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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 hearing from you.

Please notice the dates below. If you want entries other than today's date, here are your options.

Midlife Crisis Forum for Other Months
April-August, 1997 August-October 1997 November-December 1997 January-March 1998 April-July 1998 August-October 1998 November-December 1998 January-March 1999

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January-March 1998

January 3, 1998

Dear Mike,

I didn't want my story aired, but after I read Jana's piece, I decided that maybe somebody might benefit from mine. I am the one going through the crisis, not my husband. But actually, the entire family is effected by it. About 6 months before I turned 40, I made health and exercise my main priority. (Funny thing is that I was already in good shape, and never did look like I birthed 5 children) But nevertheless, I pursued jogging and tennis. Then I acquired a second job. It was to be away from the home, husband and 5 kids, that prompted me. I had extra spending money, less responsibility at home, and more opportunity to be with others.

At first, my family took it very hard. They had to learn to do for themselves and it forced my husband to be involved in their lives. He had to make a lot of the decisions in the home and even did the grocery shopping. I had done these things for almost 20 years with no help and no longer felt appreciated. It has been slow-coming, but finally, the have become independent of me in a positive way. My husband, who told me at one point to quit my second job, has now supported me and allowed me to continue the lifestyle I now have.

I did make some mistakes along the way(relationships outside of marriage)and realize that my husband loved me enough to "stick it out" with me and thank God that these mistakes were undetected by my family. I consider my self lucky, because I made changes in my life to accommodate my needs and now I am back to be the wife and mother I was meant to be, and still have my family. So if you are going through a crisis, I hope you have a terrific family that will "stick with you" and if you have a spouse that is in a crisis, "stick with them", because it doesn't last forever! I still have some problems to solve and/or live with, but I am stronger now and will plant my own garden and decorate my own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring me flowers. I'm that strong!


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January 12, 98

Mike: I found your article on "Jeff", to be quite interesting. I to, am involved in a relationship outside of my marriage. I have told my wife about it, and she has been very understanding about the whole thing. We have talked extensively about it but there is still a lot of ground that needs to be covered. The primary thing being trust and how to regain it. The second is knowing that it is over, permanently. The part of your story that struck me was when Jeff said that he finally realized that the feeling of "I'm in love" turned out only to be a fantasy, and in fact not real at all. Though I discovered that it is not possible to love two people at the same time and make it work, I do not believe that the feelings that I have for this other person are a mere fantasy. Just as the love I developed for my wife when we met was not a fantasy.

So I guess my question is; What makes the love in the affair different from the one in the marriage?, other than the fact that one came before the other. I don't want to get into the psychology of all this, but I do maintain that everything that happens to us in the material world is reality. It is real because it can change the course of our lives and/or it can change who we are or become, and that is real (to my way of thinking anyway). On a lighter note, I know my wife and I will work this out and hopefully I(we) will be better for it. I cannot help feeling a deep void inside of me, and I suppose you were almost expecting to hear that, and in time I am hoping this will pass. At the same time, I also believe in fate, and this has been a major turning point (as I have never done anything like this before) and it happened for a reason. I have had a few of these turning points in my life and I have always followed them. Each time they lead me to something better or down a new road of opportunity. I am sure you understand my dilemma. However, I refuse to sacrifice my family and this is the path I have chosen. I just hope that, that nagging little voice in the back of my mind will eventually silence itself.



JSA--I'm not sure that there is any difference in how the two loves feel on an emotional level. And Jeff discovered that his love was more of a love for the feeling of love. I'm sure this isn't the case for all affairs; however, I think it describes many midlife affairs, where the the affair itself is often a substitute for unresolved personal issues. I do believe your feelings of loss are real, and that it will take time to heal. You have made a wise and loving decision. Hang in there, and good luck.--Mike

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Mike, Just found your web site and read the letter from Troubled. I would suggest that he do a reality check. Surely, if he is as sensitive and understanding as he says he is, he would be able to get past the "new information" from his wife that he is allowing to ruin their relationship. If he can't get past it, maybe he's the one with the problem, not her. This new insight should give him something he can work on instead of worrying about all the things he thinks she needs to change to make the relationship better. I had a "reality check" five years ago when my husband of 17 years was killed in an accident. Believe me, being able to have a relationship with someone you really care about is more important than fussing over things that happened before you were married. I'd trade you places in a flash if I could have my husband back -- I'd even take all the problems! Wake up, Troubled, and count your blessings. KDN

January 16, '98

N.G.--I know how scared you must feel. My eyesight started going bad about two years ago. I thought for sure that I was going blind. It was probably more understandable than thinking that I too had become "middle-aged"...or even worse, turned into my mother!! You however, have an additional medical diagnosis. You must be petrified! Having said that, it is important that you either join a good church group, ( a choir if you sing), or find a good counselor to help you deal with these feelings of isolation and loss. Like Mike I suggest marriage counseling, but have the feeling that your wife will not be too susceptible to it. It sounds like she is at the point already that "it's your problem". I believe that you need to seek out counseling to help you deal with what I see as an emotionally abusive relationship. For your wife to kick you for snoring, (although I understand it to a point....my husband snores also), is intolerable. It sounds like she has much pent up frustration or rage built up against you personally, or the relationship. Only a good therapist, or even your clergy...in other words, someone trained in counseling, can help you. Don't procrastinate, get help now.



Troubled--I totally agree about Mike's response to you. As my view goes both of you have erred it doesn't matter whether it is before marriage or after marriage wrong is a wrong to me. But there is nothing you both can do to reverse it. All that you have to think now is how to make a wrong a right. This is only by forgiving and forgetting the mistakes that both of you have done.

Sometime you have to make a decision of either staying with your wife or with the other women. When you make a decision I want you to think how your decision is going to effect your children. If you make a decision of leaving your wife then your children will loose a stable home to come to. I have seen children without a stable home encountering so many types of problems. We bring them into this world and for no fault of them we put the children through all these.

On the otherhand I do understand how it is difficult to give up the emotional relationship that you have now with the other women.

Think which is more important to you your emotions or your children. Sometimes we have to give up something to get something else. If you want a stable home to your children you have to sacrifice your own emotions. I just know it is hard. But nothing is impossible when you give it a try.

Count on your friends to help you through this difficult times I know you do need them now.

Troubled I want you to make a fair and a right decision. I wish you good luck in making the decision and I hope you won't regret later.


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January 24, 1998

Mike--I am writing in response to the letter dated January 3, 1998 from "unsigned." I can relate to this woman so well. I don't think I've found quite the comfort zone she has though. I'm interested in your thoughts regarding my situation.

I'm almost 40, educated, and married to a wonderful man for 19 years with two children, ages 11 and 14. I've been blessed and happy and had never once had a thought about a relationship outside of my marriage. After a recent physical, I felt the need to make some changes in diet and exercise routines. It is wonderful....I feel very vibrant and alive and look better than I have in years. Through a string of rather odd situations, I started to correspond via e-mail with a man who is a few years my junior. We corresponded for about 3 months, sharing just your basic conversation. Once in a while it became a bit flirtatious, but nothing more.

It started very innocently and escalated from a one-time lunch into a one-time rendezvous. I have no intention of ever seeing this person again. I'm so full of guilt, I don't know if I should disclose this to my husband (he has no clue) or consider it a learning experience and move on. I am truly sorry this happened. I wish I could take it back, but I can't. Do I tell the truth to ease my conscience and disrupt everyone else's life or just try to get on with life? I know that my priority is my family and always will be; I'm just sorry it took such extremes to remind me of that.

I spent many years at home taking care of children and like "unsigned" felt desperately taken for granted. I call it the "dishrag complex." Just recently, my husband took his very first sick day off to take care of our daughter so I could work. My job is very important to me. Not only do I like it, but I also carry our insurance and it also allows us to pay the bills and live comfortably. Just prior to this chaos, I've recently had a number of close friends either pass away or they've been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Am I trying to get the most out of life or just reaching for something in the dark here? I don't know!!! I'm not trying to excuse or condone what I've done; there is no excuse. I'm just trying to make sense out of it for myself. I'm so full of guilt; it's literally making me sick. I feel like I'm in way over my head and I'm trying desperately not to take anyone else under with me. I'm interested in any advise you can lend...HELP! List me as "unsigned 2" please. (Please do not list my e-mail address (a work address) or my name. Thank you.)


Unsigned #2. I never list full names or e-mail addresses unless asked. I'm very concerned for you. You have all the classic symptoms of midlife crisis. Yes, I think the affair was just a desperate attempt on your part to relieve the angst you are feeling, and I know you didn't mean to hurt anyone by it. And while I agree with you that it was wrong, it won't help to keep beating up on yourself. You need to see a professional counselor at once, and let him or her help you work through the guilt and other issues. I don't know about telling your spouse. I've heard good people argue both ways--keep quiet or tell. I certainly wouldn't make a decision on this until I had several opinions including at least one professional one (and mine isn't).

I'm posting your question on the midlife crisis forum so others can tell you what they think. They will probably have better advice than I do, but still don't decide something this important based only on what some people on an Internet discussion forum think. Speaking from my heart, I really do wish you the best. I've had to work through my share of guilt at midlife, and I know it's not easy. Hang in there, and keep us posted.--Mike

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January 30, '98

Unsigned #2,

Share: Your past, your present, your secrets. Share those little snippets of life, all the good moments and the bad. And be honest. Make your partner your best friend. Your joys will be doubled and your problems diminished. Only exception to this rule, perhaps: Sexual secrets that can cause more damage than goodwill.

Now you have to make a choice between the "DAMAGE" and the "HONESTY" Would you risk everything that matters to you -- to lead an honest life? The choice now depends on the value system you have built in. It also depends on how far your spouse is Understanding and Accomodating. One thing with HONESTY it lets us have a clear conscious all the time.

If I put myself in your shoes I will choose honesty. For me Honesty is the one that matters me the most. Each one has an individual value system built in. The more input you take more you get confused here.

Just do as your heart tells you to do. Supposing you choose to lie you will be saving your marraige then don't ever think that you did someting wrong inotherwords think "YOU LIED FOR A GOOD CAUSE". If you choose not to tell your husband then don't try to torture your life by always working this in the corner of your mind. "Always try to forget the things that made you sad and let it go" and move on. We will sure learn a lot from our mistakes.

Inotherwords if your conscious doesn't permit you to lie then grow strong and don't ever expect your spouse to understand you may be disappointed. Instead tell yourself that you are going to face the consequences inorder to save your values.

Here either you can save your marriage or you can save your values. After you make the choice tell yourself that you are never going to regret the choice that you made. When choices are hard decisions are just have to be made. ...and believe that whatever decisions you make, they will be the right choices for you!!

By chance if you save both then think "YOU ARE THE LUCKIEST"

I wish you good luck in making your choice.


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February 6, '98


Your answer to me sounds good, but it doesn't play well in real life. You say my husband is getting away with abusive behavior. You're right, but I don't see that I can do much about it. I have been to a counselor. My life is full. I have a fulltime job, three grown children and a grandchild which I adore and spend time with. I am also involved in quite a few extracurricular activities within my church, I work as a parttime musician and am on the board of a very active nonprofit ministry. I am away from home at least three nights a week because I need to be away from him. I have a nice home that I am proud of and 2 adn 1/2 acres where I love to garden in the summer. At Christmas time I even hosted a party for our friends at the house, although my husband spent most of his time upstairs in bed while they were there.

You say to get my self-esteem out of the basement. Well, my self-esteem is fine. I realize that I have talents and gifts and a great deal to offer in the workplace. I'm very good at what I choose to do. I have a family that loves and supports me. Self-esteem is not my problem. My cold, depressed, non-human husband is my problem. And my self-esteem is his problem. I believe he is quite intimidated by the fact that I am a strong woman. (during his zoned out period, I have also fought a serious disease with absolutely no support or acknowledgement from him).

I do not hang around "begging for his attention". I mentioned that I hugged him with no response and you seemed to think that I was pleading with him to love me. Not so. I hugged him once in three months because I felt compassion for him and I was trying to show him love because he seems to feel so unlovable. I am a Christian and I believe and trust in what the Bible says, the golden rule, etc. There are times when I try to put his needs before mine because he is in deep trouble and I took a vow to do that over 25 years ago. However, I am very clear in my mind what I am doing and why, and pray every day that God will give me love toward him, replacing any hatred or bitterness which crops up. I don't believe that treating him like a freak will help matters - I want to act as different as possible from him. I try my best not to return evil for evil.

He had no affair. He was pretty much in a near fetal position during the time he was gone from home. Severely depressed. He has no interest in women, me included. His only interest is his work and he buries himself in it and pretends to the world that he is fine. He does a convincing job of it too. Only those who know him very well would notice a difference in his behavior. When he comes home, he becomes Mr. Hyde or The Zombie, depending on his mood. His sons, whom he once loved, are, most of the time, an irritant. Occasionally, he seems to enjoy seeing them briefly.

I'm so tired of hearing everyone say he needs counseling. Well, no kidding? But I can't pick him up and carry him there. He refuses flatly and it's not going to happen. I've even tried to get him to leave until he can impersonate a human being. Again, he's not budging. I'm stuck with him, or I'm forced to leave my beautiful home which is a comfort and a haven to me. Plus I don't have the income to pay rent or a house payment and all my other living expenses. I'm not physically well enough to stand the financial stress on top of everything else.

My question, again, is: do you know if there is an average number of years that men stay in this Twilight Zone? Also, do any of them, as far as you know, ever get stuck and just stay there? Does midlife crisis always pass? Jim Conway's book says 3 - 7 years. Another secular author says 6 months - 2 years. From your experience, what do you think? My husband just turned 50 and I know he's been in mlc for at least 3 years, probably as long as 4.

Thanks for allowing me to vent. I know you've been there, but every situation is different. Every pain in life doesn't boil down to a lack of self-esteem. My self esteem is high, but my heart still aches.

Sooooo Tired

P.S. Mike, I hope you don't consider this "flaming". I want to be courteous.


ST--No, I don't think you're flaming, and venting is sometimes a really healthy thing. One of the hardest things in life is when we do all the right things for people and they still don't change. I guess that's what God puts up with (to some extent) with all of us. Uh? --Mike


Hi, It was so rewarding to find this site.I am 40 and my husband is 41. We have been married 22yrs. this month.He started his midlifecrisis last year. We have made progress up to this point. I have a son who is 18 and going off to college in the fall. It sure has been hard on him to.If someone would have told me about this when i was younger i would have laughed in there face. We have had a good marriage up to this point. When i felt somehting was going wrong though i had no idea how long and how deep it was going to get.Wow what a shock! My husbands affair was online. I thought oh my god how sick. They did have some phone contact and were going to meet but thank god he woke up a little.I found a love letter one day and thought my eyes were playing tricks on me.It ended up like so many of your other letters from people about what he thought he wanted and wanted to feel young again. She was younger but married also.He also told me it bothered him about our son leaving. And of course the job stuff. Which i still hear about today.Time and learning were my key factors. And making him talk to me alot. Really getting him to open up. We are still not out of the woods yet but we both are still working hard.I always thought this would have been the best part of a marriage when your kids are leaving and you can turn to your spouse and finally reconnect as a couple and start doing all the things you have always dreamed about. I'm hoping that it still can come true.



Me too, Kim--Mike

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Feb. 9, '98

Best years my ass !!

I hate my life, my wife makes me crazy. I don't want to buy a Porshe, or chase young chicks. i just want peace of mind. Does anybody else feel the same way ?



Women in their thirty's, forty's and fifty's should be aware that there are many men who play a "Game", I am told for the fun of it, which is quite cruel. They come onto married women, attempt to get involved, and from whatever involvement occurs they try to achieve their goal. The goal of this "Game" is to break up the women's marriages. I have been a victim of this game. Later a decent young man who did not know this, shared this information with me to warn me not be taken in!! Too late!! It is my belief that the man perpetrating this con is after money as well. Also, I believe there may be betting among the men to gain monetary benefit. My family was hurt by what happened. Blessedly, my husband and I have worked things out and are have celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. So women beware of the attentions of men outside your marriage, especially young ones.--Wiser Now

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February 13, '98

My husband and I have been in the process of 'rebuilding' our marriage---after the discovery that he had been involved in a cyber- affair for several months. Our marriage had never been challenged by this kind of deceit, betrayal of trust and ego-driven addiction. The very fact that NONE of it made 'sense' (we are considered an 'attractive couple' and the woman he was 'involved' with on-line----was NOT the kind of woman he would be physically attracted to 'in-person'....and outside of the cyber-sex and flattering compliments they would exchange on-line..... there was little they had in common (he claims, she aggressively 'went-after him' after meeting on-line---playing backgammon).

It appeared, that once this was 'exposed'.....he acted like a young boy caught 'doing something VERY wrong'----and was very ashamed, remorseful and embarrassed---that he had an active role in this interlude.

His on-line contact with her, was supplemented by simultaneous PHONE contact....phone pager and cell phone communication, etc.---it was amazing...that he did NOT lose his job----NO work was being done for months !!!!

I have since found out----that the woman he was 'involved' with.... DOES THIS STUFF ON A DAILY BASIS WITH OTHER MEN !!!!! ---and that, at one time...she has had THREE pagers, three cell phone numbers and FIVE on-line accounts each under a variety of names....(the one she used with my husband----was her maiden name...and hadn't been in use for over 20 yrs !!!).

When my husband 'ended' their affair....she responded with, "I'm NOT ready to say good-bye...and I've got NOTHING to lose---since I've been planning to leave and divorce my husband, anyway." (She has two teens from a previous marriage---her second husband is apparently a far better parent to those teens---than she is, their mother....) and his colleagues are WORRIED about him.

This has been a PAINFUL lesson for my husband and I to deal with.... and I would spare another human being from this kind of anguish..... Please WARN your audience----about these kind of 'destructive demons' out there in cyberspace.....who have NOTHING better to do with their time.....than destroy the marriages of others...and although, my husband and I will survive this---and be stronger and even better as a result of this 'odd----but not recommended-catalyst'....I'm sure my husband was not her first---nor will he be her last 'candidate.'

Evelyn in San Diego

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February 16, '98

My husband of 20 years and I are in the midst of what I think is a midlife crisis. I read "His Midlife Crisis'" and I think this is exactly what is happening. After several months of feeling he was unhappy , though he said he had nothing to say, I finally insisted that he talk and he said we had grown apart and were different. He said he cared for me and respected me , but that he was not "in love" with me or attracted to me. I was crushed and devastated. We have started seeing a counselor, but I'm not sure he will continue because he didn't think it would help any even before he went. I think he is emotionally,. if not physically involved with someone else.We have not had sex in two months. I have become distrusting. He is vague about where he goes. I'm trying to be patient. I love him very much though he doesn't think I do. I am scared he will leave and also wonder if he will ever resolve this if he doesn't. ( He's 43,I'm 44 , son 12) He says he has no plans right now. I don't know what to do except to just continue like we are. We both have decent jobs. I want us to try to work through this. We have had so many good times and done lots, but he seems so unhappy. He says this is not a whim or spur of the moment feeling, but he has felt this way for a while. Is anything I do going to make any difference?

Unsure and in limbo.

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February 20, 1998

How do you know the difference between a bad marriage and mid life crisis? My wife has no interest in sex and is an uncompromising perfectionist when it comes to everything. I have helped with the kids, the house and everything else. Nothing I do is good enough. She could care less about anything but her own things like cleaning the house, her job etc. We have 2 wonderful sons and without them, I would be gone. With so many divorces, they all can't be because of midlife crisis. I would love to have someone else because then I would at least feel wanted for a period of time. I am always home on time, do things with my kids, don't drink or gamble and it's as if I am the devil himself. Once my kids go to college, I am gone. Unsigned in NJ

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February 23, '98

Hi. It's me again. I originally wrote looking for answers for my own erratic, out-of-character, unexplainable, and seemingly selfish behavior. What brought my inexcusable behavior to light was the discovery that my husband was having an affair. After coming upon this web site (which has been a godsend in helping me cope), I have seen my husband described over and over and over in many of the letters and articles...although he has made it very clear that we're at this point now because of my selfish behavior over the last three years. In any case....I am still looking for answers for my behavior. I have checked every web site imaginable...from menopause to depression to MLC. My husband is convinced that I am just a person who needs fun and enjoyment in my life as a top priority, I have no goals or aspirations, have done nothing to help him achieve his goals and aspirations, and so on, and so on, and so on. And I do understand his point that behavior speaks for itself and my behavior over the last three years would indicate that....but the last three years totally contradicts all I've done and how I've lived before that. (just a recap....I am 43 years old, he is 40; we have been together for 6 years, married for three.) So here are my problems that I would like some input regarding: 1). My goals and expectations have changed many times over the years due to circumstances and self discovery. For example, I always wanted lots of children.....and then after having one, realizing all that was involved, and discovering that I worried too much about every little thing, I realized that that was unrealistic for me. Isn't it normal for a person's goals and expectations to change or am I wishy-washy person that just doesn't know what the hell she wants? Aren't the standards for setting goals different for men than for women? So when he grills me for answers to what my goals are in life....the only answer I can come up with as my top priority that has been a constant goal throughout my life is to be in a relationship where there is love and respect flowing in both directions. And once in that relationship that the goals and dreams of the person I love would be what would make me happy. He looks at me as if I am crazy and worthless to have no higher dreams and aspirations than that or as if I'm lying. So I need to know...is there something wrong with me in feeling that way? Isn't that how women...especially from my era.... were raised to be? Are we incompatible (as my husband seems to feel) because I do not have separate goals of my own that match what his are? Wouldn't it seem that we would be more compatible in that I have no dreams or aspirations that conflict with his? 2) I realize that 6 years may not have the foundation as those long term ones described in your letters....however....what is the proper path to take? To realize 6 years down the line that "maybe this isn't the woman of my dreams" and move on; or to love for better or worse......and work on the "worse"? Especially since I am more than willing to work on my "worse". And is working on your "worse" changing who you are? Because my husband feels that people can't change who they are and if they try to that they would be unhappy....leading us back to where we are right now since he is convinced that my last three years behavior was just an indication that I am not happy in the relationship with him. Because exactly what did the "commitment" made with marriage vows mean? Commit while all is going smooth and give up when the going gets rough? 3). My husbands main concern is that if we can't come up with answers to "'Why" what happened did happen, that it cannot be corrected and therefore could happen all over again. He will accept no unreasonable explanations like menopause, MLC, depression over caring for my mother and raising a difficult child, etc. Counseling is out of the question because he feels that all counselors do is listen and ask questions and that he can ask the same questions....which he has been doing over and over and over...but my answers do not seem to satisfy him. I agree with him that asking yourself questions is how you come up with answers....however, is there not a limit to the answers you can come up with....limited by the scope of your knowledge? Is it possible to exhibit behavior that you cannot explain away? And cannot counselors give you some of the answers that are beyond the scope of your knowledge....or do they not do that? 4). My view of the whole thing was a lack of communication. He never said in clear terms that things were bothering him; he would hint or criticize...I never voiced my problems.....for example, when I lacked any drive at all for sex....rather than tell him that for fear that it may be interpreted as my not loving him....I just shut down completely by withdrawing affection....because it didn't seem like the two could be separated. Even though I did love him and did crave affection. Wouldn't that have nipped this in the bud if I had just openly said how I felt at the time instead of letting him draw his own conclusions about my withdrawing affection? Which he concluded to mean that I didn't love him. He feels that the lack of communication is too simple of an answer....it must go deeper than that. ( I have since researched on a woman's low libido and found that it is a normal occurrence....because that in itself bothered me greatly at the time since I always had and still did enjoy sex with my husband....I couldn't understand not feeling up to it myself. I might add that my husband does not accept this as being a normal occurrence in a woman.....it had to be because I didn't love him) 4). My husband claims that he still loves me. Isn't that the key element necessary to overcome this? He seems to be fighting it by always coming up with negative reasons for why this happened and why it probably won't work. Reasons like "we're incompatible" or "we want different things out of life" etc. 5). Although he does claim to love me, he claims that the "passion" is gone. Isn't it normal for the passion to die if it's not worked at and is it possible to get it back? 6). And finally.....should I view my marriage as doomed by accepting what my husband thinks is his logical way of thinking or is he now going through MLC?

The only optimistic thing is that my husband has put his affair on hold and has given the appearance of being here trying to work this out. However, I feel no deep affection from a man who was the MOST affectionate person I had ever met, we go for days in limbo saying nothing and then when we do, it always ends up in a screaming match because we just can't seem to agree on anything , and the longer this goes on....the harder it seems as though it will be to overcome. It has been six months since the discovery of the affair and I can feel the passion dying out of me because I feel beaten down and have very little self-esteem (which I believe was half my problem during my three year behavior problem). I cry all the time over things that I would have never blinked at before, I find joy in NOTHING, I have NO drive or ambition to do anything. Am I still going through something or is it the possible end of my relationship making me feel this way? Or maybe, a little of both? I might add, that although the affair cut deeply to the bone and I believe may have a lot to do with my husband is being so resistant to working harder at this (since he has now seen that he found love and affection somewhere else and has someone to compare me to in pointing out all my faults.....when I offered to work at my problem areas...he said "why should I be with someone who has to work at it when I've already found someone who IS all the things I'm looking for?"), I have been able to get past it because I know my husband is a person who needs love and affection and, plain and simple, I just wasn't providing it....for whatever the reason. I know that all of this is a lot to absorb and comment on....but ANY input would be greatly appreciated and would certainly assist in my working this out. Quite honestly....if I get no response, just getting it all out in print has helped because now maybe my mind won't be in overdrive with all this running through it. If only I could put my mind on "pause"!!!



Unsigned in NJ,

I really understand what you are going through. I have some questions for you. How was your marriage before now? Has it been like this all the time.? When is the last time you told her that you love her? Do you show affection/emotions to her? Do you support her in what she does for the family? Have you openly appreciated her for what she does for the family?

It looks to me as if the spark between you two has been off. First I want you to figure out why did it go and where did it go and when did it go? Have you ever try to find out the reason for it?

I would really want you to find out the reason for the crisis/bad marriage before you even try to find for other fish in the sea.

I really can understand the way you are feeling now. Try all possible ways to see what is that you are missing and what is that she is missing in the marriage. Open up an uncluttered communication line between the two of you. Talk things over. Work on your relationship. However, the pay-off is worth every single moment you spend on it. Unsigned in NJ, "Women also needs to be told how much she is loved and cherished". If you don't do that then you cannot expect the same thing from her. In spite of your doing all this if she remains the same try to talk to her into counseling. Try all the possibilities to see whether you can find the spark that you have lost. If nothing works then as you say you can find someone else who makes you feel you are wanted!

Failure to show affection and unable to receive and enjoy the affection both show poor self-image.


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Feb. 27, '98

To unsigned:

I agree with you 100%. There is no shame or fault in falling out of love with somebody and ending a relationship because of it. The hurt might still be there for the person who still loves...but not the magnitude of hurt that is bestowed to this person by the "coward" who is unable to say what he or she feels in clear terms and act on it honorably. Kind of like they're looking for security or guarantees from the new relationship before they break the news.


March 2, '98

Hello again,

Last time I wrote I was jobless, missing Hawaii and feeling like my prospects for getting a fulfilling career that adequately rewarded me were slim.

Since then I've been back to Hawaii (took my mom with me) and gotten a job with a terrific computer software company with great wages and benefits.

It's not all roses, though. I'm back to doing something I hate (answering phones on a switchboard), and the lady I have to work with is crazy. She's been there for 13 years, is very possessive of her job (which she now has to share with me), and is intimidated by how quickly I learned the job. She totally flipped out on me this morning after being nice to me up until then. She started going off about her daughter being raped and her inability to accept people as they are.

Well, I hate confrontations, and while I stood up for myself, I was in tears (which, when I try to control it, makes it even worse). I left work early, even though she apologized and hugged me and all, but I just started this job, and I feel like I've gone from feeling on top of the world to being back to square one and wanting to quit and run away. Am I turning into some sort of manic-depressive with no coping mechanisms? Is there any way of turning off my overwhelming emotions when I get into these situations? If I can't work this out I fear I may never keep a job for longer than 2 weeks without quitting. I'm on anti-depressants and they don't help. I'm 36, talented and getting nowhere fast. Help!



CyberSue--I've put your question here to see if others have some advice.--Mike

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March 6, '98


While I really have no answers to your dilemma, I thought that it might help to know that I know exactly where you're coming from. I can cry if you look at me cross-eyed and I've usually always been such a held together person. The more you cry, the more miserable you feel...only because half the time you don't know why the hell you're crying. I have calmed myself by convincing myself that it's just my diminishing hormones as I am going through peri-menopause....and even if that's not the reason, it comforts me to put a label on it. And if that is it....then this, too, will pass. I wish you all the best with coping....look at the good things, I guess....I mean, you're in Hawaii!!!! I'm with you! Rena


I'd like to respond to Anonymous...What do you mean by "your wife makes you crazy" and by "peace of mind", do you mean no responsibilities, and no opinions or flack from anyone? I don't mean to sound nasty, I have a husband who is going to be 48 and he's kind of giving the same explanation and I dare not ask him to explain!! (for fear of getting my head bit off...) thought maybe I could pick your brain to get some insight and try to gain some "peace of mind" for myself!! thanks Persecuted in Pgh.



I have been thinking of answering your questions for so long. But didn't get a chance to do it as I was busy with my exams and schools and other stuffs. But I got to it today.

First I want you to stop blaming yourself for your unexplainable behavior. Everything has a reason behind it. As a matter of fact every individual(why man and woman?) think, react and communicate differently. So stop saying that you had a "Selfish Behavior". Your husband has to accept you for who you are and respect you for who you are and he should stop making unreasonable demands and expect drastic changes.

1) you can change your goals due to self discovery but not to circumstance. I'm not seeing anything wrong with your goal. I say you are a family oriented person than a career oriented. I don't believe what your husband says that you don't have goal and inspiration. Why does he wants your goal to be compatible with his goals? Supposing you set up your goals compatible to his do you know what he might say. "You are competing with me." Certainly men do not want his wife to be a competitor to him other wise they cannot dominate you. Either way you would be wrong. Everything boils down to say he is not respecting you by making some unreasonable demands and not seeing you who you are.

I feel everything is due to his new affair. I really don't think he wants to work things out. If he wants to works things out he has to do with mutual respect.

2) The thing I agree with your husband is if you try to change not that you would be unhappy but you would be doing things wrong even the right things wrong. This is my experience. (Because you loose your original self.) Caring for your likings your self goals, understanding your feelings and respecting who you are if he does that then only there is some meaning for the word "LOVE". If he simply says that he loves you then it becomes a figure of speech.

3) We behave and feel differently at different points of time. we would feel happy, sometimes sad, sometimes upset and sometimes depressed. I do agree with you the way we behave is proportional to the amount of stress we are going through. The search for a reason behind behavior allows people to attribute causes to behavior. A behavioral cause could be situational, where a person had to do something because of the situation they were in. A behavioral cause could also result from something unique to person. It seems to me that yours is a situational one if the "situation" is changed I have a feeling that your behavior would change. Depending on the situation the chemical balance of the brain change and which will result in different feelings at different times and hence the different behavior.

4) He is going through MLC and is confused and his confusion is making him blame for everything you do. As you say we can see through any kind of turbulence in our life by avoiding miscommunication, misunderstanding and misinterpreting. If he doesn't want to go to counseling talk to him at least to see this page. He definitely needs help and support at this point. So you are not the one to blame. If you want to see him through his MLC try to find out the reason for his confusion and try to figure out a way to help him through this. I think your patience at this point means a lot to your marriage. Given this situation what best you could do to get the best and desirable results is now the key.



I just located you site today as I was trying to answer some serious questions that have been going through my mind for the last few months. Midlife affairs do happen and do exist. About seven months ago I ran into and old work friend, who had stopped by the old job site for a visit. We had often had small talk over three or four year time span, but I was married and she was in a long term relationship. During her visit that day we gave each other a hug, said hi and I went back to work. On the way back to my office I was shaken, it seems that that brief contact had affected me.. Thirty minutes later my phone rang and it was M, she wanted to know what happened a short while ago, I said that I didn't know but some thing had transpired. A week or so later my phone rang one evening and it was M, since my wife had answered, M asked if she was interrupting anything, after some quick words she rang off, say she was sorry to have called. I called her about a week later and asked if she would be interested in having a drink. We had a couple drinks and she asked me if I was married, I told her yes, and was fast approaching the 30 yr mark. From here on its just been a blur, We started hunting together, making weekend trips and having a great deal fun, just really enjoying each other. She had turned 49 in the fall and I have just turned 56 so we aren't exactly kids. I Went into this with my eyes wide open and now find myself madly in love with her, and still in love with my wife. During christmas was hard on everybody but we made do. Recently went out west on business but it was a week of skiing and playing. It was absolutely great. Contrary to what I've read in your column "this is not a FANTASY'' this is absolute and very real. My wife and I have never had a fight or argument in all our years, however in the last five years she has been totally consumed by here need for her church. She feels that she has to be there every time to doors open, and she has to give her fair share. We have has many discussions about this and it always ends up with nothing being solved, while on the other hand M, asks nothing of me but the time we spend together and someone to listen to and be with. She never wants me to get a divorce but only asks that I love her and care for her. Some times when i'm with her I feel the need to leave and sometimes when i'm home I want to be with M. Everyone involved here is a professional and live with decent incomes, so no problems concerning finances come into play.. My point is that I really care about two completely different women and don't want to lose either, but I feel that I'm in the middle now and don't want to see anyone get hurt. I feel that in the long run I will be hurt but at this point I don't care. I'd appreciate some insight on this....GT


GT--I think you will end up hurting yourself, plus both of the other women. I know you don't want to hear this, but I've seen it too many times. But let's see what others think. I'm putting this on the Forum so you can get the feedback of others.--Mike

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March 9, '98


In my opinion, the difference in the love found in an affair and in a marriage is that the love in an affair is baggage free. Both parties are on their best behavior, there's no past, no commitment to make you feel "trapped". Your time together is limited so without an effort, you make the best of your time together. Usually the lover is unattached elsewhere, so will make no demands. You live apart, so he/she can save some of the ugly behavior that we ALL exhibit at times for when he/she is alone. The love for your marriage partner on the other hand comes with no secrets, nothing hidden. It started out as the same feeling that the love in the affair produces but through the years goes through ups, downs, boring times, etc. and although the love is still there, it becomes diminished in its intensity unless you work at it, which most couples do not do. Sometimes, without work, it just becomes a sense of respect and caring for each other without the passion. Being as how you still feel love for your wife, I am convinced that were you to leave your marriage to commit solely to what is now just your lover.....this relationship would soon become the same kind of love you now have for your wife.

Rena Niagara Falls, NY



Thank you for devoting so much time and input to my rambling letter. Everyday produces new revelations and new circumstances as my husband & I try to rebuild. I think he is still at the point of determining if it is worth working at. Last night we both agreed that we can't imagine living without each other, but he is concerned because nothing feels the same. Can it be expected to feel the same? Isn't there the possibility that it could be better now that we aired our problems with each other? Rena

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March 13, '98


Thanks for your response. Rebuilding everything you both have lost takes time and effort. Please hang in there. As long as you love each other nothing seems impossible.

Now the key is believing yourself and having faith in your "love" matters the most. As I told you avoiding miscommunication misunderstanding and misinterpretation you can overcome any kind of turbulence in life. Keep me posted on everyday improvement. I keep my fingers crossed for you.

Please "Be patient". I'm positive things will work out for you. If you need to talk about your feelings think always some one is there on this page.

Rena I know you are hurt by all this. But if you work on your relationship and want to save your love pick up your husbands turbulence, and soothe. Rena when one of you is overwhelmed, depressed, confused, exhausted or hopeless you have to show that he/she is not alone, and is loved and cherished.

I'm pretty positive that everything will feel the same after a while if both of you work at it. He has agreed to work at it that is a positive sign.

The best thing you did is airing your problem. Now you can also count on this page any time. You need lot of support and strength from others also to deal with this. And you are going to deal with this.

I liked your words to J.S.A and I have nothing better to say than that.

Good Luck


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March 16, '98


The feedback from you is so important for me as how it is going with both of you since a friend of mine is feeling the same away. She still loves her husband but she feels from his side no emotions/passion is left. But her husband says he still loves her. But nothing seems to be the same. So I appreciate your feedback as how you are dealing with yours. Does each day is making any difference between the two of you?


March 20, '98


The way you can pickup your husbands turbulence is by reaffirming your love for him, your desire for him, your attraction to him. Tell him and show him that he is the most important person in your life in every possible way. Rena, do it without smothering, clinging or demanding that he reciprocate the feelings to you.

Don't make any demands during his MLC he might go back to his affair and your relationship will not survive instead try to follow the things in the first paragraph in which case you can save your love and your relationship.

Give plenty of time I feel then everything will fall back to where it was in the beginning.

Good Luck.



I suppose I have a few comments more than a question. First I want to thank you for your insightfulness into such a difficult subject. My husband is going through this right now. An old girlfriend from 1960 called him and he hasn't seen her for 30 years. She called December 2, 1997 and on December 12, 1997 he moved out. He has told me he loves me very much but he loves himself more. Your answers have answered some of my questions. Such as how long this will maybe last. I also have not been in contact with him at all except when he calls me. You reinforced that I was doing the right thing. Money is about to become an other issue for him soon. I have had a lot of insight into the situation and have been able to maintain joy throughout. Doesn't mean I am always happy about the situation, but I am secure in myself and in God. In September 1998 I will be speaking at a Christian women's conference. This is the title: MAINTAINING JOY THROUGH BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS. I feel like I'm maybe an expert. Thanks again,

"Micky" from Missouri.



For the last six months there have not been good days and bad days. More accurately, there have been not-so-good days and bad days. As yesterday was one of the bad days, it was just wonderful to log on to this web site and find that somebody had me in mind. My sincere gratitude to you. My husband and I go for days as though nothing has happened or as if nothing is wrong. But it's just going through the motions. You know, a kiss without feeling, a smile with no warmth, etc. And during these days, my mind just races trying to figure out what happened, why it happened, why it can't be fixed. I yo-yo back and forth from wanting to give my all to put it back together to wanting to give up. And I'm sure my husband is experiencing the same feelings Some days I'm sorrowful and blame myself and other days I'm resentful and unforgiving And then after so many days of this, we talk. Most times it turns into what seems to be a power struggle or battle to prove who is right and who is the injured party. But with the passing of time, we have lately had some quiet, understanding talks....but always end up with the same conclusion. That the passion is gone and nothing feels the same to my husband. Every time we talk it seems as though I am presented with a new problem there is with me or some other statement that cuts me to the bone. Last night I was told that my husband used to love me so much that he would lay down and die for me, but now he still loves me but would no longer lay down and die for me. This has led me to NOT want to talk anymore and want to just let it go. He is aware that I have searched the web finding sites like this one for help and answers. Last night's discussion ended up with him berating me for visiting these sites because (in his words) the people who use these sights have no life and have nothing better to do with their lives. Although, sites such as these have not helped my marriage in any way, these sites and people like you have helped me through this very difficult time. I am so appreciative. With each passing day, I am able to think a little more clearly. I have been able to shift the shock, devastation, loneliness, and fear to acceptance of whatever happens. I am a firm believer in the adage that where one door shuts, another door opens. It's just a little harder to take when the door is slammed....if you know what I mean. Again, my sincere thanks for your concern and your presence. You can't imagine what it meant to me to sign on after a bad day and see your letter addressed to me. It lets me know I'm not alone. And again, I ask...is there ANY relationship where the initial passion remains forever? And once it is gone, can it not be replaced with something newer and better?


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March 23, '98


My day is beggining logging on to this site (responding you). I want you to tell your husband today that people visiting this site are as busy as he is. I have a full time job, a school to go and have a family to take care and pet to take care. Inspite of everything I'm really making some time to visit this page to show some compassion provide some input to people who visit this site. I'm positive people will not visit this site if they have had some support/ understanding from where they supposed to get. Atleast this page or people from this page will show you some direction to move on. Don't even get worried if you are berated/criticized for visiting this site. I'm positive he would not have told you such things if he hasn't going through what he is going through.

I konw what you mean by "slammed door". I have been there. and I also very well know how much you knock on the closed door the door never gets open. We would be just wasting our energy and will be making a fool of ourselves.

There are few things for you to do.

1) you can openly and patiently discuss with him whether he wants to stay with you or go back to his affair. If he wants to go let him go Rena. Holding back him wouldn't help you in anyway. It will hurt you more and more.

2) If he wants to be with you then you have to work things out. He has to question himself and find the answers by himself why it is like this? you cannot really find the answers for him. If he wants to works things out then probably it may be best for you to go for some counselling.

Don't ever get depressed for what he says its not worth it. Have you ever thought of going back to school sometimes it helps. Also Rena I'm writing with my experience bringing a pet home makes a lot of difference to your life at this point. Why don't you consider buying a pet a puppy/cat/bird of your interest. It will fill the emptiness that you are feeling right now. Rena pets of any kind are great, enjoyable rewarding and are stress relievers. One of my classmates helped me move in this direction and I'm seeing the difference in my life so much. If you love pets considering buying one.

In addition to this see what your husbands wants to do with his life. He has a choice to make. If he chooses to live with you then he has to stop criticizing/berating you instead he has to concentrate on working things out. Its not fair for him to make his life miserable and make your life miserable too. Tell him whatever the choice he makes you support him and you will see that he would achieve his goals without interfering.

Sometime Rena if you love somebody you have to let them go if they want to go. "Loving for the sake of loving is Angelic and loving for the sake of being loved is human."

The passion that is gone can be got back if it is worked at. If he doesn't where it is going to come back. Ask him what he wants to do instead of finding who is more injured or who is less injured that is not going to help you in anyway.

I really hope things will work out for you and you will find happiness soon. Keep me posted for everything. Do you have any children Rena? If you have how old are they?

Take Care, Good Luck


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March 30, '98

Lakshmi: My intellectual self is fully capable and in absolute agreement with everything you have had to say and advise. My emotional self is not quite so capable...and when my emotional self comes into play are the times that your advice is well taken and greatly appreciated. I, like you, log on to this web site every day and find great comfort visiting it. I do have a 19 year old daughter and a grandson (I also received a hamster as a Christmas gift) and I try to find joy in them...but I am such an emotional person that it is hard to find joy anywhere lately. As I've said...each passing day gets a little easier. I will stay posted and do look forward to every day at this web site. Your advice and most of all your concern is a godsend. God bless you. Rena

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