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Mid Life or Over?

(129 Posts)
KittyB01 Mon 22-Apr-13 12:03:25

My husband of 15 years has closed down over the last 8 months - we have had moments of happiness, have been intimate (although this stopped a month ago) have tried to keep talking, he just says he is evaluating his life and everything in it. We have 2 lovely children, a nice life, nothing too fancy.. just a nice life, with good friends and close family. We have always been a very sociable couple and he has tried to keep this going although it is getting harder and harder for me to be with him around friends as I miss the closeness we shared. I have felt the distance growing and now a couple of weeks ago he told me that he thinks he wants to move on, says he can start to see how it might be without me, starting over with somebody else (he has promised me there isnt anybody else and I do believe him). He says we both deserve happiness which of course we do, but I am devastated as I have tried to support him over the last 8 months by just being there and I feel he hasn't given our marraige a fair chance. When he told me, I suggested two options, either we talk seriously about what he's going to do and how we are going to split up, or I asked him to reconsider and just see if there was any possibility of second chances. He knows how much I love him, feels guilty at the pain he is causing. Despite these words, he is still here. He said he knows he needs to make the decision, but he is now talking to me about things we are doing in May and June, still kissing me goodbye albeit briefly in the morning, still giving me the odd cuddle in bed. I am so, so confused. Is this him trying to see if he can give it a chance still, or is it him trying to make me feel less sad by just being nice whilst he is here? I know you will say I have to talk to him, but I'm scared to push him and that talking further will just mean the end. For the sake of our relationship and our family, if this is just a MLC I am of course prepared to wait longer. If he is thinking about leaving still, then I know he needs to go and I need to be strong. Interested in what people think, perhaps people that have been there - thank you so much in advance x

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 00:41:18

In the case of the OP. This sounds like a mid life thing, nothing more, for now.

But it could very easily become more if you get too hooked up on some of the usual toxic MN advice, which seems to always consist of the same LTB rubbish spouted by the same people.


That doesn't mean I think this is all going to just blow over, and there are certainly steps that need to be taken.

Protect your turf, as you correctly assert, female contact is nice, especially when one (as a man) is not feeling great. Women for the most part are nice, and kind, and female contact can be flattering and seem good in the short term. But it's a bad idea really and it could easily lead to something else that could put a spanner in the works.

Nobody leave anybody. Get away to have space maybe, but leaving could be the thing that tips the balance forever in the favour of a split. If your DH is not feeling great, and is having anxiety due to various things, it would not be a good plan to bet on him making sound decisions.

Talk. Many men are shite when it comes to dealing with the feels. Beginning slowly without confrontation may result in the floodgates being opened and things being worked out rapidly. But because someone doesn't appear to want to talk it doesn't mean they have nothing to say, it may well be the case there is so much to say and your DH is completely incapable, paralysed by fear because he's overblown everything in his mind.

Seeing your GP about things like this is a daunting prospect. There are some online tools that can be used to help see the world and ourselves in a more positive way to make good choices. It could be that all is required is a realignment of perspective.

Good luck.

Absolutelylost Tue 30-Apr-13 01:06:48

We had a similar crisis last year, up until about 6 weeks ago. I ignored all the advice I was given on MN - we had been through a horrendously stressful time with our business and were left with enormous debt. My view was that he was very depressed but he announced he wanted to leave. It was the worst time of my life. OW was hovering in the background, his freelance work dried up and he sat around in his pj's, furious with everyone. I was devastated but tried to keep going, with lots of support from family and friends.

Just as we were at rock bottom, I got myself two new jobs which I love and he got a really good NHS management placement. With the financial strain off, a more healthy outward focus for us both and his self confidence restored, our relationship has improved enormously. We have a way to go but I feel confident we are facing the future together.

I don't know if I was weak or strong but I didn't feel ready to give up, even though he apparently had. He has since admitted he had been trying to push me away, to ask him to leave but I always felt it was a decision he had to make openly for himself, rather than blaming me for forcing him to go. He has also admitted he thinks he was depressed, a big thing for a mental health professional!

Anyway, most of the advice I had was to LTB - but I'm glad I didn't. I'm also grateful to another MNetter who shared a similar experience and was kind enough to let me witter on to her...

Best wishes to you, OP, whatever your outcome.

Absolutelylost Tue 30-Apr-13 01:10:35

I second what Squibb said about an inability to make sound decisions. DH was looking at expensive flats to move into; I subsequently found out that he hadn't actually paid the mortgage on our family home for 3 months (now sorted!). It was like he completely lost touch with reality.

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 01:11:39

I am pleased to hear that Absolutelylost, it's good to see the vultures don't get everything round here.

Absolutelylost Tue 30-Apr-13 01:13:21

He also resisted seeing the GP for ages but when he finally went, he really talked honestly for the first time for months and began to open up at home.

Absolutelylost Tue 30-Apr-13 01:19:46

Funnily enough, although I am usually a very sensitive person and take everything to heart, I knew this was never about me or our actual marriage. I think I became a shorthand for everything he was stressed/guilty about; if he could somehow get rid of me, everything else would be fine. In the end, I think he knows he is a lucky man!

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 01:25:58

He is indeed a luck man...

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 01:27:28

damn keboard...

fedupofnamechanging Tue 30-Apr-13 07:38:19

Right, so women are supposed to just wait it out while their husbands who are supposed to love them and be committed to them, faff about deciding whether they want to be in or out...

What about the mental cruelty these women are subjected to?

There is a huge difference between staying with a man who's behaved badly and is desperately sorry and doing all he can to put it right and staying with a man who is continuing to treat his wife with no respect or caring.

I think that fear is a great motivator and the prospect of losing his wife, of realising that he is not the only one to get a say in whether he stays or goes, will focus his attention on what he really wants.

It may be that they stay together in the long term, but there is no balance of power at the moment and that needs to change.

Absolutelylost Tue 30-Apr-13 08:13:07

The point that I was trying to make was that, whilst his actual behaviour was pretty crappy, my DH wasn't a well man and I personally am glad that I stuck it out. I think that forcing a confrontation may well have neen terminal. But that's me and my situation. I'm not saying that women should hang around for ever whilst their erring husbands constantly vacillate.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 30-Apr-13 08:20:22

I was aiming that at squibb, who seems to be implying that men are delicate creatures, who have to be handled carefully and never mind the devastation they are leaving in their wake for their wives to put up with until said delicate man is feeling better!

Women's feelings always seem to be lower down the pecking order

AnyFucker Tue 30-Apr-13 08:26:55

Women, eat shit to hang onto your (inadequate) man seems to be the latest message on this thread

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 08:30:38

I said no such thing, but clearly that is how you consider such problems to be.

Men are human beings, and if you look carefully at an awful lot of these threads, there are certainly some real nasty pieces of work out there. But not all men are like that, many want to be good people but over time things can become difficult.

So "waiting it out" is an option, but that's not a good option really, like godo t may just never happen. No, what I was talking about is making positive steps to sort stuff out.

fedupofnamechanging Tue 30-Apr-13 08:48:25

But squibb, if they want to be good people, it's really not that hard. It starts by treating their life partner with respect and consideration - if a man is willing to not do that for extended periods of time then the best thing for the woman is to make it clear that she won't tolerate it and to demand what is her due. Not pander to him until he has a change of heart and decides he doesn't want ow (if there is one) after all!

cahu Tue 30-Apr-13 09:44:00

Kitty, I went through a very similar situation starting in 2004....I felt exactly as you do, tried to be the perfect wife even though I was being called names on a daily basis.... He had had some tragedy too.... I made all the same excuses for him that that you are. By the time I realised he def had an OW, he wouldn't leave as he was too busy setting himself up for his future with her! And of course he had the best of both worlds. Fast forward to 2008 when I was finally divorced with my own house,he realises what a mistake he has made, I'm not all of the horrible things he called me and wants to get back together! I don't think so!!! So what I am saying is force his hand, show him the reality NOW..... Make him leave and as everyone e says here you may save your marriage if by then you still want to.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Apr-13 09:49:10

if men are "human beings" why are you excusing them from treating others as such ?

MadAboutHotChoc Tue 30-Apr-13 09:59:27

Thank god I did not "wait it out" or eat shit when my DH did the same thing and that I had enough self esteem to take control by telling him that it was over as I didn't want a loveless marriage.

There was an OW in our case too. With stats showing that most affairs remain undetected, I often wonder if these blips are due to a hidden affair/infatuation.

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 10:25:08


Are men not human beings then?

I don't think people should be excused, that implies that it's forgotten about, like it never happened. But forgiveness is a little different.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Apr-13 10:28:46

Squibb, you are telling women who are being treated badly that they should try harder to help the person that is mistreating them

That is poor advice, IMO

cahu Tue 30-Apr-13 10:35:11

Squib, IME, men don't emotiinally check out of marriage without having 'options'.... By which I mean an OW. Should we try and understand that also...

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 10:38:14

No I am not, that is your inference.

What I think, (as aposed to what you read form my words) is that occasionally essentially good people behave poorly. And those people will occasionally need some help in order to get back to be the good, reliable, kind hearted person they want to be and normally are. Sometimes stressful events can cause this, sometimes illness. If it happens then there should be a road back to normality.

I also know that some people are utter bastards, and they shouldn't be allowed to hide behind the facade of being misunderstood, or being ill etc. These people will always be thus, they should not be given chance after chance and then continue to make life a misery for their partner.

So it would make sense to check which camp the DH is in, before putting the boot in.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Apr-13 11:04:18

How long would you give a person like this, squibb ?

How much more time for them to check out emotionally, further erode the self esteem of their partner and have them trying to save a relationship that is already dead in the water ?

Charbon Tue 30-Apr-13 11:17:54

Sadly I have encountered quite a few men and women who 'waited it out' and in practice it's a disastrous strategy, for so many reasons.

IME there is nearly always an OM or OW in the background and for the 'confused spouse' the 'waiting it out' period becomes the trying it out period. So they have the affair in the full knowledge that their spouse will be there to catch them if it all goes horribly wrong.

They nearly always want to come back to the marriage or relationship once the affair is over, but the respect for their partners has long since gone. This often leads to further infidelity and a pattern of 'mid life crisis' is created, with episodes every couple of years.

Even on the rare occasions when no OW/OM has surfaced (it's impossible to prove there never was one after all, unless you're the people involved) there is a loss of respect for a partner who didn't have enough self-respect to say "Enough. I am not waiting around for you to choose whether to stay with me, so I'm taking the decision out of your hands."

Curiously enough, in my observation those who have adopted a firmer stance have managed to get the relationships and lives they wanted, either with the previously ambivalent partner or apart from him/her.

This is all about self-respect and the ability to command respect from others. Once either of those things have gone, they are very difficult to win back.

AnyFucker Tue 30-Apr-13 11:22:34

...particularly if you hand it over on a plate and invite someone to stamp all over it in the name of "helping them find themselves"

squibb Tue 30-Apr-13 11:29:26

How long AF? I would want to some immediate action on the part of the DH. Some sort of counselling for example sorted out within a week.

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