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I've always wondered how "Dear Abby" decides which letters to answer. What do you do when you have a number of equally deserving questions? Well, here's my solution. On this page I'm listing surplus questions and asking you to respond (after all, many of you will have better answers than I do anyway). So here's the deal: continue to send your questions in; some I'll answer on the other page, but many will go here. Also I'll post as many answers as I can here, but some I'll transfer to the Midlife Crisis Forum Page. And remember, you can continue conversations begun here either in the guest registry or on the Midlife Crisis Forum page. (Update: Click here for the Midlife Crisis Forum Page after August 9, and here for the guest registry after August 2).

Notice: The answers on these pages are offered as a free and supplemental service to readers. They are not intended to substitute for individual and professional counseling. The opinions of guest responders do not necessarily reflect my own thoughts. And, speaking of my own thoughts, they are not the advice of an expert but a sympathetic fellow-struggler in this experience we call midlife. I hope they help.

After reading my response policies, click here to ask or answer a question.

August 30, 1997

Q Hi,
It's really difficult to know how to be supportive of a spouse that's going through all the questioning of the "turning 40" crisis. I see his life as successful, he's good and talented at what he does, he has a family, a home, a bank account but.. just can't been to be satisfied... as though trying to meet some definition of success that the rest of us can't see or understand. My father picked us all up and moved us to a farm in Neb. at this stage in his life, my husband... I have to pre-sort the mail or he'll be drawn into "just one more" money making scheme. My mid-life will be hormonal and physical, but why are men so discontent even when they have made something of themselves ?

Searching for the way to be supportive.

(CA wife and mother of three).

A Dear Searching,
Searching, here is one of the essential things to show that you care.

Love unreservedly, be loyal and dedicated. Don't fall apart when you have to give up something, even if it is important to you; instead, support each other and you'll be richer by the experience. Supporting your husband in whatever he does is the way of showing how much you care. Accept that his needs may frequently differ from your own and a little sacrifice, responsibility and obligation come with the territory.

Is your husband not making any time for the family? If he is not then it is really unfair to your relationship. Don't let his income and professional position determine his personal worth. He is not just his work. He has to make some time for the family. Talk to him about that at right time, place and tone and make him understand that you are not expecting anything unreasonable from him.

Give us an update after you talk to him. But don't expect drastic changes it will be a slow process. It's really important as how you convey the message to him.

Good Luck.

TIFYA as Lakshmi

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Q Hi,
How do I help someone that I believe, is going through a midlife crisis.

I met him this past April. He's 43 yrs, divorced, one child. For the first month we spent much time together, then someone from his past returned. We kept in touch off and on. He told me now she is seeing another. He's frustrated with work, six years ago he returned to school, made a complete career change, and he has been working hard to find some sort of permanency in this field. Nothing yet. From what he says, I know he's thinking of a change again, but if he does that, he's thinking that his dream may come true and miss the boat (sort to speak).

I know he's confused, not only because he said so, but you can see and feel it. When I do see him, we keep a distance. When all I want to do is hold him and maybe help release some of the pain. I don't want to push anything nor do I want to keep too much of a distance that he can't depend on me. Then, on the other hand, I've been hurt very badly in the past and I don't want to go through that again. I just don't know what to do. Sometimes I think this sounds so adolescent when we are all adults here (I'm 35), or am I reading too much into this. Any sort of insight to this would be appreciated.

cab

A Dear CAB,
If you have a missionary heart you can serve, heal pain, and help anybody. If helping this man to reduce his pain is the only aim of yours you can just see him once and tell him that if he needs to talk, you would be there for him and he can count on you anytime. Nobody would be able to hear your silent scream. If you feel that you can release his pain you should offer the help.

Have you ever examined your heart in the light whether you are in love with this man? What kind of relationship you share with this man? Do you know what kind of feelings he has for you? Is he completely over with his past? What is the cause of his confusion? Are you afraid to show emotions which may be returned or may not be?.

I feel you are afraid to show your emotions since you are not prepared to take the hurt second time in your life. I see every reason in there. You cannot go on like this for a long time. As you said you are not adolescents here. You are adults. I think you can talk this out. I feel before you express your feelings its very important for you to get to know why this man is so much confused and what is the pain he is going through and what can you do to release his pain.? You have to do this only with a missionary heart and not with an emotional heart. After you are successful in talking to him and helping you will be coming to know the cause of his confusion. Then you can go from there. If he is not over with his past If you think you have emotions for this man it would be better for you to pack your emotions and keep a distance. You have to do this before you get too much emotionally attached to this man. Once attached it is very difficult for you to get detached. One other thing if both of you have emotions to each other and afraid to express then I want you to know that game wouldn't be over until all the cards are played. Don't let this moment pass you by. You don't get back again.

All that I hope is you deal with this as delicately as possible so that he is out of his pain and you are not left hurt. I don't want anybody to deal the things the way I dealt and left disappointed. Great expectations and low realization will leave you disappointed. So CAB, do this with low expectations and great/high realizations. I wish you Good Luck in what you deal and how you deal. Are you married or single? Do you have any children?

TIFYA as Lakshmi

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August 25, 1997

Q Hi,
I have been married for 12 years and have 3 children. I thought I was content in my marriage although my husband has spent most of the past 12 years being a workaholic. My problem is that I have met a man I work with who is also married and has 1 child. We have been talking and emailing and going to lunch occasionally for the past 5 months. I believe that I have fallen out of love with my husband and in love with this man. He is all I can think about. I look forward to his phone calls and his visits.

I am miserable. I am not ready to give up this friendship although I know it is much more than just a friendship. I don't want to leave my husband because of the kids. My husband does not like the idea of my having any male friends and worries about the perception of the other people who work with us. My husband also works in the same building. I do not want to have an affair but feel I am really starting to love this other man. He makes me happier than I have ever been.

Is it possible to fall out of love and in love with someone else without realizing that it is happening? If I had known that this was going to leave me so miserable and confused I would never have befriended this man. I know he cares about me as much as I care about him. I do not want to hurt him either. Please help?

existing in misery

A Dear EIM,
Can you recall at this point the vows you have taken during your marriage? Or have you forgotten? With the other man you have to change your angle of looking at him. Friendship is the best relationship one can have. Friends always give you the moral support, and would be caring and understanding. I feel you have to stretch your right hand with this man just for friendship. If you do not change your angle with this other man its is going to costs you too much. Think about this. Also give a broader thought about your relationship with your husband and try to see what is that is missing in your marriage. Don't hesitate to discuss this with one of your true friends. Open yourself( your heart), your thoughts, your emotions with one of your good friends whom you have lot of confidence. It's not too late for you. You have approached this page at the right time. There are people in this page who help the other people dealing with pain, disappointments and emotions. I hope you will take my advise as a friendly one.

You have written that you don't want to have an affair but what if the other man wants to have an affair? After a while you have to come to practical senses both of you are married. The spouses will come to know and what if the other guy leaves you for his wife and your husband leaves you. You wouldn't have both of them. Have you thought about this.? If you think that you cannot live with your workaholic husband take a decision to leave him and do it right royal what you want to do. You want to have your husband only for children sake and then you want the other man. You cannot have both. If you want to have both then it is nothing but betraying the trust and being disloyal to your husband. EIM we have to live high we cannot live low. Now is the time for you to make a choice either this or that I hope you will make the best choice and won't regret later. I again hope you will take my advise as a friendly one.

Good Luck

'til I find you again

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August 18, 1997

Q Hi,
Over the past three months, I think I have read every book on the subject of "midlife crisis". I also have read every word at this web site and found it very helpful. As a wife of a 44 year old man who is in classic midlife crisis, I am having a hard time holding on. I, like him, have a full-time professional career and also have the responsibility of home as well. He may as well be on another planet when it comes to any kind of help at home. There is little or no affection from him, but he is mildly receptive to my love and advances for intimacy. The word "neutral" or "don't give a damn about anything" summarizes his feeling about everything in his life, except his children, hunting and fishing.

It is difficult when a wife is made out to be the problem in everything. I know that I am a good person and am trying very hard to be loving, caring, keep the home fires burning, be supportive, non-critical, get my own life/interests, etc. I feel anguish from the time I get up in the morning until I go to bed at night from trying so hard. I have to psyche myself up just to get through my own workday, feelings and responsibilities....and then to act like I am in complete control in front of him and act like none of this bothers me. Well, it's an act deserving of an Academy award!

There is advice "out there" that says the wife needs to be loving, supportive, demonstrative and in control of her feelings and actions--to be otherwise will certainly drive him away. Don't be needy!! Yes, a good marriage is worth saving, and people should work hard at it, but this is SO one-sided. I don't feel that I have done anything wrong (I'm not sure WHAT is wrong--he won't talk about it) to cause all this to happen, yet I am the one that has to work body, mind and soul to try to bring it back together.

I am really discouraged and I need something to cling to for hope. I am reading voraciously and also am seeing a counselor for "me strength". It is difficult having so many wildly fluctuating emotions--anger, despair, sadness, elation (rarely), resignation for probable failure. I feel like the price a spouse pays to try to save a marriage during a midlife crisis is very, very high. And it is so hard when you're the only one working on it, or the only one who seems to care. Your thoughts?

Jana

A Dear Jana,
I'm glad you're seeing a counselor for the "me strength." Are there other things that help your spirit? What are you reading? Too many books on midlife, although informative, might be depressing. I don't know exactly what to recommend--everyone is different--I found my midlife salvation in some children's books.

Anyway, good reading is just one thing that might help you get through this. I know there are others strategies (maybe some of you reading this can suggest some) that will help.

And I don't think you should feel guilty for being needy. All of us are. I think it's just the "clinginess" that pushes spouses away.

Hope this helps.

Mike

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August 13, 1997

Q Hi,
my husband after 20 years is acting very strange. he says he wants to still be married but he wants to live somewhere else. he says he still loves me that isn't the problem, the problem is he wants freedom and not to answer to anyone. he wants to still visit and for nothing to change here. I'm really confused. i told him he can't have both and being married means you are considerate of the other person. is this something that happens often. he also there isn't anyone else. i really don't know where to turn, counseling is out he'd never do it. thank you

carol

A Dear Carol,
You say that your husband won't go to counseling. How about counseling for you? A good therapist could help you work through the pain and confusion you must feel. I don't know what to say about your husband's attitude. It really doesn't make sense to "want" to still be married but not to live together. But then people in midlife crisis rarely make sense (I've heard it called "temporary insanity").

Anyway, what most concerns me right now is your own sanity. I hope you will seek some help.

Good luck and keep us up on things.

Mike

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Q Dear Mike,
Can midlife crisis happen when you are really young? My husband is only 28 and I think he is going through midlife already. I am only 27 and we are married for 7 years and have two children whose ages are 2 & 4. My husband is depressed all the time. He says that he needs to get away for awhile and sort out why he is feeling this way. He doesn't want to be at home anymore, because he feels like he needs his own space. He tried to reassure us that he still loves us and that it's nothing that we have to done to push him out. I know my husband is confused and hates that he is feeling this way. He says he doesn't want to hurt us, but this is how he feels. What can I do to help? I feel helpless.

Sincerely,

Sherry

A Dear Sherry,
Your husband is not in midlife crisis, but he is in crisis, and if his depression is constant, then he is seriously depressed. Will he go to a professional counselor? If not, how about a clergy person?

Again, the best way to help him is probably to help yourself. Seek out a support group and do things that will help you get through this, for yourself and your children's sake.

Mike

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August 11, 1997

Q Hi,
My husband is having an affair with a co-worker. We've been married for 18 years and we have two beautiful, responsible teenagers. We are both Christians and I can't understand how this all came about. Devastated doesn't even begin to describe how we are all feelings. My husband has chosen the other woman and has moved out. Within 24hours, he chose her and rejected me and the kids. What I cannot understand is that he was not acting like a man who wanted to leave his family...Can a love for 18 years die so quickly? He insists he doesn't love me...the other woman is also married.

I have a strong faith and I will make it through all this pain with the help and grace of God. Your web page brings comfort to know that mid life crises exist and it does makes the pain a little easier to know that he is not in his right mind. But even that knowledge won't bring him home or make him love me again. I feel like I am in a nightmare and can't wake up. Are there people out there that survived the crisis and their marriages are better for it?

kay

A Dear Kay,
i'm glad you found this forum. i too am thankful for it and have a VERY similar situation as yours. i am "alice" and you'll see my "story" posted throughout. we've been married 20 years and my husband met someone via work (at one of his stops) that he is "in love" with. swears it's not physical but he has feelings for her. he is moving out in a month and moving to another state (she just happens to be in this state). he started by telling me he hasn't loved me in a "long" time. couldn't pin down the date or year, but a long time. that just killed me. all this time i (the kids and family/friends included) thought we had a wonderful marriage. how could he have faked it and lied all these years. it just didn't compute in my brain and kept me awake for many nights. i HAD to make sense of this and couldn't. through my reading and research i've heard that it is quite typical for the "perpetrator" to try and negate the entire relationship. "well, i really never loved you". or "i haven't loved you for a long time, since the kids were born."

kay, don't buy into this. you'll drive yourself crazy. they have to justify their actions somehow. i may be wrong but this is the conclusions i have come to. my husband did slip one night during an argument and say, "i don't know how this happened ! i don't know how it went from something so glorious to THIS!" well, let me tell you, i openly wept when he said that because he admitted that IT WAS GLORIOUS! I'M NOT CRAZY! I WAS HERE TOO THESE PAST 20 YEARS AND I THOUGHT IT WAS PRETTY DARN TERRIFIC! in another conversation he finally started to narrow down the time frame and said, well, i guess i've had these feelings for about 4 years now.

kay, my advice to you, if i may give some, is to not buy into the "i never loved you" routine. give it time and the truth will eventually come out. it sounds like your situation is quite recent? i empathize with your hurt, anger and despair. i too have leaned heavily on my faith and "throw it up to the Lord" frequently. you will get through this! i can't answer your question about experiencing a stronger relationship. i don't know what the future holds for my marriage. at this point, it does not look very optimistic, but i have not given up hope and faith that the God does want marriages to survive and hates divorce. my prayer every day is that if it's His will, we will reconcile. i don't know what he has planned for me or my husband. i have heard and read that couples that do reconcile can have a stronger, better relationship. good can come from bad. it forces us to look deep within ourselves and see where some of our failings might have been. i wish you luck and will keep you in my prayers. please let me know how things are going.

god bless, emily

P.S. i forgot to mention one more thing. if you haven't already read the book or heard the tape, i highly recommend James Dobson's "Love Must be Tough". it really helped me put things into perspective.

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Q Hi,
How does the spouse of the midlife crisis affair ever learn to forgive, trust, or accept what their spouse has done. I personally have very strong feelings about infidelity.

Skeptical

A Dear Skeptical,
"To err is human to forgive is divine" if you believe in this quote it is easier for you to forgive. But forgetting is much harder than forgiving. It takes time to forget. Once you loose the trust on your spouse, it takes time to rebuild it. Your spouse may say or do something sometimes that causes you to doubt the trust. Please share that doubt with your spouse and check out the intentions. Again rebuilding the trust is harder. It takes time. You can rebuild it only if you are filled back in with enough confidence and if your spouse promises to be more loyal then if you feel you can believe what your spouse is saying then you can give your spouse a second chance. Everyone deserves a second chance.

To do all of the above one has to think in a broader perspective. To give your spouse a second chance what you feel inside is very important. If you strongly feel that your spouse will learn from his/her mistakes go ahead forgive him. Its really easier to say things implementing is the hardest part. You have to keep renewing the trust now and then to implement any changes. This time your spouse has to stretch himself/herself to prove and to make it up to you.

If you feel you can forgive apply the following principle. Forgive your partner! Forgiveness means, "I know what has happened is wrong, and I have granted forgiveness because of Christ's forgiveness." Now resolutely leave the past behind. Apply the Bible concept: "Forgetting what lies behind, reaching forward to what lies ahead." Leave the affair and all of the misery of the past with God. Don't hold it as a club poised over your mate's head, waiting to pound when he or she doesn't do something that you want. Always remember to forget The things that made you sad. But never forget to remember The things that made you glad. Always remember to forget The troubles that passed away. But never forget to remember The blessings that come each day.

Good Luck.

'til I find you again.

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August 2, 1997

Q Hi,
my husband of twenty-six years changed a lot in the last year, was very much into all of his past failures, what he did not get to do, belittled me all the time, brow beat me over the last couple of months he lived with me, blamed me for everything he felt was wrong with his life. He was turned on to a cult like organization similar to EST by his female boss when he started working there a year and a half ago, went to a seminar, meetings, etc. Their philosophy teaches them self-love, get rid of barriers in their lives, which I guess me and our son were to him.

I know now he has been in "love" with her since he started working for her. He compared me to her constantly and I never did measure up. He left me on June 13, Friday the 13th, how appropro. He lived in a hotel for 2 weeks and then moved in with her. He hasn't bothered to call his son except to yell at him for a nasty e-mail he sent his girlfriend, or to tell him he wants the rest of his clothes, never how are you and mom doing, do you need anything.

I have been a homemaker for the last 26 years, at his request, have no work skills, never supported myself. He hasn't paid a bill in two months, my car is ready to be repossessed, they are shutting my phone off tomorrow, the mortgage is in arrears. How can he just walk out after 26 years and pretend his obligations do not exist, we do not exist? He filed for divorce on June 25, and I am contesting, and will fight for what I deserve after 26 years. He was always a taker, but this last year was downright selfishness on his part. He is 53 years old, what does he think is out there for him? I begged him to go to marriage counseling, his response was "it will cost too much time and money, and in 6 months we will still wind up getting a divorce anyway".

Right now I am sure he is in the honeymoon stage with her, she has been divorced for several years, but they have nothing in common except work, we have history together, a child together. I just want to know if the day will ever come when he wakes up and realizes what he has done and regret it? I don't ever want him back, he has hurt me too deeply with all of his deceptions, living here for all that time when he knew he loved her. He ate my meals, made love to me, wore the shirts I ironed for him, etc. Now he decides he doesn't want that kind of woman, he wants an independent career woman, he wants to live on the edge, take risks, go skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, etc. He wants to live before he dies, he wants to 'feel again'. He doesn't love me anymore, his son is a miserable person, and we are both too needy for him, these are his own words. Where is his head at?

Questioning

A Dear Questioning,
Yes, there comes a time when reality hits and it will come for your husband as well. The trick is that it may not come in the timeline that you think it will. He sounds very much in denial and is basically living a fantasy. The irony is that if you HAD worked outside of the home all these years, you would now be hearing that you were never there for him, always at work. As crazy as it sounds, that is how this goes. You cannot win either way. This is something that he has to experience, unfortunately at you and your son's cost, himself.

You need to immediately see an attorney so that you are protected and your car doesn't get repossessed. Believe me, at the stage that your husband is in right now, it would not bother him. They totally lose sight of any reality and basically are able to "pretend" that the past wasn't there. All of the things that you describe that he does definitely fit into midlife crisis.

Let him go for now....or maybe forever. Focus on yourself. Join a women's group, see your pastor and above all....don't you feel guilty. Call your local community college and ask what programs they have for "re-entering" women like yourself. There are many programs out there for you. Also, check in with your local job center.

Above all, you need to know that you DO have skills, you just didn't get paid for them. There are also counseling programs (individual) that have money set aside for situations such as yours. You may be eligible for "re-training" and counseling programs without fee. The hard part is that you have to reach out and contact these people/programs. Do that for yourself. Do that for your son. Speaking from personal experience and from a professional point of view, time will put things back in perspective for you. You may in fact discover someone missing for many years.....yourself! Good luck!

Susanne

For another response to Questioning see the Midlife Crisis Forum page.

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Q Hi,
I know this sounds strange, but my husband of 9 years is only 30 and I think he's going through a midlife crisis. He has always been the perfect spouse- we're best friends,etc. but now he says he thinks he wants to be alone. we moved in together right from our parents homes, so he has never lived alone. His career has grown by leaps and bounds, and he is at the level of most 40 yr. olds.

We are seeing a counselor and he says M. has just peaked early and set off this crisis . we are discussing moving out and separating for awhile. I will do whatever is necessary to save this marriage- I have gotten advice to "give him enough rope to hang himself" -cut off contact with him and let him see what its like to be alone- and he will eventually come to his senses. Financially, that is not possible, but I have entertained thoughts of giving him a good dose of his own medicine. What should I do?

In Pain

A Dear In Pain,
Don't lower yourself to his level by "giving him a dose of his own medicine". Stay on the high road. However, don't cater to his every whim. You now need to focus on yourself.

Have you seen the counselor for individual sessions? You probably should do so. Ask the therapist for some concrete suggestions on how to better cope/deal with this situation.

You do not mention, are there children involved? What does the family, his and yours, have to say? How old are you?

Don't give up, reality will set in soon enough, especially when your husband finds out that it is not that easy to leave a marriage. Did you speak with a lawyer yet about what rights you have? Do so immediately. Guess that's it for now. Good luck.

Susanne

For more from In Pain, see the Midlife Crisis forum page.

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Q Hi,
I am a 40-year-old male with a beautiful wife and a great 9- year-old daughter. Marriage for me had been great until about 6 months ago when I almost got myself involved with another woman.Nothing ever happened between us but I started feeling emotions for her. Luckily she got a transfer (we worked in the same job together). After she left I went through an intense period of guilt and depression because I know I love my wife dearly. Now I think most of the guilt is gone but I have doubts about everything in my life.

I look at my wife strangely and feel out of place in our marriage. I keep thinking that there has to be more to life than what I have now even though I was always happy with my life before. I have doubts about ever getting married in the first place and the thought of it actually scares me. I feel like I want to run away from my responsibilities even though I know It would be a mistake and I would regret it in the long run. I feel like I am in such a rut but I don't know what to do to change It.

I have been reading about midlife crisis and I think I have become a classic example. My wife and daughter are the most important things in my life but I feel as though I want to run away from them. I thought I was going crazy and didn't know what was happening to me until I read some of the question and answer columns about this subject. Even though, I still feel strong crazy emotions to do things like run away or have an affair.

What's wrong with me? Am I having a commitment problem after 11 years of marriage or just going through midlife crisis. I don't want to do anything rash or compulsive but sometimes I feel like I'm going to go crazy just being married right now. We are going on vacation next week and I'm hoping that will bring me a little peace of mind and maybe help me focus back to the important things in my life which is my family. I don't want to lose what I have but I cant stop feeling a sense of dread and dissatisfaction with my life right now. Help!

Confused

A Dear Confused,
it's interesting to hear things from your perspective. i am a woman who is dealing with what i believe it my husband's mid life crisis. he just turned 40 and we hit our 20th wedding anniversary and he has gone off the deep end. wants to move to another state and be a rancher, and although painful, is willing to leave our two children behind, pledging to see them on weekends. he won't consider marriage counseling and wants a divorce but still wants to remain in the house until then.

i admire your honesty about your feelings. hang in there! you are not going crazy. i have done nothing but read and do research on the topic and there is a lot of good information out there. try jim and sally conway's web page, if you are into christian counseling. a lot of good suggestions and information there. it's good to hear that you still feel love for your wife and child. i would suggest you try to get some individual counseling for yourself and perhaps some marriage counseling for the both of you. this will help your wife to understand what a painful time this is for you. i so desperately wish i realized the pain and turmoil my husband was going through. now he has turned to someone else and says he's in love with her now. it's the most painful time in my entire 39 years of life.

please spare your family this pain and get some professional help, read, research....sometimes just understanding why we are acting like we are, is at least, reassuring. you are not alone in this painful time. think about what your wife and family mean to you. you have a long history together and i believe god intends good marriages to remain together.

good luck and god bless. let us know how you are doing.

alice

For another response to confused see the Midlife Crisis Forum page.

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July, 27, 1997

Q Hi,
My husband has moved out 2 times in the last three months. He has been gone for over a week now. He is acting like he don't know what he wants out of life. He says he doesn't love me after 15 yrs of marriage. This seems like it just came up over night. He says it has been coming on for about 5 or 6 months. He thinks I don't appreciate anything and that he is working and giving and he just tired. I feel like I have bent over backwards and getting nowhere.

We have an 11 yr. old daughter that is so upset all the time. And of course I'm a basket case. I want our marriage to work and he says he don't know. He even asked for a divorce, but I asked him to try counseling first. His answer was okay we go, but a counselor cant make me love you. Is he going thru mid-life crisis?

How much longer can I live like this? All he does is ride around in his car and I think he is drinking. It almost seems like he don't care if he hurts me and my daughter or not. He just basically has washed all responsibility to us. He is staying at his parents home, and hardly calls us at all. Except during the day he goes in and out of the house. He is Fireman by trade and also holds a second job. He is a very hard worker and I think he works too much. We have seen a counselor 1 time. We go back next week, but I didn't get anything out of it. Help me how do I deal with this? Should I totally ignore him and just let him do his own thing or what? Can this counselor really help us?

Thanks

Desperate

A Dear Desperate,
It is a truly painful time for you. We all are here to pull you through this. The Family is the most vital entity in the world. Fifteen years of love between you two will not fade so soon. Your husband may say so since he might be going through a real difficult time. Whatever the difficult time he is going through you should be there for him as that is the vow you will have taken. You have to get to know what it is that is going through his mind as delicately as possible.

Fifteen years of marriage is not worth giving up. I think you should call him at his mothers place and tell him you called him to know how he is doing. Tell him yourself and your daughter are missing him. Ask him when he is coming back home? Be calm and don't react immediately for what he has to say stay calm until you touch his heart. Your first Goal here is to find out the real reason for his depression. Show him that you are concerned about him with a very low tone as possible. if possible try to go for few dinners out and try to talk to him and find out the real reason behind all this. If he tries to converse with you in a direction where you can know the reason for his depression don't try to react immediately give a patient hearing for what he has to say.

Ask him why he so sad and quite these days. For whatever it is tell him that you will be there for him. You will always be beside him. If he is in a ditch give him a hand to lift him from the ditch if he wants to come out of the ditch. if nothing going on and if he is only depressed because you don't appreciate what he does then it will be the easiest situation for you to deal. If this is the only thing he wants to give up the marriage give him the confidence and tell him that you have always appreciated what he has done inside so far and will try to do more of it in the future.

This is the time you have to be more strong please for your sake and your daughters sake don't ignore him if you want to save your marriage. You can touch his heart only by loving, caring, and by understanding what he is going through. There is nothing wrong in your calling at his mothers place. Don't wait for his call and give too much of gap to this.

I am answering your question with my name as 'til I find you again. I will be sending a question to this site pretty soon under this name.

Good Luck

'til I find you again

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Q Hi,
I am 45 and my husband is having a major midlife crisis. He is 46. We have been married for almost 15 years. We have 2 children 13 and 11. To make a long story short he has left us for an old girlfriend and has gone back to his roots. He is wearing his clothes differently, and combing his hair like he did when he was in his 20's.

I have read Men in Midlife Crisis and Your Husband's Midlife Crisis by Jim and Sally. My husband is the classic! They describe him to a T. I have also read When a Mate Wants Out by the Conways. He was a devout Christian, the best father and husband I could every ask for. I considered him my best friend. He moved out without a note or anything and served me with divorce papers 5 days later. I was shocked.

I have been going to counseling. He left in March of 1996 and then let the divorce papers just sit. Around October he started coming around more and at Thanksgiving time he came home for 7 weeks. He started going to counseling and then the other woman (who is married with 2 children) started calling him and he was gone again. I take one moment at a time. My faith in God is stronger than it has ever been That is the only thing that gets me through each and every day. I still love him very much and believe that there is a slight ray of hope for us because I know what we had. It helps to talk with people who have experienced this same pain. I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone. I know that God is in control and it is out of my hands. My children are devastated. I feel so overwhelmed trying to hold my children, my home and my self together.

He has again started processing the divorce papers, but right now again everything is on hold. I really don't think he knows what he wants. He is living 3 hours away so we don't see him very much. I can't even believe that this man is capable of inflicting this much pain on us. Any advice on anything else I can read or do? Thanks for your time.

Leslie

A Hi Leslie,
I personally know how painful this is for you and wanted to let you know that you are basically doing everything right under the circumstances. Your husband will continue to "float" in and out of reality and probably is also going through a lot of emotional pain. However, at this point you need to always keep in the forefront of your mind that you are not there to "nurture" him. He is the one that is inflicting this pain, and as difficult as it may be for you to stay focused on that, you must do that or else you will find yourself drifting off to "memory lane" and inflicting enormous pain on yourself.

Your kids will be ok. They are resilient, let them know that you love them and assure them that you are there for them, Also tell them that you do not know what will happen with dad and you, but that both of you love them. This will be difficult for you but imperative for them not to feel like they are losing everything. Don't hide things from them, but don't "badmouth" their father. Don't lose your faith and continue going to counseling. It will help not only with passing time but also in you getting "reacquainted" with your old self.

Good Luck to you.

Susanne

________________

Hi Leslie. Just wanted to add my encouragement. As a Christian, I'm always impressed most by those who keep trusting God even when things don't go as planned. I think these people are most like the heroes the Bible honors in Hebrews 11. You are one of my present-day heroes. Hang in there.--Mike

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Q Hi,
I need to know when to leave or give up on a relationship? I'm reading about affairs, "crazy behavior, etc. in this web site. My husband of 22 years is doing very much the same thing. He's de[ressed, blaming me for his troubles, says he still loves me but is also involved in an affair. When does the spouse whose-not-yet-goofy give up and move on?

Need to know

A Dear Need to Know,
I wish there was a magic formula which would tell you that now is the time to give up or now is the time to hang in there. Unfortunately there is no such thing. The time typically comes when you decide that I can no longer tolerate this pain of not knowing what is going on, etc. What I do say to you though is to not "rush" the decision. You will regret it later on. Go seek out a counselor or women's support group to help you deal with this anger and pain relating to the betrayal that you've endured...are enduring.

I am not saying that counseling is the "end all"; it isn't, but it WILL help you to better focus on what you want , how much you can tolerate and when the time for the change has come. It will also help you not to become bitter and unable to be in a relationship with someone else in the future.

Susanne


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Q Hi,
I am a 35 year old married woman who is suffering greatly with a midlife crisis. I am so glad I found your page as it gives me information and hope that I actually might make it through this hell with an intact marriage. I have been with my husband for 15 years...I use to look upon him as my best friend, confident, lover, soul mate. Now I find him boring, selfish, unsupportive, moody and no fun. I may not be in love with him anymore even though I know if I left him I would feel like my right arm was cut off.

Right now, I am having an emotional affair with a 35 year old man who is in a similar situation--talk about dangerous--he finds no passion with his wife anymore. This man knows I adore him, find him attractive, fun, intellectually stimulating. I have not told him about my marriage problem yet and I don't intend to because I think it will create an atmosphere where a physical affair would definately occur. Even though I find that thought incredibly tantilizing, it also scares me to death as I know it will be the end of my marriage and 15 year friendship with my husband. That pain is too much for me to deal with.

I see this other man every day in a work situation and we have now escalated to having dinner together (without mates) with a mutual friend. My husband is fully aware of this and has not done anything to deter me. I told my husband yesterday that I was in the midst of a terrible mid-life crisis because I don't have babies (which I always wanted) and now I feel life is slipping by me so fast that it scares me. That I want to just run away and that I had thoughts of leaving him. All he says is that he has felt unhappy for quite a while. I feel such doom and find myself drawn to this other man more and more, especially since my husband isn't really indicating to me that he wants to fight for us.

I have been crying for weeks now and I am in the process of finding a good counseler because I can't go on like this much more. Help... I feel so confused, overwhelmed and don't know which way to turn. Is this a severe crisis? Is my marriage doomed? And if so, how do I deal with the terrible pain of loss that I feel I helped to create?

Signed: Empty Nester

A Dear Empty Nester,
What a difficult time you are going through. It must be painful for you, and, as you stated, quite frustrating. Have you spoken with your husband about your feelings about your marriage at all? Is he totally "clueless"?

As attractive as it may seem for you to get more invested in your "emotional affair", the more dangerous it is. The reason that it seems so very attractive, even exciting, now is because you are not dealing with reality with this man. For example, neither one is looking at daily bills, dishes, dirty laundry, seeing each other when you first get up, etc. You only see each other when you are dressed, etc.

The end decision of course is up to you, but I wonder if your marriage is not worth one more shot. Just one last question....What if you spent the same amount of emotional energy on your marriage as you now spend daydreaming about the other man, etc. Do you think that there wouldn't be a change within your household? I recommend counseling for you and your husband. Tell your husband that you are unhappy and tell him how you feel. If he is not willing to go, then go by yourself. This will help you to come to a rational proactive decision of what to do, instead of a reactive decision based on feeling lonely and "empty nested."

Good Luck.

Susanne

PS, I wonder if your friend's wife has any inkling what's going on or if she's living in "oblivion" like your husband. Hm. I do wish you good luck; you are definitely dancing on thin ice here.

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Q Hi,
I am a 38 year old man..... living with my wife (also 38) and 14 year old step son. I have been married to my wife for 8.5 years now. I know I am going through something strange at this point in my life. My depression with my situation has me close to or in tears often. I am struggling to work this out, without letting my wife know how deep in the woods I am. I think I have kept a good front up with her so far.

I live in So. California, I am well employed in the computer industry, making more money than ever. I stay very active and fit with, surfing, swiming, and motorcycle racing. Dispite this, I am struggling with the following problems: 1) I am TERRIFIED of growing old and loosing my physical capabilities. 2) I don't care about my work I am only want to pursue my passion.... road racing full time. 3) I have had my first and only affair recently with a beautiful 20 year old woman who shares a lot of my passions (manages a race team). I have slept with her on my business trips in the bay area almost weekly. Making love to this woman is more intense than anything I have ever experienced. 4) I love my wife... she is a beautiful woman who's only fault is that she has become less passionate with me than she once was, and frankly has physically matured with a body that could never compete with the above mentioned 20 year old (I know that sounds shallow, but...). My wife works hard and undergoes the stress of a professional carrier, so I don't blame her for anything. 5) I have recently attempted to distance myself from the woman I have had the affair with. She is looking for a commitment that I do not know how to provide at this time. I am trying to bring romance back into my marrage but it does not seem to be enough to fill the void I feel from not seeing the Mistress. I find myself consumed with the need to contact her.... it is overpowering. She is like a drug, and I am in withdrawl.

I have always felt in control of my life, but what a mess it has become. I just don't know where to begin to straighten it out. I don't want some crazy needs to destroy everything I have worked for and committed to, but the needs are so strong.. they rip at my heart. My wife knows of my desires with racing and reluctantly supports them, but I don't know how long and far that will go. Also I have not told my wife about the affair, and do not intend to. I have told my wife that we need to put some zip back into our marrage or it will die. I know she is trying, but it may not be enough.

What the hell is going on here?

Justin

A Justin,
You defintely could be the poster boy for midlife crisis, don't you think? From your letter I see the pain that you are going through and the indecisions that you feel.

Let me ask you some questions. How would you feel if your wife told you TODAY that she knows about the affair, that SHE's leaving? Also, how do you feel about sharing half of what you have, plus a good amount of alimony (you've been married more than 10yrs), to her? Also, how do you feel about losing the house you're in? It probably would have to be sold. And what would your family and friends say? Think you'd find sympathy from them? Especially after your wife collapsed emotionally? Finally, how do you think your day to day life would be with your 20-year-old? I refer to paying bills, going to work? Spending "your" money? Doing dishes, dirty laundry?

I know that right now everything seems so romantic and exciting, but that is because things are "illicit" and there is always the danger of discovery. It's like a kid eating candy after mom told him not to. I suggest that you seek out counseling to see why you are so afraid of getting older? Does it have to do with your family? Did either of your parents become "boring" or sedentary when they got older? Did they become "ugly" in your eyes? It also has to do with fear of losing control. It is a time in life when you see that no matter what you do, (even sleeping with a 20 yr old), it doesn't stop the process of life.

There are groups or individual therapists that can help you with this process, which is as natural as entering our "teen" years, etc. Don't destroy everything that you've built up over the years; instead work on improving what you have.

Susanne


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Q Hi,
Hi Mike, My husband of 22 years announced to me that he no longer loves me. He called me an ugly, fat, pig (I am 5'2" and weigh 145). I am a professional person and drive an hour and a half to get to work and back home. Then about 5 days later he took off his wedding ring and gave it to me. Then 2 days later he announced that he wants me to put the house up for sale and see an attorney to get a legal separation because he cannot stand to be in the same room with me. I have been devasted in 2 weeks. Now he moved out yesterday and I don't even know where he is. What should I do?

Devastated

A Dear Devastated,
Did you ask your husband if there was someone else? He probably will deny it.

He is definitely going through the usual midlife crisis. Don't his actions remind you of a rebellious teenager? Treat him as such! The size and weight that you've described does not make you "ugly" for sure. Don't let him do that to you. Enroll in a support group or see a counselor. Go to a lawyer and find out what your legal rights are. He may not be quite so cocky when he finds out just how much he will lose.

He is on fantasy island right now; you will not be able to touch him. His reality is totally offbase. Work on yourself. Work on your self-esteem and try to find your "old" self that he was attracted to in the beginning. No, I'm not talking about your "physical self"; I am talking about the independednt young woman that you once were. Don't wait....get some help now.

Susanne


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Q Hi,
Six years ago my wonderful caring husband turned into a zombie. He was always very thoughtful, helpful, loving, etc. Then one day, out of the blue, he just got home from work and said "I've always been a good husband and I know you'll probably leave me like all my other friends' wives are doing so I'm not helping you anymore." From then on, he would just sit in the living room and stare at the TV, he wouldn't talk to me, if I asked anything, he didn't know. It was like he lost all knowledge - he didn't know anything. If he wanted to go somewhere he would just go & he would announce it like he was proud of what he was doing - "Oh, I'm going to the bar" - like "what are you going to do about it?" He didn't say that verbally but his actions showed that. It was a very trying time for me but I survived.

Now, my question, could I be going through the same thing? When he went through that I stayed with him and desparately fought for my marriage. I would always tell him I loved him, cooked his favorite foods, etc. But now it's like I don't care and I can honestly say I don't love him. If he told me he was leaving I would probably help him pack. I just don't care anymore. Am I so hurt, am I burned out, or am I going through what he went through? If I want to go somewhere I'm going with or without him whether he cares or not and I don't even feel bad about doing it. Or am I in a bitter get-even mood? I don't feel bad about it but I would like to know. Can you help clarify this?

Josephine

A Dear Josephine,
Hi Josephine, I think that your actions are actually a REACTION to how your husband has treated you. Perhaps you've reached that stage where you tell yourself that although I don't like being alone...am even terrified of it, it can't be worse than what I'm going through right now.

This is a natural stage that one goes through when one has endured emotional abuse as it sounds like you have. You don't say whether you've had any counseling. Have you? How about a women's support group? Have you done any of that? If not, try to do so. If money is the problem, seek out a group that's offered by your church, adult school, etc. The group, or a good therapist will help you to better identify at what stage your are in terms of mourning and loss.

It will also help you to rebuild your self-esteem. Believe me when I tell you, I went through it, and even though I am a therapist myself, I knew that this was too big for me to handle by myself. I too went for counseling and it sure does help! I wish you the best with everything.

Susanne

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July, 18, 1997

Q Hello
My 38 year old soon to be 39 year old wife. Doesn't know if she loves me anymore. The whole problem started out of the blue, as far as I'm concerned, about 2 months ago. She has completly rejected me and is very angry about every problem we ever had in our life. She calls her anger delayed reaction. I have to agree with everything she says and I have been trying to show her that I understand and will do everything that I can to make sure there will be no more problems for her.

The problems range from very small to very large, but most all are very far in the past. I always thought that we were very much in love and that we would always be together with our three children no matter what. I know that I have taken her for granted and after 18 wonderful years I'm alittle sick of myself. She has said that she doesn't want to make things better right now and she needs time. I have tryed to give her time but I'm not having much luck.

We have been together almost everyday for over 21 years. She has been my best friend and companion. She is much younger looking than she really is and she is very pretty, and jeolousy has been a factor over the years. I'm really not that way much anymore mainly because I have realized that I can't stop her from doing anything so why try. She never did anyway. I'm worried how bad the situation really is. Sometimes I think that she is just mad at me and will get over it. She acts and treats everyone else, including my family the same as before, but she can hardly look at me and if I try to talk to her after only a few moments she has to get up and leave the house.

She has been going through alot of changes the last few years, going to school to be a LCSW, full time, and working full time as a caseworker. I haven't always given her the support she needed in the past but I have tryed some and of course now I'm driving her nuts trying. She says she is just existing and doesn't know what she wants and has no plans. She has always told me the truth and I beleive her now. I am very wooried about the heath of our whole family. She is a very loved and important part of it.

Of course she won't go to counciling. I went a couple of times but without her it doesn't seem like it helps. I'm not saying she is wrong and I am willing to do what need to be done to make her happy. I'd gladly go again if she would or if they could tell me something to help. Could this be a midlife crisis of some kind? She hasn't said a kind word to me in 2 months. How do you deal with this?

Will

A Dear Will,
The pain that you are feeling comes across very strongly in your letter. Although it is assumed that men go through Midlife crisis, it is not absolutely so. We do too.

Is your wife possibly having a difficult time setting up a practice? Or is she working for an agency? It is not so unusual to go through years of school and then find yourself feeling disappointed that things are "professionally" not "happening' quick enough. If that is the case, then I suspect that your other half is going through a period of self-doubt and questions.

Of course there is another component to this whole midlife thing...and that is, that while men start to want to "settle down" with someone who wants to cater to them and make them feel "special", women at this stage often want to "find themselves", both professionally and personally. They have spent many years being the caretaker and at this stage feel strong urges of wanting to be independent and fulfilled. Not so much like men, huh? Just a different venue.

My suggestion to you at this time is for you to go to counseling by yourself. If nothing else, for you to learn how to deal with this change of behavior in her. You, with professional help, need to find your self-esteem again so that you can make a decision as to how much you can take under these circumstances. I suspect that she's been feeling "unsupported and ignored" for years by you and at this time is not willing to even open herself up to you right now. You need to give her space....Use that time to rebuild your sense of self. Good Luck.

Susanne


Q Hello,
My husband of 22 years has all the classic symptoms of mid-life metamorphosis. He has chosen to take a lover and has left our house and five children. he says he still loves me and will always love me as part of his "family". We can still relate to each other as friends but no longer as husband and wife...this hurts so much!

He says he will never marry again and doesn't really want a divorce now...he is in such pain emotionally and won't seek counseling...I have been in counseling and am doing a lot of grieving work. I am finding it easier to let go as time goes on. The odd thing is that though he lives away from us, he visits often and we do things as a family almost every weekend.

I don't want to be a "victim" yet I still love him so very much...am I crazy? How would you suggest I relate to him?

Hurting in S. Dakota

A Dear Hurting,
I'm glad to see that you are going to counseling. Time really does heal all things. I didn't think it would, but it did. My philosopy is that it has to "end before it can begin again", and that often means leaving a situation before you want to because it is not healthy for you.

We never know what the future holds. It sounds like you are on the way out of the other end of the tunnel. In my case, my ex(yes, ex) husband remarried and had a baby with someone else. Just when I was most convinced just how happy he was doing I find out that they are separating. Just wasn't like he thought it would be. I, in the meantime, have re-married and am very happy. So you see, it can get better. I would have not come to this stage had I not had a good counselor and all the support from my friends and family while I was going through this.

Start a new path for yourself. you never know who you will find there with you in the future. I know how much this hurts and am not making light of it, but just know that it does end one day. Good luck to you.

Susanne


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July, 13, 1997

Q Hi,
My x-husbands mid-life crisis only put my own on hold for a few years. After he divorced me, I was in a tizzy simply to keep what remained together. I went back to college, bought a house and eventually remarried.

Now my mid-life crisis involves finding a job. During my twenty-three years as a wife and mother, I was happy taking care of my family. When there was a financial crunch, I worked part-time clerical jobs.

My children are grown now and I want to start a career, but am finding this even more difficult than I expected. Everywhere I have interviewed I am told my skills are weak and I don't have enough experience. It's not like I am appling for CEO positions, I have sought out entry level position! Does anyone have any suggestions that can help.

Karen

A Dear Karen,
I thought that maybe you could do some volunteer work in an area you are interested in . It won't pay the rent but maybe it will give you the experience they think you lack. You could put down all the experience of any P.T. A positions you held while your family were at school. The experience of coordinating any clubs or associations, balacing the home budget, cooking ,coordinating a family, working part time, any assistance that you gave your husband in his field of work etc. Getting a professional resume (c.v ) all helps because it is not always what you have done - it is the way in which you word it. Verbal dihorrea( sorry I can't spell that ) is what I call the resume saga. ie personal skills .......able to maintain /coordinate and communicate effectively within a multi discipliary organization............( you were secretary of the P.T.A) . Don't undervalue the skills you do have - just re-word them lots a luck Friendly Aussie.

________________

How many inteviews have you had? Do you think that maybe your own insecurities are starting to come across, possibly even the anger that you feel at jobs not given to you? Often we send out subtle non-verbal signals that indicate anger, etc,without even knowing it. Have you practiced interviewing with your friends? Have they videotaped you?

You should contact the career center of your college; you should be eligible for services since you are an alumni. If not free, at least for a reduced rate. Have them practice interviewing with you. Also, do you send out follow up letters after each interview? Only 20% do and out of that 20%, fifty percent get the job. Also, the suggestion of getting a volunteer job at your professional level is a good one. It would at least get your "foot in the door". I know it's unfair, but that is how it is.

When I earned my Masters in Counseling I went to several job interviews who offered me a salary of $18K. I was mortified and embarrassed to think that I went to school for nothing. I totally had to re-invent myself, my presentation that is, and got a very well paying job that I worked at for 3 years. Today I am a consultant for the very companies that I worked for....at triple the pay. So, you see, it is possible. You just need to dump your old image of how it should be, and come up with a new plan or strategy. Hope this helps.

Susanne

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Q Hello,
My wife is 37 years old and informed me in Feburary that she did not think she loved me anymore. We have been married eleven years. She has since lost 25 pounds and is down to 95 pounds. She is a small person but she still looks bad at the weight. She moved out into an apartment two months ago and recently bought a townhouse. All of her friends tell me they have no reason to believe she is having an affair.

She had this all mapped out before she ever told me about it. I told her one day I felt like I was having a midlife crisis just using it as an expresson and her responce was I know how you feel and the she unloaded on me. She went to three counseling sessions alone and after each one she was more and more convinced it was me and we were finished. We have a child and she has been more than fair letting me have him half of the time.

No one had any clue this was coming. She blamed the entire thing on me and said her only responsibility was not ending it sooner. She told me things like "I think you are a weak person, I only stayed with you the last six years because I felt sorry for you, life is too short, I cannot imagine retiring with you because we have nothing in common and I just want to get on with my life. She was loved very much by my parents and other family but was able to walk away from that relationship also. Our new home was also put up for sale.

If this is some phase she is going through it is my desire to work through it with her but if this is indeed the end I need to reconize this. How do I tell or is that possible? This is all so very out of charactor for her. Thank you for any help

Clueless

A Dear Clueless,
I know how difficult this must be for you, but don't give up. In one of my previous answers I said that not only men go through this stage of development. It does sound like your wife is surely going full fledged into midlife crisis. You don't say how she was before she started changing. Were you the one who used to control things around the house? The money? You say that she told you that she thought that you were weak. Have you in the past held back telling her when something upsets you? Do you normally try to please and put your own interests last?

If your self-esteem wasn't low before, I'm sure it is now. Have you gone to see a counselor? Signed up for a group? Yes, they do have groups for men going through separation and divorce. It may help you. What you need to do is to find yourself. Get some inner strength back so that you can be a good role model for your daughter and also to re-invent yourself. That is, find the guy that your wife was attracted to in the beginning.

You say your wife now weighs 95 lbs. How tall is she? Does she have an eating disorder? Almost sounds like it. Is she getting professional help? She definitely sounds like she is rebelling; she needs to find out why and also her responsibility in it. But as I'm sure you know, you can't make her go. You can only go for yourself. Who knows, maybe when she sees the old guy that she once loved come back, she will show some interest in you again. Stranger things have happened. Above all, don't give up. Go get some help. Good luck.

Susanne

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June 21, 1997

Q Hi,

I'm Carol and this sight is a Godsend. My wonderful husband of sixteen years is becoming strange. He got an earring and now says he wants a separation, out of the blue. When I pressed him for a reason he said " the house is always dirty( we have three sons ), and he can't just get drunk and hang out whenever he wants to.The kids and I are going on a long vacation. But what should I do when we get back? Should I have agreed to leave.

A Dear Carol,
For the past six months I have been a part of a women's support/small group. All of us are "baby boomers" and we all have different stories in our midlife. Most of us are dealing with expectation busts of one kind or another (mainly husbands, marriages, or children that didn't quite turn out like we expected them to). Our time together is a time of positive reinforcement. We laugh, we cry, and we encourage one another. I can leave the house down, depressed, and discouraged. Then after our time together, I'm a new person. So, my encouragement to you would be to find a group like this. Ask around. There are quite a few churches that also offer this type of support group.

I wish you the best.

D'Lynne

______________

Hi Carol--Just a thought. You are facing some momentous decisions, and I just want to encourage you to get plenty of input before you do anything major. These are too important of matters to decide by what someone (even an "expert" and I'm not one) on the Internet might say. Find yourself a good counselor (talk to people to find who comes highly recommended) and confide in your close friends and family. Good luck and keep in touch--Mike

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Q Hi.

I have searched the web for some time on affairs, looking for someone who is going through what I am. I found out last fall that my husband was having an affair on his hunting trips and that he met the same woman for a week in a hotel when he said he was going to work for a friend at a cattle show. I was devestated. We had been living together for 9 years. He said he was so sorry and that it was over with her, and we got married. At first it was bliss. But now I am constantly going through changes of love, hate, doubt, wondering if he is still calling her. How can I ever believe him again. He never told me the whole truth about the affair until I found proof of something. I love him, sometimes. But honesty and trust were very important virtues to me. I can't seem to get past it. I doubt that he loves me. If he did, how could he be with someone else intimately and emmotionally. I have heard so many times that men that say it's over actually keep lying until they're caught again.

Any idea of the statistics? He is so angry all the time. It makes me feel he is not happy with me. I feel so hurt and cheated, and they say you are not supposed to keep bringing it up, but why should I suffer alone inside when he caused all the pain.

Hurting

A Dear Hurting and Going Crazy,

well, it looks like unfortunately we are all in good company. i too have been doing research on affairs, as i just found out 2 weeks ago that my husband of 20 years has been unfaithful. (he says it's not an affair because they haven't had sex). either way, it's an "emotional affair" and he has betrayed me and our marriage vows. explains why he has been asking for a rapid divorce and why he has been so unhappy. (guilt!) i did find a helpful website. check out: www.vaughan-vaughan.com. they are a husband/wife team of therapist who have experienced affairs first hand. maybe this will help.

i wish you both luck. many of the circumstance you describe also happened to me. the feeling that you no longer know this person you thought you knew so well for all these years, the sudden change in lifestyle, their need to blame you for everything. it is a truly painful time for them as well, but my focus now will be on me, for my own sanity! i've spent the last 3 months trying to figure out how to get him back and it's not working. i've lost 25 lbs, and am physically and emotionally exhausted. I must stay strong for my kids...they need me! i'm putting the rest in god's hands.

i wish you both luck and god bless.

"alice" (for more from "alice" see the Q & A page and the Midlife Crisis Forum Page)

After reading my response policies, click here to ask or answer a question.

Q Hello,

My husband turned 45 last Dec. We had a very bad fight in Feb.After that he said he wanted a divorce. He said he still loves me but is not in love with me and he does not think it will work out. Two months later he walked out on me.He wont let us know where he is staying....says I might endanger the family he is staying with He does not want to go to counseling. He said all they do is listen and you can do the same thing with a friend over dinner. He blames everything on me.He says things like "You hate me" "The kids hate me" " I want to just get in my car and drive...I dont care where I go or what happens to me.""Everthing is on my shoulders." He said things to me before he moved out like...we need to put some money in savings....that was a positive day lets sell the house and get another one another positive day...but in between those positive days he does not want to do anything with me....ands says I don't think it will work out....I was served divorce papers this week...I will fight this with tooth and nail.....We have been married for 23 years and I think it is worth the fight to save it...he is not acting like the man I married...he has been verry irritable for the last 2 years...I dont know what to do any more. Does he have a problem and if so how long will it take for him to relize it?

Going Crazy

A Dear Going Crazy and Hurting,

well, it looks like unfortunately we are all in good company. i too have been doing research on affairs, as i just found out 2 weeks ago that my husband of 20 years has been unfaithful. (he says it's not an affair because they haven't had sex). either way, it's an "emotional affair" and he has betrayed me and our marriage vows. explains why he has been asking for a rapid divorce and why he has been so unhappy. (guilt!) i did find a helpful website. check out: www.vaughan-vaughan.com. they are a husband/wife team of therapist who have experienced affairs first hand. maybe this will help.

i wish you both luck. many of the circumstance you describe also happened to me. the feeling that you no longer know this person you thought you knew so well for all these years, the sudden change in lifestyle, their need to blame you for everything. it is a truly painful time for them as well, but my focus now will be on me, for my own sanity! i've spent the last 3 months trying to figure out how to get him back and it's not working. i've lost 25 lbs, and am physically and emotionally exhausted. I must stay strong for my kids...they need me! i'm putting the rest in god's hands.

i wish you both luck and god bless.

"alice" (for more from "alice" see the Q & A page and the Midlife Crisis Forum Page)

After reading my response policies, click here to ask or answer a question.

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