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DW is having a midlife crises.

(30 Posts)
beepo Sat 05-Jan-13 22:50:57

My beautiful loving, caring, wife of 13 years has flipped out and turned into someone i dont know. We have 3 beautiful children and were in a lot of peoples eye's, incl ours 'the perfect family.'
2 months ago, i found out my wife was having an email exchange with a guy she had met briefly, when i confronted her, she had a breakdown, lost an enormous amount of weight and has cried everyday since. She says it was no more than emails, but she now questions our marriage as she feels she should not have done this. She says she needs an intimate connection with someone as she cannot have one with me.? She feels suffocated and wants to run away and escape. Our children are 10, 8 and 5 and she has been an amazing Mum. It was her whole life, but now she wants time for herself. She wants to dance! She wants to be out socialising etc.. Very scary..
There is more to the story as she kept mentioning a dark secret she had from when she was young. We started counselling, together and her on her own and it turned out to be a very horrific secret, something that happened to her from the age of 6 to 12 and her Mother still does not know.. She is in turmoil as she does not want to break up her family, but the need for something else is so strong. I am trying to give her space, but of course im at my wits end and desperately do not want to lose my family. My family means everything to me. Any advice and possible 'ray of light' stories would be more than welcome.

CailinDana Sat 05-Jan-13 22:57:45

It sounds like she's having a breakdown, possibly as a result of trying to deal with what happened to her (abuse I'm guessing?). Same thing happened to me a few years ago - I was abused as a child, started dealing with it, spiralled down and down, treated my poor DH horrifically and ended up in bed for two months. I did come out of it, but only because of my DH. He made a GP appointment and brought be to it, picked up my anti-depressants, made sure I took them, and then let me rest as much as I needed to in order to get better. It was exactly what I needed. He put up with so much, I can never repay him. I am 1000 times better now than I ever was back then.

If your DW is the same as I was then she is searching desperately for relief from the pain she is feeling, and believes she can get that from her "affair" or by leaving you. If you can manage it you need to make her see that running away is not going to work - horrible as it is she needs to face up to what's going on in her head and you will help her to do it (if you can?).

Encourage her to make a GP appointment ASAP, or if necessary make one yourself and bring her to it.

BluelightsAndSirens Sat 05-Jan-13 23:03:35

Your wife sounds truly desperate are you willing to support her?

She needs to see her GP and arrange for some counselling to help her understand and deal with her feelings with reference to her past.

Poor women and well done you for taking the time to post for advice. Re you able to help with the DC during the day?

beepo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:04:47

Thank-you Callindana, but my wife has always been very anti pills. She is very into homeopathy etc. She is definitely depressed. The counselling is defitely helping..

beepo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:12:23

I am Blue lights.. but she does not want me around! She says i am suffocating her, mainly because im so worried about our family and breaking up..

CailinDana Sat 05-Jan-13 23:13:27

It's a shame about her being anti-pills. I was anti them too, before I took them, but they really made a massive difference - they relieved the symptoms just enough that I was able to think a bit more clearly and start getting my head on straight again.

It's great that the counselling is helping, you need to do all you can to ensure she keeps this up. Would she talk to you outside of her counselling sessions? Sometimes the one hour isn't enough and you can feel a bit lost in between sessions, so having someone to vent to can really help.

Does she realise she's depressed? Something that helped massively for me is that DH basically took over all the day to day running of life when I was depressed so I didn't get overwhelmed with details (which happens very easily with depression). He listened with massive patience to my mad ramblings but took none of it seriously. I felt I could trust him to look after things and to tell me when my thinking was way off (even though it didn't stop me thinking those things). He just took over, basically, and gave me the space to recover. It's not something everyone can do and I admire him for doing it.

beepo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:30:12

She is functioning, not as supremely as she was before, but she is. She cant commit to any long term future to our relationship and it kills me. She says she cannot see me in that intimate way anymore and she really wants that intimacy. She keeps saying she needs space..

CailinDana Sat 05-Jan-13 23:40:05

I know it's hard but you have to take everything she says with a pinch of salt. I said some properly crazy things when I was depressed, things I thought I meant at the time but which were really focused around trying to feel better. I told DH multiple times I wanted a divorce and that I would go out and shag someone he would have to leave me. In reality it had nothing to do with him - I was in so much pain I was like a lost animal scrabbling around trying to make it better and lashing out at DH was one of the many things I tried. In my desperation I also believed that DH was the source of my pain and that if I left him it would magically get better. That wasn't true of course.

What do you think you can do next?

beepo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:50:34

Thank-you CailinDana. That brings me great hope. Ive not known wether this was the case and she is taking it out on the nearest thing to her and she feels if she escapes from me she would be better or wether she truly wants out? How long did it go on for? Im 2 months in and everyday i wake up reality hits as i think ive been having a nightmare! She is out now at this moment and it kills me. Ive got no idea what she is capable of..

CailinDana Sat 05-Jan-13 23:53:26

I was building up to the depression for years, the actual really bad time lasted about 3 months and then it took another 4 months or so to get back to anywhere near normality.

Does she realise she's depressed?

beepo Sat 05-Jan-13 23:56:46

Im not sure, i think so. She has had approx 6 counselling sessions already and we have had as a couple 3.. She is bringing up all the negative things about our relationship, which are few and cant seem to focus on the wonderful marriage we have had..?

CailinDana Sun 06-Jan-13 00:03:23

The thing to remember is that depression affects how you're thinking. It actually changes how you view the world. Everything has a negative slant - when I was really bad I was utterly terrified of having a shower. DH used to have to get me out of bed and convince me it would be ok to go and wash myself. A lot of what she says might be true, but while she's depressed it's safer to assume that her view on things is very heavily influenced by her illness.

Charbon Sun 06-Jan-13 00:03:58

Is the counsellor your wife is seeing qualified and experienced in dealing with the effects of childhood trauma beepo? It sounded as though you'd started with straightforward couples counselling and although it's good that your wife felt safe enough to open up in that setting, it is a very specialised field and in the wrong hands can sometimes do more harm than good.

I agree that your wife sounds ill, but you mustn't overlook the effects on you while this is happening. She has had at the very least an emotional affair and you say she is out tonight. Although it's brilliant that you are there for her while she's going through this trauma, you run the risk of putting your own hurt and your own self on hold while you deal with the crisis. This is why it's very important that she sees a GP and a correctly trained counsellor. It's also important that you have your own outlet, so are you having some counselling yourself?

Totallydistraught Sun 06-Jan-13 00:03:59

Cailin, I found your story really interesting and glad it worked out for you. I fear my husband is in the same place but its also possible, he simply wants out. Hope all works for OP, you are a very supportive spouse.

beepo Sun 06-Jan-13 00:13:12

Hi Charbon, yes the counsellor is a very hardcore one in that field and other fields. We/DW are not seeing a 'relate' counsellor.. I have had a few one on one sessions myself and the counsellor recommended i saw her separately first. I am of course worried about myself and i know she has had an emotional affair, which of course really hurts. She says she has had no more contact, but admits it hurts and does miss him. She also admits its a fantasy..

MuffinLeMule Sun 06-Jan-13 01:19:23

Is there anything you are not doing to tackle her suffocation/wanting to dance, etc? How often do you get a babysitter/parents to look after the kids and go out on dates together and drink/dance? How often do you make time to have fun just the two of you (her kind of fun perhaps and perhaps not yours)? When did you last surprise her with an evening she wasnt expecting?

There are a lot of potential reasons for whats happening, many unsolvable, but why dont you focus on the set of reasons which you can actually solve. I mean if she is now physically disgusted by you its probably over, nothing you can do. On the other hand, if she is basically just bored and feels like she is missing out on life because she likes to go out and you are content to stay at home and never try anything, and this is built up into rage/angst/misery/trapped feeling, then you can easily tackle it with a disciplined/regimented approach to having some fun together.

beepo Sun 06-Jan-13 07:42:38

Hi MuffinLeMule, there is no worry there with regards to our social life. We have always had an active social life. We are always doing stuff together, with friends and with kids. She gets to dance, go to dinner etc etc
She is not disgusted by me either, she finds me very attractive or should i say, she can see Im attractive.. She just wants to be free, but doesnt really want a broken family either.. Her own mother does not recognise her anymore, she is totally different.

Charbon Sun 06-Jan-13 20:23:55

It sounds like her affair has stirred up some sexual memories from the past beepo so I'm glad you both have confidence in the counsellor.

If it wasn't for the childhood issues and trauma, I'd be suggesting that you ask her to make a decision one way or another, because living with an ambivalent partner after an affair can cause terrible psychological harm to the person who's remained faithful and who wants to stay in the marriage.

Notwithstanding that, I do think that we are all responsible for our own health and so I would encourage her to see her GP because although this might be 'ordinary' depression, some of her behaviour sounds more like bi-polar disorder which will require a specialist diagnosis and can be tricky in terms of treatment. Individuals who have bi-polar disorder are especially vulnerable to infidelity and forming inappropriate attachments.

beepo Wed 09-Jan-13 00:07:21

Thank you Charbon. She still loves me very much, she just has this block and can't pretend that it's not there. She says there is something not right.. I would accept this if she came to me in the first place and said it calmly, but she had a complete meltdown, lost lots of weight and cried everyday since..
We do talk, but you can see she gets suffocated and starts taking deep breaths.. She says she nearly had a panic attack recently when she was on a train..
I'm thinking of moving out and coming back at weekends, nothing hardcore, just for work, but I'm hoping this will give her space and hopefully miss me!

vole3 Wed 09-Jan-13 06:33:53

And in the middle of all this are your DC.

Mum is acting differently, not there all the time and not doing the things she used to for them. Dad is doing his best in a difficult situation.

Please don't be the one to move out. Your children need to know that there is stability from one parent who is there for them and puts them and their needs first. You leaving would be a second abandonment and unlikely to change their mums behaviour.

beepo Wed 09-Jan-13 07:58:20

I'm not sure I can carry on in this limbo state, need something to kick start something either way..

susanann Wed 09-Jan-13 08:52:41

I feel for you beepo, it must be really difficult. It must be difficult for her, she sounds confused and frightened. Depression is a very debilitating illness. All I can suggest is that you get some some support for yourself and hang on in there, much easier said than done I know! We are here to help you. Good luck.

beepo Wed 09-Jan-13 11:57:29

Thank you susanann. We ended up having a bit of an angry exchange this morning, well I did. I wanted to talk, she didn't.. I stormed out and will stay away for a few days.. She has since text apologizing for not wanting to talk.. I really can't deal with it anymore. I can't handle feeling like this and I feel I need to move on..

LifeofPo Wed 09-Jan-13 12:04:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

irresponsible2013 Wed 09-Jan-13 12:08:41

" She feels suffocated and wants to run away and escape. Our children are 10, 8 and 5 and she has been an amazing Mum. It was her whole life, but now she wants time for herself. She wants to dance! She wants to be out socialising etc.. Very scary.. "

You sound like you are saying "how dare my wife want to have her own life separate from being wifey and mother".... did you intend to?

If not, then book a sitter and a dance class for the two of you (I reccomend Blues dance as it's not too tricky). Pay for it so she "has" to go with you or money is "wasted". Good luck.

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