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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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|Midlife Crisis Forum for Other Months|
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|November 8, '98
You are only human, we all are, and you are not alone. I too am best friends with my husband of 9 years, I love him very much and we are partners in financial, household, and childrearing responsibilities. I married him because we were so great together but I did not feel tremendous passion for him. Until then, the relationships in which I did had been unhealthy ones. Once married, I spent years trying to spark romance and passion into our relationship and although sex was satisfying, I knew there could be so much more. I never thought, looked at, or flirted with anyone else. Until one night, when that infatuation at first sight hit me. The affair was short lived, more mental/emotional than actual physical...and I told my husband about this person almost from the beginning. He is even being loving and understanding about all this! I am still feeling torn - infatuated with one...deeply loving the other. Wanting to feel both feelings for just one man-my husband. But not wanting to live without that spark in my life.
Anyway...these feelings do fade in marriages and affairs. They cannot be sustained over time and experience. I knew this when I married my husband- that knowledge is how I could marry him...because we already had what most only dream of having once the feelings fade. I was just not strong enough to resist the temptation for passion after years of trying to create it within my marriage. Now, what we had all along is stronger than ever...and we are still trying (only together now) to spice things up.
There are many books that could help (The Road Less Travelled, Surviving An Affair, and His Needs Her Needs). The internet has many sites that could help guide and inform you (Try Marriage Builders especially) about the affair and the marriage recovery. Counseling and Prayer come highly recommended too.
Good Luck to You, Beth
November 10, 1998
I enjoy your page. Could you post the following on your forum page?
A New York Times Best Selling Author is currently doing research for a new book that offers suggestions on how to cope with a midlife crisis.
If you have advice you would like to share, please email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org
November 16, '98
HELP! Need to find a good retreat dealing with midlife crisis for my husband to attend. Are there any in Southern California?
Desperate--Not only do I not know of any midlife retreats in Southern California, I'm not sure of any anywhere. So I'm posting this on this page to see if other readers might have some info. Good luck.
Thanks to you and this column, our 18 year marriage is growing stronger instead of dissolving in divorce court.
I found searched for this site in desperation trying to understand my own midlife crisis and depression. I realized that all the "what about me" and "is there something I'm missing " questions are a normal process of evaluation and transition.
After everything we had struggled through together, I couldn't just leave without trying to make him understand. I tried to make him realize that I felt loved but not "cherished", and that I was the only one who was making the effort to keep our marriage strong. I asked for his help and understanding in trying to muddle through this mess since he has experienced his own crisis roller coaster already. I didn't feel that I could survive that again and didn't want us to experience the excruciating heartache part II. We have already been to marriage counseling with the last crisis but failed to continue the practices we learned.
I made a shocking realization during this time. While I was so preoccupied with my self absorption I couldn't have possibly been giving my family or my husband the love and attention they deserved. You quoted from the Wizard of Oz in one of your columns and I will borrow one too. "If you ever feel you need to look for you heart's desire don't look beyond your own back yard." The grass may look greener but it takes teamwork to nurture a garden or a marriage. We tend to our gardens at least every few days, fertilize at least yearly, etc. and if we kept this in mind regarding our marriages maybe the divorce rates would drop. We plan together to keep this marriage garden in shape because we will only reap what we have sown. I hope others will open their eyes and hearts to really see the rainbows that already exist in their lives and struggle together to make them brighter for each other.
RW--What an uplifting story! Thanks for sharing it.
November 21, '98
Hi, I found your site while doing research for a term paper. I am 41 years old and going through a career change. I was a nurse for 20 odd years and got hurt and can't do it any more. I have gone back to college to begin a new career in computer science. What a change! I have a research paper to do for a class. The topic is midlife career changes. I would be interested in hearing from any of your readers who are/have gone through this process for whatever reason. I would like to know why they decided to change, how this change has affected them, both externally and emotionally. Have they had any problems with age issues in finding a job. What kind of experience they had in school, if they went back for a formal re- education. Thank you. This is a great site, I am sure I will be returning to it. Oh yes, your readers may email me directly if they would like. My address is: CRo1025261@aol.com
Thanks again, Student In the Mountains
I don't know anything about mid life retreats, but I believe that MMI offers retreats for married couples. General info can be obtained at email@example.com
November 28, '98
I have been reading your column for quite a while and have even written a couple of times. I appreciate all you do to inform people about midlife crisis. However, I have noticed that there are virtually no reports from those who have come through midlife successfully. I wanted to respond to your website in order to encourage women whose husbands have suffered severe midlife crisis. My husband left home for almost two years. When he finally came home it was due to guilt rather than because he truly wanted to. At that time he suffered from severe depression and could barely function emotionally. He was able to go to work daily and "fake it". However, once he was inside our home, he shut down and barely spoke for months. He didn't sleep well or eat right and was totally unmotivated. Previously a neatnik, he didn't care about his appearance or the yard which could get a foot high. The pool turned green and the house began to fall apart. He mostly slept or stared at the tv without really seeing it. And he was angry with everyone who wanted any kind of emotion from him, his mother, his children, and especially me.
He has done many things during the last three years that have hurt me deeply. Previously a wonderful husband and father, he spoke to me in ways that I would never have dreamed, and told lies about me to whoever would listen. After he moved out, he broke into the house, stole many items that were precious to me, cut off my bank account, cancelled credit cards - the list goes on and on. Although a born again Christian, he did not attend church and began drinking for the first time in 25 years. He was self-destructing before my eyes.
My reaction to the pain he caused was to withdraw or to lash out when we talked which was very infrequently due to his isolation. Not until I began to love him in spite of his unlovableness did he begin to show improvement. I had to put away my own needs for a while and simply look at his needs. He did nothing to deserve compassion but he needed it desperately. I began to look for ways to build him up, even though at first they sounded silly to me. There was very little in the beginning that I could say that was good. However, slowly, very slowly, he did begin to respond. Now after three years, he is 90% himself. We have begun to communicate and although he is not ready to apologize verbally, he shows me all the time how much he wants to be a good husband again. He doesn't really remember how and is re-learning.
It is not easy to love a husband like mine when he's going through this awful time. However, I believe that is the only way to save a marriage if a man is as deeply in crisis as my husband was. First, they have to go through a process and complete it, and then they must have someone to help them come back. Your pride has to be sacrificed and you end up doing things that are very distasteful and feeling like a doormat. However, it pays off in the end. I am a Christian and I believe that this is the teaching of God. Jesus Christ came as a servant and performed many tasks which were considered humiliating; He did it because of His great love for us and to show us an example of what real love is.
I first noticed very subtle changes in my husband in 1994; he left home in the spring of 95 and returned early in 97. Today he is nearly back to normal. It has been a long hard road, but I trust God that He will be faithful to answer my prayers. I hope that this will help someone who may be in the beginning stages where I once was.
Friend--You're right; we don't hear too many success stories here. Thanks for sharing yours.
December 5, '98
Dear Friend, Thank you for sharing your success story; it is invaluable to me and changed my actions today. My husband of 24 years moved out 6 weeks ago, and we're meeting for lunch today. I'm hurt and angry and not really wanting to do lunch, but your message reminded me that he's hurting more and at a deep level needs me. Maybe now I can be patient today because there might be hope.... Terri
My name is Sue bonner and i am a viewer. My story is something to be sure I was born in 1952 in Burbank Hospital. I became ill and the doctors saw no hope for me. A surgery only done on dogs was tried on me. My bowels and intestines were blocked and broken. They had to piece me together by reading the book with only a small staff,they worked on me.They told my mother i wouldnt survive the night. I did. or the week,i did. Six weeks later,i went home. At 16 when most are starting high school,I was having a spinal fusion while recovering,i watched the first steps on the moon. I was released from the body cast of plaster from back of head to waist the week i graduated from high school.Yes i went to school instead of home taught,I kept my spirits up with a smile for all. I married in 1973 with a baby on the way,2mo.along. It was an abusive marriage but then,there weren't any places for women. Then they wouldnt give me a job if i was pregnant. I had 4 beautiful children. We somehow survived,and i hope i gave them a good homeas best i could. When i turned 40 i had a hysterectomy,and was not recovering well so i was sent to another doc and found the surgery that saved my life at birth,was causing touble now. Dr frank Yusef of saugus,Ca. did the surgery. When he opened me up he said to me later,"You must have a strong faith and God is over you. When we looked inside of you,you were put together all wrong,I should not have had a normal life let alone children.He re-connected me and after 2 monthe in the hospital,i went home. recovery went badly and i am now disabled and unable to walk or work. I missed the growing of my children for 5 years while i was in bed. But now i feel this,i have cheated death so many times,more than i have stated here. I am a Child of God and i have a purpose in life and i must have gone through all this for a reason. I have love in my heart for those who go through so much in life and tell them"there is a reason,we may not know it now but we will in time.There is a need for us all" I teach women of compassionate service in my church,and use my example that we can over-come all things. Thank you for your show and all you are trying to accomplish now.
We moved to Florida 2 years ago on a corporate transfer and are presently having a mid-life crisis and would like to hear from other transferees who have moved to a new culture and climate.....
Marilyn in Florida
December 18, '98
I thank Mike and you for your web page. I found it when searching for career change ideas.
Just thought I might add to the readers that I am 41, male, been married 21 years and things are just great! I love my wife, am the boss and can come and go as I please. My only child has moved out and is doing well at college. My health is good.
And guess what? I am feeling so lost I can't believe it.
So, when I read the questions and answers I thought I might add to the discussion by some observations.
Isn't there a physical base to this feeling? Have we become such a society of victims that when we get these feelings we must necessarily attribute them to a need for a new wife, a new job, and or another therapy session?
History shows that many geniuses had some dry years when they were middle-aged. Maybe this is also (or even primarily) a physical phenomenon common to aging, but interpreted within our particular cultural context. We are in the age of victims, syndromes and therapists......so we call this a "midlife crisis".
There are other cultures who see this time of life as a "great awakening". Our culture denigrates the aging process to the category of a "disease" instead of an honor. This "midlife" is a mark in the middle, with aging as "the end".
So what about the gut ache I have? Shall I punish my own lack of panic about this ache by saying I am "in denial" or other psycho-babble common since Freud?
My gut aches and my lover, (my wife) and I are laughing because it is so ironic that just when we get rid of the kids and get to do the "honeymooning" we missed by having kids so young, she is menopausal and I am "midlife crisis". We are both pitiful and both laugh at this silly condition we find ourselves in....
Remind your readers that maybe just laughing and humor are just as powerful as counseling and crisis management. I am beginning to believe that the stupid things my wife and I worried about when we were 20 (that we don't remember now at 40) will be no more stupid than the things we call "crisis" today at 40 when we are both 60.
My gut still aches, I am questioning everything, but damn it all, maybe all of us ought to laugh and cry more often and just put it off as being middle aged human beings. How about laughing more?
Let yourself off the hook, and let the ones you love off the hook, too. And remember when you were 18 and how stupid you thought it looked when you saw a balding man in a nice sports car with a younger woman. Then look in the mirror. You will know what to do (or not to do).
I ain't got no answers but this: you probably need humor in your life as much as counseling......and the best way to make my guy ache less is to poke fun of myself with that 18 yr old inside of me.
Remember, it is never too late to have a happy childhood.
"a middle aged human being"
Dear Friend, Your story is very encouraging. Especially when I see the time span that you gave your husband. You are certainly a most remarkable person and I hope to be able to follow your example. Thank you!
What an inspirational story you told, Sue. Your life and all that you have endured, yet still remaining uplifted and spiritual, really shows how much we should be thankful for, how much we take for granted and how strong the human spirit is. Thank you for telling us your story. susanne
This would be to the person who moved to Florida on a corporate transfer. Call the "Employee Relocation Council" . I am not sure of their phone number, but they should have their own web page by now. Also, most corporations have a program called "spouse relocation/career assistance". I know that they have these programs because I provide this type of assistance/counseling to corporation for their relocating families. Find out from your husband if there are any other newly transferred families in your area. Get together with the other spouses for lunch or just to chat. See if there is a "Newcomers" Club in your area. Call your local Chamber of Commerce for that.--Susanne
Dear "Trying to keep my family together"
Like Mike I suggest that you hook up with Friends of Best Years. Also, I suggest that you closely review the questions and answers in the Q&A section. I mean, review them all the way back to the first ones posted, not only the most recent ones. You will see that people (I am one of them) DO survive this kind of crisis and in many ways end up better than before. I strongly recommend that you seek out a counselor who can help you to regain your self-esteem, deal with the anger and panic that you are feeling right now, and help you decide when to let go. The rule of thumb is that "you have no control over anyone else; you only have control over how you REACT to it." I wish you the best. Hang on; it gets better. susanne
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