence, MLC is a direct result of the conflict between who we are and who we think we should be. The irony becomes more apparent when we see the small handful of people who actually attain what society has dictated and then immediately "throw it all away" after closer examination. They, of course, realized that they were living a lie: living up to someone else's definition of success, not their own. Friends and family are naturally left dumbfounded.  It does not usually occur
to someone that something is not right for them until they actually try it out. Sometimes the choice fits, in which case the individual floats through the MLC stage relatively unscathed. For the rest of us we must make new decisions, for we are at a crossroad in life. We are at a halfway point: between birth and death. We are at a new awakening because for the first time in our lives we recognize our own mortality as reality. We can choose to continue on in life as we have been (for better or worse) or we can resolve to make adjustments i.e. healthy changes. If you fall into the first category, congratulations! However for those of us that fall into the latter, the implementation of healthy changes is absolutely essential. And these changes are of the internal type not the quick-fix, band aide, make-up approach of  atmospheric aesthetics. The resounding bottom-line asserts that if we wish to pass through the MLC stage in the adult life development process "with as few scratches as possible" we must become at peace with who we are as human beings in the fullest context: emotionally, sexually, socially, physically, intellectually / professionally, spiritually and extracurricularly. We must make a full inventory of ourselves in order to make sure that we are comfortable with ourselves in each area of our lives. In we are not, for whatever reason, we must re-calibrate. Change can come in many forms: all the way from minor alterations to major overhauls. Nevertheless, the resounding bottom-line remains the same, we must re-invent ourselves in order to fill the abyss between who we are now (and who we have been in the past) and who we want to be tomorrow (and forever).

2 recommend readings:
Sheehy, Gail  Understanding Men's Passages: Discovering the New Map of Men's Lives
1998  Random House Publishers ISBN #0-679-30852-0

Girdano, Daniel A.  Better Late Than Never: How Men Can Avoid a Midlife Crisis  1981
Prentice-Hall Publishers ISBN #0-13-074765-3 / 0-13-074773-4

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Here's my story and time frame references:

Background: H and I have known each other for 23 years.  I went steady with him since I was 18 (he was 23), got married 8 years later, and divorced after 7 years. I initiated the divorce (no 3rd person). I think I was going through a MLC (my father died).  His father died the same year as divorce.  We began seeing each other again after 6 mos. of divorce, moved to another place and lived together for the past 2-1/2 years.  He moved out 5 mos. ago after he began seeing someone else.  We never remarried, but here goes...

About 2-1/2 years ago, he started doing things to improve his appearance. Got braces, fixed teeth, laser treatments for his face,
started doing face muscle exercises, wrinkle cream, age spot remover, made me pluck out his gray hairs. He has always been in excellent shape, so he looks great! He was complaining about his job, how he wanted to change it. He wanted to buy a new house, wanted to get a dog, wanted a new truck. Everything about other things nothing about us, no clue that anything was wrong with us.

August of last year, he said he wanted separation, just wanted to be alone and figure things out. I asked if there was another woman, and he said no. He said it was him, nothing to do with me. We worked through it (or so I thought) and we were okay. About March, he started talking separation again.  This time he was telling me that he wasn't 100% in love with me and he wanted to love me that way but couldn't and that he'd felt this way for sometime now.  He was also unhappy about his job,
wanted a new one.  Wanted to sell the condo and buy a house.  We don't have children, but we've always wanted them and in fact planned for them after I finished graduate school (12/99).

In April, I discovered that he began running with and talking to a woman about his feelings (emotional affair) of disatisfaction with our relationship. While I was away visiting family, he would see her (don't know if it got physical). By mid-April he was talking moving out again. I suggested counseling and he refused and wanted to work things out his way. He moved out at end of April into his own place, but actively began seeing OW regularly. I didn't hear from him for 1-1/2 months! When I finally did, he said he missed me but he didn't know what he wanted and couldn't figure out how to decide.

It's now been 5 months since he moved out. We went to 5 sessions of counseling, but to no avail because he couldn't commit to the relationship, just wanted to see where it would go. Last night at dinner he barely said anything to me, I initiated most of the conversation.  I finally asked what was going on with him and how he was feeling about things.  He said he's tired of talking about how he feels and people trying to change what he feels. Friends believe he is going through a mid life crisis and so I began reading about it and at dinner explained that this may be something he is experiencing.  Thus the comment about changing what he feels.

Lately most of the things I say or do upsets him. I am a peaceful kind of person, I don't yell or throw things.  And he is very much the same way, except when upset then he'll clam up and when really angry he will raise his voice.  In all our 23 years together, he has never raised his voice to me except within the last 5 months.  This is scaring me, I'm a wreck! I don't know what to do anymore.

Is this a mid-life crisis? What can be done, can anything be done, or is this something he has to process alone? Will he ever come out of it? I have ordered your book, His Mid-Life Crisis.  After I read it how can I get him to read it, if in fact this is what he is going through. He is an educated man, and a school counselor.  He doesn't take kindly to people telling him things about himself especially anything from me these days.  He is like a stranger to me.

Help me, In Tears

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October 10, 2000

Attention: Can any of you help with this?
i am looking for couples that are going through midlife crisis to be on our tv show "men are from mars, women are from venus' with cybill shepherd (Friday, Oct. 13th).  Please call ASAP if you or someone you know is going through this with their pouse.  All ideas and stories are welcome.  For those we select, we will gladly fly you to sunny southern california with hotel accommodations and ground travel provided.  Please call 310-244-3772.

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October 16, 2000

I'm a twice divorced 40 year old man that awoke this morning to a sense of deadness inside and a sense that time was running out.  Could this be part of a midlife crisis?  I don't know!  What I do know is this feeling has been within me for awhile--years!.   In an attempt to make it go away,  I thought a fresh start would do the trick.  So, a few years ago I got a divorced from my "ex-number-two."  I really make that sound too simple and I could write volumes about that relationship. However, the short story is she was one of the best and most loving  women I've ever known and I killed that relationship because I convinced myself she was the reason I didn't feel alive.  So, what did I do?  I went out and bought a Corvette convertible and established a relationship with a much younger women that I now feel is incredibly wrong for me.  Currently, I have a daughter that will be a year old this month and though she brings me much joy, nothing has really changed.  I still feel dead inside.  Worse yet, I've recently started having these little mini realizations during the late evening about my mortality.
I can still hear my little voice saying, "you'll be dead one day," and "if you live as long as your father...you have 11 years left!"  To silence my little voice, I started looking at lake houses and boats, as if they could fill the void the Corvette and prom queen couldn't. 

I don't know how to get over these feelings of dread and nothingness.  I thought a spiritual inventory would help but what I know of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Druids, Judaism, other religions, and history in general, has served to undermine many of my core religious beliefs and has resulted in a type of cynicism regarding western religion, as a whole.  Unlike some, I can't just hand-off the garbage in my life to god and know with certainty that there will be life after death and that all my questions will be
answered then.  Really!  Who made that up?  Is this it?  Is what we make of this life, all there is?  Do I dare ask the question...."What is the meaning of life?"  I know that over the eons of time, these questions have been asked over and over again.  I need to know I have a greater purpose than this unfulfilling life.  I need to know I'm not here just to serve as a
replication vehicle for DNA.

Too many questions, not enough answers....


Hello, I am desparate for help in my marriage. My husband and I have been married for 26 yrs. I love him wiyh all my heart even though he has hurt me in the last year very bad. My h woke up one day to inform me that he no longer knew what he wanted, that he loved me as I am the mother of his kids but he did not think he was in love me anymore. That was in Feb of 99. We sold our home, our kids are 23 & 25 so they are on their own now. When we sold our home I thought that we would have more money to do the things we wanted to do as with our home money was tight.We moved into an appartment and in Nov99 he decided he had to get away to find himself. He asked me to let him alone to think,I love himenough to try to respect that but he comes from a family of 9 kids and 1 of them was constantly reporting things to me and I would get upset and find him and confront him he would get angry as I was usually histericle.He says this drove him further away and things esculated from there.We have been apart now for 11 months and in May he filed for divorce but he says he is not sure that he is doing the right thing I do not want a divorce. The problem with this is we never talked since he left untill recently. Two weks ago he finally agreed to talk to me and we talk about things that  were wrong in the marriage,he says our marriage was good but we did not comunicate. We have gone to court twice already and the div will be coming final befor long and I am scared thathe does not want it either  because he keeps saying we'll see what happens when I mention the div moving so fast.He was speding time with someone but he swears she is only a friend ,I believe him. He has been very confused about all this  and we have both had conseling ,we have been going since Feb99.If he really wanted a divorce then why is it so hard for him to just say there is no chance for us again and why is he so depressed about his decision? I know I did some things that hurt him too ,he use to hug me all the time and i would tell him to cut it out and he says that bothered him real bad. I wish we talked more than we did 
and I know and he says too that if we work it out we will probly be happier than ever,I am running out of time I need some advise PLEASE.

please give me some news soon ,
pj"s hurting

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October 23, 2000

Hi,We been married for 12yrs. we have 2 kids ( 10 & 16 mos.) it's now going on 4 weeks sense everything started.My wife work's nights & I work days, sense she started it's been trouble, now she decided to move out with one of the girls that work with her & a guy that works day's their.She started the job 6 months ago to make extra money for our trip & her bills for credit cards that she promise that she wouldn't do so she is to pay the bill.She says that I don't pay attention to her, yes in which I'm at fault.Now I'm trying so had to get her back into our lives & for our kids.She says she needs her time & space & I ask her if she is seeing anybody else. The answer is no.I have offer use to go to cancleig she said no.How long does she need time & away ? She will come in the morning to take our son to school & watch our daughter until I get off of work then she will leave.I will left with the kids all night.Is this fair? I'm going to be 36 & she is Turing 37.Does she have a midlife Crisis? I only hope & pray that she will come back.



Found your "The Addiction of Midlife Affairs" article to be very beneficial.

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October 30, 2000

I have read most of these stories and all I can say is, boy can I relate.  My husband has just turned 30 and I am only 28.  We have only been married for three years.  He was married before me at age 19 and has two wonderful children (6&5).  We have always believed that we were soul mates.  Our marriage has evolved in that we are not only mates, lovers, but also best  friends.  Thank god he is talking to me about what he is feeling, but that doesn't make it any easier for me.  It all started before his birthday in June.  My family noticed it first, but I just passed it off as he wasn't looking forward to turning 30.  Through the summer there were more signs but I kept thinking they were something else.  Then about two weeks ago, he started talking to a girl online that lives in the same city as us.  She is single, mother of one, and 33.  She is a big partier, and he started to show 
signs of enjoying that kind of lifestyle.  He finally realized that what he was doing was wrong and has since ended it.  Then as I thought we were moving toward some kind of conclusion to this mess, last Friday night on our way out with other couples, he informed me that part of him doesn't want to be married anymore.  He loves me, he needs me, he wants me, but sometimes he 
doesn't want to have to answer to anyone.  If he doesn't want to come home right after work, he doesn't want to feel guilty for doing that.  I have never made him feel like he should be guilty for doing something with out me.  He has always allowed me that freedom as have I him.  He says that he doesn't want to loose our marriage, but he would like it better if we were just dating.  Worst of all I don't think he understands what he wants.  I don't know what I can do to help him.  Others around me have told me not to try, just to listen and be supportive, at least hes talking with you.  I have suggested counseling if it comes to that but right now I'm not sure.  I am leaving for Cleveland for two weeks for work next month.  I am hoping that time apart will give him some time to think things through before making a huge mistake.  We have a wonderful marriage and we love each other, but I'm wondering if that is enough.  I really need some advice on what I can say to him before I go, or do while I'm here.  I am dying inside and I don't know how to make this better.  I am a fixer by nature, and I can't express how much it kills me that I can't fix the most important thing to me, us.  

Breaking heart


My husband has just turned 37 & he is suffering from M,L,C. I am suffering, the family suffers he wants a divorce because I talk 2 my friends about the marriage, He says he loves me . Please somebody I need guidance .



Hi! I'm Carol.  I am really going through a wild mid-life crisis!  I am (40) ugh! I don't look like I am 40, this makes it worse!!   Thanks, 




I simply must know what your on-line friends think about an issue that is threatening to break up my and my husband.  For many reasons, when we married five years ago, we agreed that we wouldn't have children.  I have had a complete turn-around in that feeling and am longing for a child of my own, but he doesn't want one.  The question I'd like to see discussed is this:  Should I have to choose between marriage and a child, even IF I thought I didn't want to have any at the time of our marriage?  Do the Christians who read this think I am bound to my marriage vows under the very circumstances that were occurring at the
time?  (My husband brought me a few surprises,too, so he knows that I feel this is a moot point, but I'd still like to hear what people have to say.)

I'm old enough that I only have a couple of options left to carry a child myself.  However, adoption is a very viable alternative, as many agencies have said that neither my husband nor I are too old to adopt through their agency.

 My husband did some things that showed he took a serious look at all the options.  He visited a school for special language programs for international adoptees, he went to a fertility clinic with me, and other things, but he decided he couldn't go through with it.

I need some feedback from whomever cares to answer.  Please respond to margaretmaewatzke@yahoo.com



Hello,I have been married 5 years to a man whose ex-wife has been living with another man in another state for the last 10 years. As far as I know in the 5 years that we have been together he has had no contact with her. Well, his grown kids have contacted him and told him his ex is very sick and in intensive care, although she probably will recover. He thinks he ought to send her a get well card,I think he ought to stay out of it,she has been with a different man for 10 years! I am not trying to be petty but this really has me upset. What do you think?



Hi.  I'm sitting here writing looking for help.  It's 9:40 and my husband is still at his new friends house.   It's been nearly 6 weeks since we had our talk about his wanting changes in his life and felt he needed to move out.  He felt something was missing and kept reassuring that it wasn't me.  That it was all him.  We also have no children.  I love him dearly with all of my heart and it's killing me slowly.  I'm 35 and he's 32. We've been married for nearly 13 years.  He says that he is looking at his life and everything that he has wanted he has not fullfilled and that something is holding him back and he doesn't know what it is.  He
tells me he loves me but not the way he should.  I do everything for him without expecting anything but his unconditional love.  He also tells me that I am a great wife and friend and that I can do so much better because something inside him doesn't appreciate what I do for him.  It has been a very long and painful 6 weeks.  He is saving up to move out and get his own place.  We are still living together and sharing the same bed.  It's funny.... with all this hurt and pain, I must admit the sex is better then ever.  
About 4 weeks ago he began sleeping with a friend of ours.  A mutual friend that we have known for only 2 months.  I found out on the phone while talking to her.  She told me how deeply in love she was with him and how they have been sleeping together.  I just lost it.  I couldn't function at work, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't eat, and I'm still in shock.  I know he isn't leaving me for her.  He's leaving to re-evaluate his life. Is this normal for a man going through midlife to have an affair like that?  I know it won't last between them.  They have become very good friends as they have alot in common.  They both had alot of family
problems while growing up and have alot of experiences to share with each other.  He says that she's helped him only because she's been there where he's been.  One thing he does tell me quite often is that it isn't me.  He keeps reassuring me what a wonderful, beautiful, caring, and giving woman I am.  But it doesn't help, I still feel like I did something for him to have an affair.  I think I would be even more hurt if the affair came first, then him telling me he want's to move out.  But maybe the affair happened from all of the confusion he must be feeling.  I don't know.
I can tell he loves me in different ways but he won't tell me.  I can tell by the way he holds me when we get into one of those emotional deep talks, the way he looks at me, the way he talks to me.  He is one who doesn't cry, but when we talk and when he looks at me his eyes fill with tears.  In the middle of the night the other night I woke to his putting his arm around me and gently kissing my forehead.  This has been so emotionally hard on me.  Everyday I come home from work to find him getting ready and watching him leave to go see her.  He comes home sometimes early and sometimes late.  It kills me to watch him
leave.  Part of me wants him to hurry and move because of how bad he is hurting me.  The other part is scared to let him go because he will never return.  I just want to hold him so tight so he can't leave.  I find the more I hold and talk to him, the more I'm pushing him away, but it's so hard not to talk to him.  We have been through so much together, many good and bad times.  But anytime I needed someone to talk to he was there for me.  He's not here for me now.
Can a marriage survive through midlife?  I love him so much and I'm so confused about it.  It's tearing me up.  A day doesn't go by that I don't think of him and just loose it.  I don't want to loose him and deep down inside I feel he doesn't want to loose me either but he won't give me any hope.  I really need somebody to talk to.
Broken hearted


I have been seeing someone for almost six years. this past year I have been ill. My fiancee recently turned 44 and is now dying his hair , goes out all night sometimes.He is very angry but doesnt know why. Recently we seperated because he needs space and is planning to do things hes never done before. He asks me to be his friend instead of his wife. Is this part of midlife crisis or can theire be more. He says he loves me like a friend one day and the next he loves me. I am 36 and totally confused by his behaviour. He recently lost his pet, his son moved away from home and now im gone. Thank you

Lost and confused in canada


To All Men who are:
    1.  Fed up with their jobs
    2.  Fed up with their marriages
    3.  Who think leaving their wives and finding Miss Right will solve all of life's problems
My Dad walked out on his marriage when he was in his 40's.  I was in my early 20's at the time.  He thought he found Miss Right and left New York and moved to Florida to be with the woman who would make his life better.
The affair I'm sure was exciting for a time, but guess the excitement ends and life becomes routine again.  Many years later, on his death bed, he told me leaving his wife and family was the worst decision he ever made.
Now I'm in my 40's and I understand the pressures he felt as well as the temptations. I'll never forget the wisdom he gave me before he died, and I would encourage ALL men to rediscover the love they have in their marriages rather than seek out the initial thrill of a new relationship.  The author and creator of marriage has these words for us in Mid life they are found in the Book of Proverbs 5:18-20 Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times and always be enraptured with her love.  For why should you my son be enraptured by an immoral women and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?
Too many men give into this temptation....I for one will take God at His word.  For all the damage my father did when he deserted our family, the gift he left me was telling me how wrong it was. If any man is reading his and thinking of leaving....don't do it...get help, make things right in your marriage!



How I can relate to this story! I am a French-American 39 year old woman who just went through Hell. After losing my younger sister to cancer at age 32, she died in France while my husband and I and 2 sons lived in California (for 15 years) one year after I lost my sister, still grieving her, the father of my children started having an affair with an Asian girl. He was 44 at the 
time, now 46.I realized he was a total stranger to me and his own children. Confronted him, forgiving him for the lack of attention I gave him etc.sorry I was taking care of my sister's during her chemio and radiotherapy---he told me that he did not love me any more and resented me etc...that I pushed him to do that etc....He left like an insane person on the birthday party of our son turning 8. In front of everyone he packed and left kissing his girlfriend in front of his own son.Since, I had been left one month with $5 on the account (with a new house we had just moved into!) with bills I would get from his extravagant trips to 
Hawai etc...

I filed for divorce since he refused to come back. 8 months later I sold our house and moved myself and the boys to France------Stability--------He is still with his Vietnamese girl friend (16 years younger) and bought a house with her last June. His relationship with his children is very sporadic and superficial.

America is encouraging the babyboomers to do so. This generation of men is so self-absorbed, so selfish and materialistic that men never grow and never become fully adult (only when they start having prostate problems do they start thinking)Woman cannot afford to have a midlife crisis.I believe this type of problems starts in childhood, the way little boys are isolated from normal interaction with girls (if they want to learn how to they join the Cotillon clubs!) Lack of role models (their fathers are big 
kids and entertain their children trying to be friends with them or a big brother instead of a father)

After more than a year in France, my sons ( now 9 and 12) realize the difference and the disfunctionality of the Amercan society. They ask questions such as why is it impossible in California to have coed birthday parties? Things is more natural in Europe! If Americans ran their families as well as they do business it would be great but I believe that if the old Continent has to learn from the new continent from an economic point of view, America has so much growing up to do regarding human relationships!  It is the land where you can make a fortune just selling self-help books, opening a counseling practice or becoming a new guru because common sense is deficient
Although don't get me wrong, I am American too!!!!!! but thank God I got my values in Europe and have the opportunity to raise my boys this way.Had I remained there, I would has spent a fortune in therapy (I did already) Even if I do plan on coming back to California when the boys are stronger, I view problems differently now.I am still hurting. As a woman the pain will never go away. The breaking of a family is a tragedy no matter how they are trying to make it sound positive in California as a new beginning etc...

Nathalie M Q


I was reading all the articles about husbands being unfatfull and wife's.  Well I'm in a similar situation I have been married for 10 months i'm 21 my husband is 26 and all he ever does is lie.  I don't understand why he lies to me about really stupid things.  If I treaten to leave him he gets defesteded and he cries to me but yet he is very abuse.  He lies to me and I get the beatings for it.  I am so stressed I have lost so much weight I weight 90 at 21 years old I am always sick and very depressed.  The worse part now is that the church we attend have just made us the youth leaders of the church.  I mean he can be the best to me so sweet and stufff but now that I know he lies I feel like he's being fake to me in every situation, I feel like everytime he say's I love you he's lying.  How am I to have kids and a life with a man who can even tell me he had peas for lunch because he will tell me he had beans.  Why?  I AM SO FRUTRATED AND CONFUSED, I WISH I HAD NEVER COME HEAR.  WHY DID ALL THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN WAS IT A HUGE MISTAKE.  I'm starting to believe that.  If anyone has some advise for me please help. 



Dear Too Many Questions, Not Enough Answers ....

I read with interest your recent e-mail about your mlc and two relationships, one that you walked away from and now realize was indeed a very good relationship, and one that you are currently thinking about walking away from.

I think you should change your signature to "Disaster Dan."  You appear to be just an accident waiting to happen for every woman whose life you enter.  Do you realize the trail you are leaving behind you?  Does no one else's feelings count but yours?  What about those women?  

In my opinion, you have no right whatsoever entering into any relationship with anyone until you straighten yourself out.  Everyone feels a void now and then, and asks themselves "is this all there is?"   The answer is - YES!  And it's a lot!  And you better make the most of it, instead of spending it feeling sorry for yourself because you think you need "something more."

My husband of 22 years ago left me in March of this year, giving me the same song and dance that every other man going through this does.  All the classic lines I've now read on this web site over and over again since he left.  I got over him.  I hope he doesn't change his mind and want to come home again, Dan, because that ship sailed.  And you need to consider that your options are not going to be open forever.  And that little girl of yours needs her Dad.  Get a grip and straighten up, before it's too late and you leave another trail.  Do whatever it takes - counseling, reading, whatever.  


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