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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.
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|April 4, 1998
When I was reading through the Question and Answer of Britt and Doesn't Want To Be Like His Dad... I just felt like sending this article attached. I hope this is going to help somewhat. Mike, would you mind posting this article either in crisis forum or This weeks Column.
P.S. This site has several other very good inspirational articles that the readers can definitely use. I myself is really happy that I found this site.
I'm also a very emotional person like you and I do understand what you are going through. Time will definitely make you stronger and somewhat thick skinned. I know how it hurts when you want to give it all but to see the closed door. You are the kind and giving person here I want you to know that. Rena, God hasn't abandoned you but he has a better idea!.
This is just the test that God is giving you for you to become emotionally stronger. Rena, I also want you to know the only person you can change is yourself. I want you to change yourself for to find some happiness. I have seen you several times you blame yourself but hereafterwards I want you to stop that and I want you to start loving yourself and I don't want you to overlook the good side of yours. I know you have a goal where you want to have a relationship where there is love and respect. To reach your only and meaningful goal in your life you have to climb the steep hills and I want you to work your hardest and best and I'm sure you are going to achieve your goal and I'm positive you are going to find your happiness. Sometimes Rena we have to search deeper for happiness. But nothing is impossible Rena don't call quits. I wish your instincts, your intellect, your emotions, your heart and your mind guide you to achieve your goal as I say nothing is impossible.
I have asked Mike to link a page. Once he links I want you to log on to that page as well and tell me whether it helps.
Good Luck with your Hamster. Rena, Pets are refreshing additions to out bust human lives. It is always nice to go home and to be with them.
Keep me posted.
Take Care Lakshmi
April 17, '98
I have just today found your site. I would like to ask GT a question. Have you been lying to your wife or does she know? You made reference to a "hard" Christmas. The reason I ask is that my husband has been insisting that he is innocent of having an affair for almost a year now. We are separated and he lives in a small garage apartment behind the woman I accused him of having an inappropriate relationship with. He says they are friends, they work together and that is all. My suspicion and constant badgering about him not spending any time with me and not inviting me to be a part of his social life prompted him to leave "so he could think." Some of the symptoms I have read about are so like what he has been going through. I have told him that I am willing to let him go without a fight, in fact I went to see a lawyer when I found out where he was staying. When I told him I went to see a lawyer, he blew up and threatened a fight I knew I could not withstand.(not physical). He calls me now about once a week and we have lunch together. Sometimes we both cry and sometimes we try to talk and feel like we resolve nothing. He feels that he has lost the respect of his children because of me and that he is the victim. I have asked him repeatedly to come home but I guess he isn't ready, he says he's scared. I am afraid too. I don't want him to come home and spend evenings and weekends alone "so he can think." I have given him every opportunity to be honest with me and just let me know what he wants, he says he is being honest and doesn't know what he wants. Of course it is difficult to believe him at times because rumors around town travel fast. No one but me believes him. I have had a very hard time of this. We have been together for 24 years. When I try to explain how bad I feel, he gets angry and tells me how he feels. He is working very hard and has always worked hard to provide for us. He flatly refuses any counseling and I know I can't afford any, although I am so sad that I cry every time I am alone and have a minute to think. I am ready to beg him to come home and just take what he wants to give and be happy with it. After all, I did say for better or for worse! JNM
You're correct, I believe, in saying that one size does not fit all in knowing when to let go of a relationship and move on. However, I do think that your advice to Lonely and Confused is accurate. Her husband has shown no repentance whatsoever; therefore, I don't think that she is obligated to him in any way. She says that she still loves him. If she does, then that is wonderful; she has a truly forgiving heart. But, she may just be mourning for something that's been lost. That is never easy. In fact, it's extremely difficult.
I think that she needs to move on with her life. She should also look to the One who forgave us when we strayed: Jesus Christ. He is the perfect example of a truly forgiving heart.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my rather lengthy letter. During the time that I was "depressed" there was really no reason for it - no losses, no big problems - which is probably why I didn't recognize it for what it was and get professional help. My husband feels that through that time HE walked on eggs about every little thing and held the family together. He says he loved me desperately and only wanted to feel loved in return - and I didn't give him that.
There have been some other developments since that letter, and I should give you some more background about my husband, I'll try to be brief. He is a firefighter (paid professional) on an all male force, but for the last 4 months he has not worked (has literally been home in the house). He has suffered from herniated discs in his lower back for the last 10 years and in February of this year finally went for spinal fusion surgery. He was in the hospital for 6 days then came home for two weeks only to be re-admitted with a staph infection for another 7 days (spiking temps of 105). He told me of his unhappiness in January and the fact that he wanted to leave (that's when he started counseling), but asked me to put everything on hold until after his back surgery (which had already been scheduled for Feb 10). Susanne, I believed that he was depressed because of his upcoming surgery and because of the medication he was taking (Naprosyn, which I ended up asking his doctor to take him off of) and the fact that he is only 43 and feeling "broken" and old. So I agreed to put my life on the "back burner" During the healing period he has recognized that he is depressed and talked to his doctor who has put him on antidepressants (first Sinequan which made him too drowsy, and now Effexor) which he has been taking for about 12 days now. Susanne, I can say that I'm almost 99% sure there is no one else. He doesn't have any contact with other women - he is home all day every day. He calls me two or three times a day just to tell me what he is doing. He lost some weight with the infection, but hasn't changed his habits in any way. His two best friends in the world (men he literally grew up with) have been in constant contact with me (without him knowing of course). They both have assured me that there is no one else. In fact, when they go out - he doesn't even seem to be interested in looking! They don't understand what his is looking for either. They have told me that he is a different person - not the same man they have known for so many years - that there's something different about him. They have both been trying to talk some sense into him - to make him realize what he will be sacrificing by moving out. Other people have commented on how he LOOKS different - sullen and unhappy.
I have come to realize, through counseling and reading up on clinical depression and male menopause, that his unhappiness has a lot less to do with me than I originally thought, but I still feel guilty when he tells me that I let his love for me die and feel somehow that I did.
Anyway, I have asked him to go to couples counseling, but he refuses. He says it won't help and that he just needs to leave. When I tell him that I love him, he always says he loves me too, but he needs to do this. Is there anything that I can do that I haven't already done?? Does this happen to some men?? Do they ever come to their senses?? I'm feeling at the end of my rope.
C in C
Responding to unsure and in limbo, What we are going through is so similar I could have written it myself. We are not seeing a counselor at the present I'm not sure it would even help. So many of the things I have read fit my husband to a T. He is only 34 and I am 33. I am so hurt by all of this. His lifestyle has changed almost the opposite of what he was doing for the past 13 years of our marriage. Our lives have been turned upside down because of this. Is there anything that will help?
I'm curious about something! I've been following this web-site for almost a year and find it very helpful. As your other readers often comment, the stories are all very similar--even down to the phrases that are used during the "midlife crisis".
Suzanne made a comment to "Crushed" which has me intrigued! "Crushed" indicated that her husband says "I love you, but I just am not in love with you". Boy, is that a re-occurring theme in letters or what!! Suzanne commented that saying that phrase "was a bunch of baloney...the phrase has been around for years...and that he (husband) had something to hide.
I, along with probably thousands of other women have heard that phrase and WE examine ourselves to see what's wrong with us...reinventing ourselves to be "more lovable", etc. If he says he is "no longer in love with us", we take it personally and start examining what we are doing wrong in the relationship.
So, Suzanne's "take" on this is different than what I had thought to be true. When a man says this,(not in love with you) what is REALLY going on? I'd like to have Suzanne elaborate on it.
April 24, 1998
Some responses to Karen in Alaska; I realize Suzanne B is a professional counselor but she isn't (unless its THE 'boy named Sue' !) a man and maybe I can shed some light on Karen's situation as I'm also an angry not so young man.... Maybe you could forward it, or post if its applicable ? I have some anger issues and I don't fully know their root cause... I'm 37, male, married 16yrs with 2 children. My patience is waning. I feel selfish more than I have in a long time, I want to sometimes do things for ME, like I've given and given for years and want some for me! Sounds awful, petty and childish (makes me mad!). When things infringe on 'my' time it bothers me, when I don't have things my way it bothers me now. I am frustrated my spiritual life seems to be stagnating. I have a hard time praying, concentrating in prayer- putting my heart into it, perhaps doubting it even matters (when I know it does...) I'm angry I haven't progressed further, faster at work. No, no not the violent rage kind of anger (I don't react that way) I mean more a sad shake of the head and a sort of 'look at where I am, where did the years go..." .I'm (I think) intelligent and more the introspective type so there is always a lot more going on underneath than what appears on the surface. I still am active in sports but now injure myself more often, am stiff and sore, etc. I want more sex with my wife but by her admission she just doesn't have much of an appetite any more... Discussing it upsets her in that she then feels inadequate. A catch 22 in that case. All of them are sources of aggravation... I have more in many ways than so many people, it bothers me that I can't be content with what I have.
As far as men not having the drive to fix it, I think this in a lot of ways is a selfish, self-centered mental regression to a teenage-like attitude about the world, wanting more, selfish motives without consideration of their impact on others or the long term, a 'me' attitude. Perhaps they are so self engrossed they are too busy to seek help, figuring at their age 'they know what's best' and that this IS the right thing, I don't know... We see by the letters here, it is not the right or best thing. Still, I have the stirrings others have acted on, I still have some grasp on reality that the children and my wife ARE the best thing to have ever happened to me and the grass ain't necessarily greener on the other side. Men also, I know I am at times, completely baffled/overwhelmed by complex emotional issues and really have no idea where to begin. I know I for one am pragmatic (an engineer) and I need to break things down into tangible, real pieces and attack the problem that way. This is impossible with people, with ones self, and especially with ones mate where REAL understanding probably isn't happening despite our best efforts. I know my wife doesn't TRULY understand me despite almost 20yrs together and neither me her.... And no, I am not talking about what she likes for dinner or some other superficial thing (a lot like male 'sports talk') I mean how she REALLY feels on some issues, I just get this feeling.... I infer what I hope she feels, I can hope she has certain feelings about something, we can talk about it, but I maintain I don't (does anybody?) know what's always going on inside another... There are some 'secrets' I suppose, that I've held onto for all these years and I get looks from her that tell me -sometimes- that I also don't have the whole story.
So, Karen, what am *I* looking for right now, at 37 ? In a perfect world, and we can work backwards from there ? Well a man (me anyway) wants a woman who's upright, trustworthy, someone worthy of respect and trust, a confidant to share things that no one else knows, a sexy mate, passionate, uninhibited and a source of pride in their lives (sorry, pride is superficial but a reality in our lives). Someone who hasn't abandoned ALL impulsiveness for adult 'responsibilities and commitments'. To still have some kookiness, to be met upon arriving home sometime by a woman clad in a thong bikini who asks "what would YOU like ?" To spend a day in bed sharing, eating, loving, no phone, no kids, no nothing else, to BE somebody else's 'world' like in the old days.... Candle-lit bath and long drawn out full body massages. For me these likes all slant toward the physical, that's a personal preference...Man, predictability is death in a marriage. I LIKE to be taken by surprise by my wife. I sometimes need reassurance (sorry!) that this IS the best it gets and I'd be a fool to look elsewhere. A little goes a long way. Predominantly, right now, I feel there is precious little control over events in my life, kids, work, fatigue, classes, outside activities, all leave virtually NO quality time for me, for my wife, for nurturing that which started it all and will hopefully be there when it (kids for instance) are all gone. I, as probably is part of human nature, am inherently lazy. I WILL take the path of least resistance and I am guilty of not working at my relationship which 'appears' to be healthy. Neglect. THAT is what men abandon when they run out at midlife, I think. We started this together and God willing will end it together, the in between is a crazy ride which we hope, but really don't have, control over...!
Take Care, Greg
Mike, sorrry to be a pest, several posts have really gotten to me...!
I see over and over that men are telling women in the late 30's early 40's that "they don't love them anymore" What the hell are they talking about ?! Sure its possible, but at that late stage either they've been lying about being in love all those years or are denying they are still in love to alleviate feelings of guilt about lust for another woman or rationalizing about abandoning their wives...! Damn it men, get your balls back, these women (as have you) have given their BEST years to you, their slim sexy years, their child bearing years, their fun, unattached, uninhibited years...THINK a minute.... That time for them and you is gone forever, they willingly GAVE it to you, you to them and now you toss them aside for another, for 'fun' ? For a younger woman ? What do you think you offer them, the younger woman, when you're 60 and saggy and wrinkled. She'll be a still pert 35 or 40 and YOU my friend will be looking pretty grim. The shoe will be on the other foot. Perhaps life IS a great equalizer, after all, eh ? You know, what you offer now to the younger woman is stability, power, control, the perceived solution to all they lack, its a sort of aphrodisiac and not based on true love. It will be a good, wild, seemingly right ride for sometime, but like any roller coaster it WILL end. Yes, I have been monogamous for almost 20yrs and I have had some short lived 'infatuations' which thank God never progressed...
What's In Love ? Love has stages. Remember that first, all encompassing, the world revolves around her love ? Its probably gone! Yes, yes that love is gone and *I* wish it was back ! I knew I was in love when I was overwhelmed by this rush, standing in line at an amusement park with my someday wife, that has never before or since occurred. Sort of a melting inside-Impossible to describe. Subsequent dating, progression to other things, was so intense your heart would almost stop. Infatuation. No it just doesn't seem to happen that way any more. I don't think of her every waking moment; work, kids, and so forth require my concentration at times, MANY times... You share SO MANY common experiences, wedding, birth of children, graduations, birthdays, man that IS life at its fullest ! Those defining moments, the times you cried together, the events you'll never again reproduce, can you replace THAT ? Think for a minute before tossing that away for some 'great sex'.
The grass isn't always greener, that's a great, great fallacy perpetuated by our advertising oriented media. "You deserve better" "You earned it" "This is your just reward" and so on, bunk ! Life is a gift, its what you make of it, you 'deserve' nothing but what you build, earn, create. Whether or not you are religious you are blessed to be here by the grace of others be it you credit a supreme being, your parents, mother earth, whatever, you are here by no act of your own but by others. It is then a gift you've been given and should be treated as such... We deserve nothing, we are owed nothing. Our lives are no one else's responsibility but our own. NOBODY makes us do anything, we CHOSE to react to situations in certain ways but nobody can 'make' us do anything, agreed ? We then are 100% responsible for our actions and reactions. Stop placing blame elsewhere. It is in fact YOUR FAULT. And also, your credit when it works, don't forget that point...! So, have some balls as I said earlier. Men by nature 'fix' things, damn sure make every effort to fix the present, give it time, reflect, escape from the current situation to assess things, take some personal-selfish-time out, stay sane, but remember that commitment, that young lady who gave her life to you. This is it, our one shot at life. Ya, I too feel that desperation inside, to make radical changes, doubts, wondering where the years went, wishing for teen aged thrills and lust, to be free again- but I remember that 'freedom' was also awful lonely at times.
April 27, 1998
Thank you for your very helpful suggestions to my last letter. I have already put some of them in effect.
But things are more complicated now -- he doesn't believe it is midlife crisis -- he thinks the entire reason he feels this way is because I haven't been a good wife, haven't shown him enough love, and he wants to leave. He doesn't want to look at midlife books, relationship books, talk about his future goals or anything. He seems to think that leaving me will solve everything.
Is there anything I (or his family) can do? I really don't want to lose him -- but no matter what I do it is wrong, and he is distancing himself from everyone. It seems such a waste -- if he would only consider that overwork, lack of friends, little time with the family, and no time for his own personal growth have had some play in this. I feel helpless, and very sad. Any help would be appreciated.
Hanging in There (as long as I can!)
Some times we do all the right things and circumstances (including people) don't get any better. And that's hard; I know. I think all you can do now is to work on what you can control--your own develpment, times with the children--and leave your husband's needed changes up to him. But I'm also posting this on the forum page; maybe others will have some advice.
May 1, 1998
I am the wife of a man going through his midlife crisis and is moving out of our home for a couple of months in an attempt to "find himself". He's too focused on me and our present household to devote time to himself (co-dependent) and needs this space. I'm having a hard time coping with this. I know it could be good, but I'm afraid he won't return. We've had some problems, but are working through those and have had a resurgence of romance in our relationship. It's painful to think about living separately, to lose the spontaneity, and live a somewhat single life again. He says he's going to maintain some of his usual responsibilities, but needs to be able to do his own thing when he needs to without affecting others on a daily basis.
We've been married for almost two years and have been together four years. This is the second time for both of us and we each have children from the first marriage. Our 5 daughters range in age from 8-18. I have the teens and he has the younger ones. He's 9 years my junior. I went through a MLC in 1990 so I know the feelings, but I need help dealing with his.
If you or anyone knows of anyone who has handled it in a similar manner, I would love to hear from them. I need the experience, strength, and hope of someone who has been there.
Please print my e-mail address and maybe someone will respond individually as well. I'm so glad to have found you. I don't feel so alone in this. Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
Pam in Northern New York email@example.com
To "Broken Heart,"
When I read your letter, I wanted to cry. I, too, have a husband who is going through a midlife crisis of his own (at age 46). I can certainly relate to how lonely you feel and for all the crying you've done. I even had to call in sick to work one day because my eyes looked like balloons from crying during the night.
My husband insists it's nothing I've done. He says "it's me, not you." I love my husband and, while I know he loves me, I'm scared he's going to find someone else during this crisis he's having (he, too, has been going out more often than normal and has spent money more recklessly than he would have ever dreamed of--BEFORE).
It's all so confusing. I'm trying desperately to hang on to what I felt (and still feel) is a good marriage--but, at the same time, I want to tell him to take a hike. The rollercoaster ride is getting tiring. I'm not sure I can stay on much longer.
I decided to get some help for myself. Fortunately, my company (and his) offer EAP (Employee Assistance Program) services. Perhaps, if you are a stay at home Mom (I think you mentioned kids), your husband's work has such a program that you can take advantage of. If nothing else, you'll help keep yourself together. I know it's helping me. Be sure to tell your husband you are getting help for yourself. I think that helped my husband to see how serious this is to our marriage. So far, he's refused to go for any help. I'm still working on it! I think he's depressed but get him to admit he is!! When I asked him if he thought it was normal to go for two years without sex with his wife---yes, two years!!!!--- he said "yes," then became defensive saying nothing is wrong with his libido. So, you can appreciate how I feel when he's headed out for "an evening with the boys."
Hang in there and I'll do the same. My husband freely admits he is in a state of flux and that he's not sure if he wants us to separate or not. That, in itself, tells me he's too confused to make rational decisions. Perhaps your husband is in the same place. My thoughts will be with you. For the sake of your children and yourself, go talk to someone---not a friend or family member. Someone who can listen objectively to what you have to say. You'll feel a lot better for it!
May 4, 1998
GT to JNM
First question, no she does not know. Second I have not told any great lies to her. To Mike: thank you over the last two months everything has cooled down and we still see each other but, as M says we are now confortable with each other and there is no urgency involved. This weekend my wife is gone on a trip , M has gone on a trip and I,m here just evaluating the whole situation. Last week I had forgotten my wifes birthday and M reminded me and I was able to correct the situation. I see the involvement with M winding down as much as I hate to say it, but in the long run I will end up much happier, and hopefully no one get hurt. At this point I know in my heart that I will always care for M and alway be in touch with her till I die, but then again I, and I alone will live with it, with the pain of loss and the love for M and my wife. Life is complicated but liveable
May 8, 1998
My husband of 20 yrs started acting strange about 6 months ago, 1 month ago he told me he wasn't in love with me anymore but he would always love me. He moved out and moved in with the woman next door, who just happens to be everything I wasn't. For the first 2 weeks he would spend the days with me than go to her when she got out of work, well I couldn't take that so I asked him to stay away from me and only come to see the kids. In a month it has went from him telling me he would never divorce me to he wanted to think about a separation to now he wants to be divorced and liquidate all our things including 2 homes within 3 months. I guess I'm pretty confused because he will call when his girlfriend is working to make sure I am fine than he tells me this stuff. I am trying to get on with my life for my children but it's hard with such mixed signals. He also took her on vacation to California which is someplace he has wanted to go and I never wanted to go and leave my kids at home. His girlfriend will leave her kids for weeks at a time. I'm filing for a separation because I have never worked and when he is angry he tells me there will be no money so I have to protect myself and my kids. I do still love him and hope that maybe someday we could try to work on what ever it was that wasn't right. He said he was bored so ...... One Step at a Time
Might I suggest to Dianna Banana, that if she is willing to relocate to the Midwest that she try Dubuque, Iowa. She can visit their job site at www.dubuque-ia.com/jobs.cfm. It's free. She can apply on-line and submit her resume so that it is available to all of the companies participating.
Thanks Michelle Rios--Good Luck Dianna!
Mike: I wasn't really sure where to send this, but I wanted to let you know how much I look forward to being a part of Best Years Extra. More importantly, I would like to encourage everybody to try it out. I was a little lost on my first visit there, but on my next visit, with just a little time navigating around, it was great. I'm sure I'll get better with each future visit and am confident that if I can get around in there, anybody can and they will enjoy it. So, fellow midlifers....hop on board so we can chat and find a little comfort from each other! Ritts(Rena) Click here for more info and a free trial issue of Best Years Extra.
May 22, '98
I just read Alone but Married in Iowa. This could be me. We lost my father-in-law in August, right before that I was diagnosed with a potentially crippling muscle condition. Before I knew what hit me, my husband, wasn't happy with our life, didn't know if he was still in love with me, became emotionally attched to a co-worker, but didn't want to leave the marriage. He won't show any affection, but he won't end it. I am at the point where I don't know how much more I can stand. I've done everything I've read to do, but after months of being rejected, I'm very close to giving up. We are both in therapy, seperately, although we see the same therapist. My therapist keeps reassuring me that the love is there, but my husband just can't show it right now. I, too am married but alone, it's like living with a room mate who really doesn't want to be here but has no place else to go. I'm hanging on by nothing but a thread now, and I see the thread beginning to show signs of breaking. I find comfort knowing that I'm not alone, but that still doesn't warm my bed at night. I feel like I'm married but not really married, but I'm not single either, I'm stuck in some twilight zone. I continue to feel all the love I ever did for him, but I don't know if thst's going to see us through this.
Also Alone in Texas
May 25, '98
I AM A 16 YEAR OLD WOMAN. I HAVE BEEN ON MY OWN SINCE I WAS 15 WITH NO SUPPORT EVER FROM MY FATHER. I BELIEVE EVERY WORD THAT YOU SAY. I ONLY WISH THAT MY FATHER WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE FOR ME. THE FIRST TIME THAT I MET HE PUSHED IT TOO MUCH. I WAS ONLY 12 AND AFTER THAT I WENT TO LIVE HIM WHEN I WAS 14. HUNDREDS OF MILES AWAY FROM HIM. I FEEL LIKE HE HATED ME, WE NEVER TALKED AND HIS NEW WIFE HATED ME. THEREFORE HE DID WHATEVER SHE SAID. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANY ME. A YOUNG WOMAN WHO HAS NEVER HAD A FATHER AND WHO NOW HAS NO MOTHER?
Anonyous--Do you have other adults in your life? What about adult leaders in youth organizations, churches, etc.? What about your grandparents? Have you met them? Would you like to?
Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we end up without the "normal" relationships that others experience. In this case, I think we can find substitutes, if we will only look hard enough. You sound like a young lady that many would enjoy "parenting" if they could get to know you.
Also, you might keep in touch with your dad. You never can tell; we all see things differently at different times in life, and maybe you still can develop a father-daughter relationship some time in the future.
I wish you the best--Mike
May 30, '98
Anonymous: >From my own personal experience, I have to agree with Mike...we see and understand things differently at different stages of life. You know the old saying..."I wish I had known then what I know now". And it's so true. Because of this, you may want to keep the doors into your father's life open. I, too, wish you the best.
PAM: Your letter had a note of familiarity. It could have been written by me. I would be interested to talk more with you to compare notes. I, too, was relieved to discover that I was not alone....hope to hear more from you
Hi Mike, Just found your site and saw so many others that seem to be in the same boat as I feel in. I am 43 and my wife 38(soon to be 39). Last March 97 after having gone on a school trip with daughter, she announced she wasn't in love any longer and had never been in love with me after 10yrs of marriage and 2 children. The last of which was going to start school in a couple of months. She wanted a divorce and I told her go ahead and file I wasn't and she could leave if she wanted, again I wasn't. She had been a stay at home mom for 9 years and a great one. Come to find out she was shown affection by a young worker on the trip and made the comment " I still got it". She went out and bought new under clothes, wanted to be tan and bought a two piece(I had bought her underwear and she never wanted a 2 piece to vain with great figure) Also she started to go out with friends evenings and would eat dinner by herself. She slept on the couch. She then informed me she was going to Texas to visit her mom and sent me and the kids north for Easter. Try to explain to you 5 year old why mom's not getting on the plane, since she didn't.
Mothers day she was in bed when I arrived. We have not been intimate however since March. That last time was as wide open as we had ever had.
She said I was to controlling and father like. I am strong, but open and never once told her no on a decision or a want. I bring flowers for no reason, gifts. Take the kids so she can have time to herself. Never have hit or been abusive. Encouraged her to do what she wanted even suggested she go to school to finish so in the event I was incapacitated, she could survive.
During this time I was laid off in and with her not working feared loosing my home. I asked her to look for a job and she told me she was going to enjoy her summer and that I would get a job. I worked 70 hours a week. Cutting grass, washing cars, odd jobs and consultant work. I was fortunate to get a job in 60 days with a great company.
She told me how she was going to get a job and sell kitchen equipment and leave in July. It came and went. She did take a full time job and continues in it and started in the kitchen sales but quit in January saying it took to much time and energy.
In January she told me she was staying until the kids grow up and then she's gone. Many times she said life was too short and she wanted to move on with it.
I suggested counseling she keeps saying nothing is wrong with her and I can go if I want. I met a great councilor to has said just hang in there. I have taking a verbal and mental beating many times.
She pecks me on the cheek, cleans, washes clothes, and keeps house even want my input on flowers in the yard. She sends mixed signals like life is normal. However I feel like I have a roommate not a wife. I find myself every day considering a fling. I even have returned flirtations with verbal jokes and innuendoes. I know this if I were to follow through with it would only make me feel guilty. I find myself stealing a quick feel when she is a sleep, sometimes waking her, with no response.
When I try to get her involved in a decision she tells me to go ahead and make it without telling me how she feels about it. I don't want to be controlling ,but some one has to make decisions. I find myself unsure of the future so I don't even want to address purchasing furniture, or a car. She won't even make a decision on getting herself a 401k plan started. I helped her open her savings account so she had her own money and independence away from the family cash flow.
I guess I have to suck it up and see what life throws at me. I know a sexual affair if discovered would only hurt my kids and family. Your forum is my way of venting my frustration.
She comes from a split family, is this a result of doing what she grew up with or a Mid Life disaster? You tell me. I'm not perfect but I loved my wife and Kids, told them and showed them, this time in my life stinks.
Thanks for the forum.
A roommate I don't need a wife I do!
Dear "A Roommate I Don't Need,"
I'm not sure; let's see what others on the forum think.--Best to you, Mike
June 1, 1998
My husband is 38 and is has gone through a similar thing to your wife. He has moved out now and lives with a girl who is 25 or so, and wants a divorce. He doesn't think he's re-enacting his parents' divorce or suffering from burn-out (he's a lawyer).... He wants to have FUN and wants nothing to do with responsibility or commitment or reality. He tells me I am a control freak, out of touch with reality, living in a fantasy world: all this while I am the one taking care of the house, the kids, and trying to make life for them as normal and stable as possible while he goes crazy. My counselor says he is projecting: labeling ME with all the things he is feeling/doing but can't accept. Before this (we've been together 21 years) he was gentle, caring, responsible, and very honest. I feel like he's a stranger. He sometimes acts like he is a cornered beast.
I have read many books on midlife, which he won't look at, but they helped me to see that I can't do anything to help him right now. His family is freaking out -- I told them, "Think of him as a 15 year old boy who is doing things you don't approve of: nothing you say to him will matter, so you might as well pick your battles (for things that are life threatening or directly hurtful to you) and just try to ignore the rest of his outrageous behavior." It seems to help, but it is HARD to let go!
I did finally get him to go to counseling with me, and for the first time in weeks he stopped raging and yelling and talked in a reasonable tone of voice -- I felt like it was the first time I'd spoken to HIM in months.
I don't really know what to tell you, except to find a GOOD counselor who has experience with midlife, and to maybe encourage your wife to look at some of the good books out there -- women seem more open to self-help books somehow. Keeping a journal might help her clarify her thoughts as well.
I feel for you, even if this is a "normal" process, it is so hard to watch and experience.
Hanging In There.
June 5, '98
Response to Greg
I've gotta say, being a woman I was very impressed with your letter. You were very honest and upfront. BUT...I've also got to say, when I got to the part where you want all the spontaneity, excitement, body massages, blah, blah, blah. It was quite irritating. I may have misunderstood, but it was sounding like you wanted your wife to be responsible for making all of these "magical" things happen? Up to that point I was really thinking your wife was a pretty lucky woman...now I'm thinking she may be just another one of us that is married to a man that wants to be wild and single again. Do you take any part in having all of these wonderful things happen in your marriage???
I think probably not. D.
Response to Hanging in there
I've been there!!!! I went through all of it for close to a year. A younger woman, etc. He moved out this past March (8th). I did all the reading I could...you know all the self help books and all!!! I did things with my friends and controlled my own life. (letting him do the same!) He called me all the time and it seemed the less I bothered him about anything the more he wanted to be around me. We were actually "dating". My friends all thought this was bizarre, but I had to do what I thought was best for me. Well, he called exactly 2 mos. after he moved out and asked if he could come home. He did and things are really going pretty well...he actually admitted to "the grass wasn't greener". (God, I hate that stupid statement!!!) I know EXACTLY how you are feeling!!! It's really, really , really hard. I cried a lot and did tons and tons of thinking!!!! You've got to pull every ounce of everything you have together and THINK ABOUT YOURSELF!!!!!! Treat him nicely (if you nag and bug him that just gives him extra "excuses".) Don't take advise from friends that tell you to give him ultimatums.. he may take you up on one of 'em. Pray a lot, have patience, (ALOT) and go with what you know about your husband!!! There is a great web site on the internet that I copied and kept reading to get me through all of it. http://cyberspud.com/friends-lovers/midlife.html (it was a life saver!!!) Good luck and remember...Do what's good for YOU!!!
Pulled myself together in Pgh.
PS He's been home for about 3 weeks and we were talking just the other day about two friends who are going through almost the same thing. The guy in this couple is very close to my husband and this is the statement that came out of my husbands mouth..."I'd like to tell him he's going to regret all this sometime and it may be too late. But, I know that if anyone would've told me that when I left I wouldn't have listened !
This is in response to Sammy's post in the forum. I'm "Crushed" and I too would like some elaboration on this whole love/in love thing. After a lot of talking with my husband and a lot of thought on the subject, I believe that this IS something that men say when they are trying to make themselves feel less guilty about something they are going to do (like leaving their wife, having an affair, walking out on their family). I too have been following this page for some time now, and I think that this is one of the most reoccurring phrases I've seen.
I also wanted to comment on Greg's response to Karen posted on April 24th. It certainly is refreshing to hear from a man who can be honest about what men are feeling during this mid-life thing. I am so sick of hearing all the excuses that men have for wanting to go out and have sex with someone new after so many years - because I believe in many cases, that's what it boils down too. And Greg I believe you are right when you say that these men need to grow some balls and face their lives at mid-life instead of trying to run away or escape it. There is no escape from aging - but it is a MAN who can take on these years with imagination and grace and understanding and compassion - and those adolescents that have never been able to grow up who ditch their wives and families for the "pursuit of happiness." I, unfortunately, am one of the ones who lost my heart to a perpetual "boy" instead of a true man.
To "Unsure and in Limbo" and "Hanging In There" and all the rest of you who have given what you believe are your best years to someone you've loved and cared for only to have them decide that they are not "in love" with you anymore - I believe the best years are yet to come, and I, for one, don't intend to let them pass me by while I pine away for someone who just doesn't want me anymore. I don't deserve that, and neither do any of you. All I know is that my next relationship, and there will be another, will not be with someone who is stuck in puberty.
No longer Crushed in Connecticut - Getting Stronger Every Day
June 8, 1998
for Greg- I feel that your letter(s, did you write the one signed -G- also?) gave me a glimpse of what my husband is thinking, and feeling, and some hope that a man can understand what a woman is. We have been married for 23 years, and going through a crisis situation for a year now. We have discussed his feelings at great length, but our methods of communicating are frustrating and ineffective at best. He yells, my mind goes blank. We go over and over the same things. We just can't see each other's point of view. We have come to the brink of divorce, he has had an affair (she didn't mean anything to him, and he isn't going to talk to her unless it's something necessary -they work in the same office.) I think she is the reason for all of this trouble, and he is just not going to admit it. He still insists that there's no reason a man can't be friends with a woman. I say when he has a wife at home suffering over it (for whatever reason) there's a problem.
We have been separated for 6 months, seeing each other for lunch once every week or so. I finally got tired of waiting for him to make a move, and tired of suffering over his relationship with "she's just a friend, somebody to talk to", so I told him I was going to divorce him. He was very angry for a while, calling and telling me this was all my fault, etc. and I refused to try to communicate with him because I felt we had gone over the same ground so many times before, with no resolutions. After a while, he became somewhat repentant, He did not want to lose me and the kids so he wanted to try again. Even though I feel in a way that he is only trying to manipulate me into shutting up and getting back into my corner so he can go about his life and not have to deal with me, I can't not try. He is a good person. He has worked very hard all these years to provide for me and the kids. He has devoted the last 23 years of his life to us.
He has some valid points about problems in our life, but I feel that my failures and faults don't justify what he has done. I'm not an alcoholic, spendoholic, drug addict, adulteress, gambler, thief, frigid, murderess, gossip, or any of the things that I think a person would refuse to live with. I have tried to be a good wife and mother. I didn't bitch about him coming home at 8 or 9, but I did have a problem with him not coming home from work Friday until Monday morning! Now that he is ready to come home, I have to say that I simply don't trust him. I want to so badly, but I just don't. He has lied to me. He has abandoned and neglected and hurt me so that he could seek to have his needs met somewhere else. He has been unreliable and irresponsible. He has had a whole separate life away from me that leaves me filled with questions and fear.
I honestly don't know what to expect from him from one day to the next. He is an alcoholic, but a functional one. He has a very demanding and stressful job, a great deal of responsibility, numerous employees to manage, he is under tremendous pressure every day, and works long hours as unpredictable circumstances arise. I feel selfish asking him for something for myself after the world has sucked the life out of him. He just has nothing left for me after every one else is finished with him. He is greatly frustrated and infuriated by other people. He drinks to calm himself. I understand. I tried so hard when he started staying away from home and detaching himself from us to just let him go and do his thing and not ask for anything. I just couldn't do it. It's just not right for a man to treat his family that way. We live in a small town and I am hurt by all the gossip and talk. So are the kids. We have been through hell this past year. He has too.
We have just said that we are going to try. We have been to a counselor with disastrous results. He feels it's an expensive waste of time and gets angry at having to share what we already know as our problems with someone else. Now what? I don't know how to act! I am afraid if I talk too much that he will get frustrated, he just doesn't understand what I am trying to say! When I say that I don't want to spend all of my evenings and weekends alone, wondering where he is, he hears " I want you to follow my rules and restrictions, or I'm out of here!" I'm a nervous wreck. I am full of fear. I feel that everything I do or say is viewed as manipulation. ( he doesn't trust me either?) He gets nervous if he gets held up at work too late because he imagines me at home getting mad that he's not home yet. I don't expect him to rush home by 5:05 and stay by my side every minute he's not at work so I don't get mad! I would much rather be alone! I just don't want him to neglect me!
Anyway, I wanted to address my question to you because you understand what my husband is going through and I want to understand how I can meet his needs without ignoring mine. I can't withstand that any more, that is what prompted me to try to put an end to a painful and sick relationship, because I felt like it was too late. Is it? I want to put the past behind us, forgive and be forgiven. Trust and be trusted. How can we turn a painful, sick relationship without trust into a healthy one? Can it be done? What can I do? I feel like I am married to a total stranger. I would appreciate input from anybody. Thank you. JNM
Dear Together, Well, I've got to say, you are the first person I have found who has talked about resurrecting a marriage after an affair/midlife crisis mess. What a breath of fresh air! I wish you the very best luck!!!
I said to our counselor the other day that I felt there aren't any good role models out there -- our society is so fragmented that there aren't too many "wise-men or wise-women" to get advice from -- it would be good to hear, as you're growing up, that something like this might happen, and this is what you can do to either head it off at the pass or deal with it after it happens. Or to know others who have gone through it and survived!
I'm actually (finally) enjoying my time alone -- it is so weird being accountable to only myself. Obviously I need to care for the kids, and be reliable for my clients, but the little things in life that I used to do a certain way because he liked them -- I can now do for myself the way I like them. Seems like a small step, but it is really liberating. Even if he came back, the experience is good -- I think he should live by himself for a bit to experience it himself.
The latest book I've found that seems to be helpful in understanding where he might be coming from is "Masculinity Reconstructed." I recommend it. It talks about how the big "wounds" we get from our mother or father in childhood resurface as relationship or other life crises later on, and how hard it is for men to realize they even have feelings, never mind figure out what they are and what causes them! Gave me some insights.
Hanging in There
My husband still sticks to the line, "You never loved me, you're not capable of loving anyone." This after 21 years together and 3 children. At first I got really sad, then frustrated, because how can you convince someone that you're capable of love? Then I tried to think about the different ways people show love and need love, thinking our wires were crossed: ie: if I need certain things and give them in return, thinking I am showing love, but he needs DIFFERENT things, he may not recognize what I'm sending his way.
The long and the short of it is, that I think that it IS a cop-out. If he believes I am incapable of love, it gives him "permission" to have an affair (and blame it on me) and it keeps him from having to try to get back together, because "I can't love anyone." And he's a lawyer, so I'm sure he believes his logic is impeccable!
What do you think?
June 12, 1998
In response to "A roommate I don't need"
Your letter stuck close to home with me. My husband appears to be having his own mid-life crisis and I think he no longer sees me as his wife but, simply, a roommate. One minute I think I should be grateful for the fact that we still sleep together (very often "spooning") and he has never been physically or mentally abusive to me. However, we have not been intimate with one another for about 2 - 2 1/2 years!!!!
My husband has always coped with any emotional issues with humor; and, in keeping with this, will jokingly refer to me as his buddy or pal. This used to be OK by me because I was secure in knowing he could relate to me on several other levels. But now only irritates me because I think he ONLY sees me as a roommate and not his wife. Most recently, he has taken to making comments like "HUSBAND???" whenever I say the word husband. It's almost as if he is embarrassed to BE my husband and finds being married equally embarrassing.
I have a girlfriend who has known my husband and I for years and she has said (on more than one occasion) that the only constants in my husband's life have been his marriage to me and his job. Just to clue you in, he and I have moved several times throughout our marriage, he has had several motorcycles, and he enjoys rearranging the furniture in the house from time to time (which my friend finds particularly amusing!). When my husband is not complaining about his having to "keep doing the same job day in and day out" he's finding ways to escape from involving himself with me (my interpretation, mind you) and questions whether he wants to stay with me.
I, too, have fantasized about an affair - after all, how long can one go without any affection (I, too, get the cursory "peck on the cheek")? Yet, I know it would be an empty experience at best and, I too, would only feel guilty for having sacrificed my own values.
You've done the right thing by seeking help for yourself. I have been seeing a counselor and, after three sessions, she thought I should suggest to my husband that he and I receive some marital counseling. Although he and I could talk about SOME THINGS, we aren't able to deal with the real underlying issues without some help. My husband has been as resistant as your wife.
For the sake of your children, please make every effort to ride out the storm. I know this isn't easy. It's sometimes easier to preach than practice. She's lucky to have a man who is willing ask for professional help. Take care of yourself.
I was " UNSURE AND IN LIMBO" and things have gradually gotten better very slowly. It's taken tons of patience and lots of help through counseling, even though my husband is no longer going. I 've subscribed to Extra and it's great and lots of people share the same problems and give helpful advise. Join us. To No longer Crushed In Connecticut You are right in getting on with your life. I have tried to do the same only including my spouse. I too am getting stronger and wish you well. '
"Unsure and in Limbo" and getting better.......
June 19, 1998
I have been self-employed for the past eight years, until a month ago I found myself having to close my office because of stiff competition that recently opened up in my area. I thought, just as you did that with all my experience, I would have no problem finding a job. Wrong! I have been upgrading my skills, taking computer courses at home and applying every help ad that fits my category, but to no avail. Sure I get interviews, but so do about fifty others for the one job. I can't let myself get discouraged, someday I know I'll find that perfect job.
Thanks for letting me air this out.