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Mid-life crisis?!(39 Posts)
Hi all. Posting on here coz I desperately need someone to talk to. Don't know if anyone can help though!
A couple of months ago DH of 6 years had what I guess you'd describe as an 'emotional affair' with a woman 23 years his junior (i'm 15 years his junior - younger women being his 'weakness' apparently). it must've only been a couple of months at most; I suspected something right at the beginning (he's a terrible liar and i found some messages alerting me that something wasn't right) and although he didn't see her much they did text each other sometimes. Anyway, that all came to a head one night and I made him choose between us. He chose me, after a night's sleep. He later admitted in full what had been going on, which seemed not much, and it all seemed rather pathetic to be honest, but he was clearly in deep, emotionally. As far as i know he's not contacted her since we mutually agreed he needed to stop talking to her.
Anyway, all of that has seemingly started some kind of mid-life crisis. He's come to the realisation that he always pushes people away and keeps them at arms length, so has no proper friends, just a hundred acquaintances (he's well-liked in the town we live in). He's spent a large part of our married life sitting at the computer in the corner, opting out of family life. He's felt unfulfilled work-wise for something like 15 years, ever since being made redundant from his dream job and has never been able to get back into it (because he 'can't' (/won't) apply for jobs). He's always always wanted to write but hasn't done that in at least 4 years, and not 'properly' in far longer. This is all stuff I've been trying to help him with since I met him, but most of my words have fallen on deaf ears. Now it's like he's suddenly realised that everything I've told him was true. After this realisation he claimed he had 'changed' and started doing things he'd never done before (which was great) and I'm continuing to try and help him in this by encouraging making new friends, applying for jobs FOR him (not for the first time, but with more success this time), etc.
He's now spending most of his time, when not at his shift work, leaving me alone with our 3 kids under 5 to go off and write, 'find himself', etc. He says he just needs to be alone, keeps wanting to 'just drive off into the distance' and stuff like that.
So really the hardest thing is that I suffer from severe depression (I am also t1 diabetic which doesn't help) and he seems to expect me to just be able to switch it off, saying "i can't cope with you not coping!" and stuff like that, despite me having only survived by some miracle so far. I'm doing my best to let him have time for himself because he's had to put up with a lot with my depression recently, but it's already pushing me towards the edge and I'm struggling to cope with it. I am giving as much as I possibly can, and am going above and beyond to help. I also feel like I'm not allowed to feel bad about his affair any more; that it all needs to be about him. I don't know.
The other bizarre thing is that not just one but two (!) married men have suddenly taken an interest in me, and although I feel 'cold' when it comes to them, I can't help but take up on their offers of company and a listening ear, leading me to feel guilty for wanting to spend time with other men.
Sorry that was really super long. Thanks for reading...
Listen to what he's saying.
Midlife crisis or not, he wants out.
I'm sorry. I went through this myself. I didn't listen to him and was miserable for years trying to 'understand' and 'help' him.
I wish I could have saved myself, knowing what I know now.
Thanks. I do listen though. After all his talk about wanting time alone etc he always says "but i will always come back to you." He always says he loves me, but seems to just be having issues with general life. I understand this predicament clearly, from the way depression affects me.
I'd be astounded if he actually did want out. Don't think that's where he's coming from.
Don't waste your life being kept dangling by someone who is making it all about them. Selfish, inconsiderate behaviour is a right royal pain in the arse and he's taking it for granted that he can do exactly as he pleases and somehow you'll be there at the end of it all, waiting meekly and grateful for a little affection.
If he can't cope, he should go to a doctor. If he doesn't like his job, he should get a new job. When you say he 'goes off' to write.... where does he go? Does anything get produced or is he IM'ing his OW again?
Don't waste your life indulging him. You'll get zero thanks
I know. However, we love each other dearly, and we want to work through this. I will not let him walk all over me and have only allowed so much (which really isn't much) because it's still fairly early days, plus I hate making it all about me and how much I struggle. I've called him out on his behaviour a few times now and the first couple he defended himself but the other time he seemed to realise it wasn't on to say stuff like he was to me, even if he's now sworn to tell the truth (there's a difference between truthfulness and just plain being mean).
As far as I can tell he really is just writing when he goes off by himself, although I am keeping an eye out. He goes to a local cafe, and regularly updates me with his word count with pride or not depending on how the session goes. (Yes, I have been checking up on it and have read some.) As far as I know he only uses email and fb messaging, both of which I can easily glance at. I don't check his phone but I can almost always tell when he's texting someone he shouldn't.
I have also told him about these other men who've taken an interest in me and said that I would rather have him every time, but implied that if he keeps being so stand-offish I can't guarantee to not see them a lot more than he'd probably like! (Don't know if I should've said that but too late now haha.)
He has been to the Dr, and has another appointment in a couple of weeks. Looking for jobs is something he seems to have a mental block about, but when I've applied for some for him he has taken some interest and helped me a little, which is saying a lot for him.
Is micromanaging a grown man working out for you? Do you see it as a long term prospect? Do you think you might lose all respect as well as patience eventually....?
If telling him that you're enjoying the attention of other men hasn't made him sit up and take notice, I think that says all you need to hear. Never mind trying to make him jealous by suggestion... You're heading down a difficult path and risk losing your own self-respect along the way.
Yes I have been micromanaging him, as you put it.. he does seem to be taking a grip on life all of sudden though. * hoping for the best *
whattodo I get the feeling that he did internally 'sit up and take notice', he's been a bit more, i duno, interested (?) in me since - but it was only last night and we've had a busy day so I guess only time will tell. He hardly ever verbally expresses stuff like that though.
Anyway... I would really appreciate any advice other than our lovely traditional "leave the bastard." Pretty please!
I'm not sure you will get the advice you want to hear.
He sounds like a man on a leash and you are dragging him along through the marriage. He really would participate more and be more proactive if he truly wanted to. His actions (the lack thereof) speak volumes of his intentions (or lack thereof).
Really, just listen to him and his actions. Not what you want to hear, but what he's really trying to tell you.
And why do you think you deserve a partner who is not supporting your needs, emotional or otherwise? He 'can't cope with you not coping'?? So what are you supposed to be? A robot? A doormat? A stepford wife? Why can't you be yourself? Why is it your fault?
What were his parents like, did he have a happy childhood.
Problems in adult life often stem from whatever childhood was like.
If you can see that something, behaviour of a parent or similar, has left it's mark at least you then have something to work through, understand, come to terms with.
But men having nothing much to do with small DCs is usually laziness ime.
He can be 'finding himself' some of the time but for the rest he should do his bit. He needs to spend time with them and realize the responsibilities he has to his DCs. It might do him good.
I think in these situations actions speak louder than words and to put it bluntly he's stringing you along.
I know that's probably not what you want to hear but it seems he's emotionally checked out of your relationship. IMO the only way you can salvage this is to kick him out, take back control of your life and let him realise what he has to lose.
As you want to stay with him
but want the old him back I would detach for a while, stand back and see what he does. That way you would have a genuine result/answer. If he sticks - great, you have what you wanted. If he slinks off with OW and buys a Lincoln convertible and a gold medallion, you can leave sooner rather than later, again with your true answer. The current situation is giving you no answers and them is what you is after eh?
If you do detach, make sure you don't get involved with the OMen though or let him think that. The experiment won't work.
Thanks everyone. dozie his parents were, as far as I can tell, emotionally detached, hardly showed emotion, and never talked about anything. They divorced when his dad went off with an OW. So lots of his issues do indeed stem from that - he is extremely bad at confrontation or even just talking about things in what I might call a light-hearted way. However this has improved slowly over the years as we have worked at it. He has also probably talked as much in the last month or two as he has in the whole 6 years, so that's something good I suppose! Yes he is also lazy and knows it, but it is something he acknowledges, and generally he doesn't complain if I ask him to do things for the kids, e.g. change nappies/make tea. He is getting much better at engaging with them - think he found it very hard when they were babies, i.e. did very little. But he is a really good father when he's actually setting his mind to it.
fluffy it has occurred to me but I feel that due to his personality/history it would destroy him - i'm not ready to do that just yet!
jimmy that's sort of what I am doing. Kind of a coping mechanism too, really. I'm suddenly finding it much harder to keep away from the OMen though - partly because most of my friends are currently busy/looking after newborns/not texting me back much/generally being bad at being supportive right now, making me want to fall into the arms of someone - anyone - who will hold me and tell me it'll be ok. Not good.
However on a plus side, the latest man to take an interest - who sent the most terribly flirtatious and, in his words to me today, 'marriage-destroying' emails over the weekend, has since redeemed himself today; it would seem he was very drunk when sending those things to me and 'in the cold light of monday morning' he knows full well that we both treasure our marriages, want the best for our kids, etc, and we sort of mutually agreed that having an affair would be ridiculous, harmful, and help no one. Not that I was planning to go down that route, but he most definitely had it in mind! So hopefully I won't have to worry about that being a 'temptation' too much any more...
It's not a midlife crisis for him if he's got you obligingly running his life. The crisis is that although you have long hoped to transform your DH and mould him into a fully functioning adult, now he is finally on board and 'finding himself' you are realising how one-sided this dynamic is. You obviously care about each other but for some reason you're indulging him yet a small part of you resents doing so.
His emotional affair was a temporary glitch which you picked up on quickly and defused. But it's opened a Pandora's box. Whatever his failings you may never have considered the possibility DH might stray. Your usual friends and confidantes aren't available so you are looking elsewhere. Don't complicate things. It's risky gameplaying with outsiders.
His job interview for what would have been the 'perfect job,' and at the perfect time, went amazingly well yesterday... but he didn't get it. Now he's feeling totally crap again coz he feels built up for nothing (his mood/behaviour had improved a bit) and barely sleeping (think he got 2 hours last night) which is also waking me up too (unintentionally). So we're both now shattered and feeling at a loss.
He's saying he can barely cope with his current job and terrible boss again (I hope that despairing feeling will lessen a bit, the further away from the failed job interview we are, but who knows - she's clearly not a nice piece of work as 7 (?) people have left since she started there) and he's terrified he's going to do/say something awful and just walk out. So now I'm starting to wonder if I need to try and work again instead of him (my MH makes it difficult but I could prob do it - at least for a while) and give him more time to get a new job without having a complete breakdown in the meantime.
Trying not to feel totally lost.
I'm in a very similar situation (threads such as is a midlife crisis real...), such a hard situation to be in
Have a look at the website The Hero's Spouse (if i knew how to link, I would) lots of info on there about midlife crisis and affairs. Also lots of advice about how to detach, and how to stop being a 'rescuer' . There's a great book called The Drama Triangle - it might resonate with you. Good luck!
Sounds good, I'll take a look tomorrow, thanks
Just had yet another (married) friend try it on with me tonight. I definitely had nothing to do with this one. Even so, I wonder, do I have some aura about me that says "married men: please, take me!"
[seriously worried that I have]
The other bizarre thing is that not just one but two (!) married men have suddenly taken an interest in me, and although I feel 'cold' when it comes to them, I can't help but take up on their offers of company and a listening ear, leading me to feel guilty for wanting to spend time with other men...Just had yet another (married) friend try it on with me tonight
Stop! Wait! Do these men know him, do they know he's been close to other people and wants out? Because if they do, that's why they're sniffing around. It happens at the end of relationships. It happened to me. I was horrified! I didn't want him, and I certainly didn't want his friends. But that might be the source of the sudden interest - they think you're about to be available. It gets worse. Once you've been apart for a few weeks, they think you should be grateful for any sex you can get - even from them.
patronising - one of these guys knows him from work but isn't a friend per se, but is mostly staying away from me; he is flirty if I see him, but when i don't, he never gets in touch. I'm good friends with him so accustomed to texting him semi-regularly but since last week have been holding off texting to see if he would initiate anything but he hasn't, at all. Not really worried there anyway - he's quite, erm, 'controllable'?!
Both the other guys are in my jazz band, and i don't think they know my husband at all, or our situation. * fingers crossed *...
On a different note, I found out 2 days ago that DH's insistence (maybe 3 weeks ago?) that his phone messages were 'his own' and he didn't like 'people reading his conversations even if they were mundane' (so therefore I said I wouldn't look at his phone if that's what he wanted) was indeed a ruse (WHAT a surprise) and he's been texting her for the last few weeks. He said it was about just normal things, like asking how uni was, etc (he's 'worried about her' coz she thinks he ruined her life.. ha!). He also revealed that she actually kissed him 3 times on one occasion (before she went to uni), whereas before he swore that all they'd done was once hold hands walking home from work. (a 30 sec walk.)
He says the weird thing is that that's one thing he'd never have done. That it was never sexual for him. (Don't know who he thinks he's kidding but there we are...) He's also informed me that he's deleted the messages now, so he doesn't have to read them or think about them any more. Which I'm pretty sure is actually so that I have nothing to look at and he can deny memory of what was said.
After he told me those things he seemed brighter and happier (telling
part truth obviously helps in some way...), and talking the night before last i said for the first time in years and years I actually felt 'in league' with him. And he said 'me too,' and really, honestly seemed to mean it. And it was like everything was great again, if only briefly.
So the thing is, he reckoned she wouldn't text him after two nights ago (they had a bit of an argument) and I said I bet anything that she would coz i know her a little, and i remember what it's like to be that age/feel that way. Sure enough, she did yesterday evening, saying something like 'are you ok?' I had to go out, and after mulling over it all while I was, I walked in with just a sudden ominous feeling that I shouldn't have left him alone, free to text her all evening...
I noticed a few more suspicious things as i was turning off his computer and decided, coz i was feeling furious and desperate to know the truth (and didn't want to wake him as it was pretty late), that I was going to check his phone despite him not wanting me to. Of course there were quite a number of texts. Mostly just 'friendly' but definitely moving into "i'll always be here for you/never get tired of you" territory, which to me is not appropriate to an OW. For a start he was def leading her on more (she said things like 'shall i stop talking to you' and he vehemently said no of course not).
Anyway after not being able to sleep he suddenly woke, sat up and started fiddling with his phone. he looked a bit drunk. I asked him how many bottles of wine he'd had (he said in his texts he'd been bad and had 2) and he said one. I said 'really? you look like you've had loads more than that!' but he kept denying it. Then I gave up and asked him what he had replied to her text with, and he told me a summary that included 3 bits of the real messages that didn't sound too bad. I said was that all? (Knowing there were loads more.) And he just kept on swearing that was all, that they hardly said anything to each other, etc. On and on I pressed him, but he didn't give up. Swearing he was telling the truth. I felt like he was repeatedly punching me in the stomach. Eventually i told him that I had looked at his phone and knew he was lying. He was shocked ("i would never, ever do that to anyone" he says) and i'm like, well, if you wouldn't lie all the time I wouldn't feel forced to, but also we just differ in opinions in the severity of that action! (I wouldn't mind if he looked at my messages, even the dodgy ones - i'd admit any mistakes & apologise...)
So then i asked why he lied, and he's just like, "i don't know"... eventually coming to the conclusion that he was 'protecting me'... ha. My usual 'forgive and forget' reaction left me, and i told him i've never wanted to actually slap him before. That if he lied like that again that'd be 'it.' I don't even know what i meant by that, only that i'd have to take some kind of action. And later, that i've never wanted to leave him before. He said he didn't know what to say to that.
This morning I couldn't hug him or really talk to him, yet he was trying to do both with me (doesn't normally if i'm feeling 'off'). Anyway. I think he might have finally realised I can't keep running back to him when he keeps promising his honesty and giving me nothing but lies - and that he actually IS playing a dangerous game.
He says now that he's really not going to text her any more. I want to believe, but can't. And he knows it. I don't know how I'll get back to trusting him again, even if he were to be totally honest from now on. Not that i'm expecting that.
Why does it always have to get to breaking point before people actually realise they might lose what they love???
Ooooh, my first real 'Leave the bastard'.
He cheats, he's lazy, he abandons you to write (texts to her it seems) and find himself (in her, probably'.
How much worse could being single be?
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