mid life crisis?(20 Posts)
Pretty standard middle aged stuff as far as I can tell, but I've got the major hots for someone who isn't my husband and I need some advice. I'm the total cliché - 2 small children, husband and I have grown distant emotionally and physically, life gets in the way, when we do communicate it's to nag the other one about house/ child related chores or to complain that our needs aren't being met etc. We very rarely have sex. If I'm honest I don't really fancy him at the moment - he doesn't seem to care about being attractive to me, has let himself get overweight, picks his nose (and eats it, bleeeuuugh), let's off huge farts around me, then says I'm behaving like a prude/ princess if I complain. I exercise regularly, keep myself slim, dress nicely etc and generally make an effort with my appearance, which appears to go unnoticed.
Anyway, this has been the status quo for a few years. Periodically I have a blow up and tell him I can't carry on this way, we have a bit of a talk about it (usually over text/ email), he says he loves me etc, then it slips back into the same old same old. I'm in my early 40s, still fit and attractive (apparently), and I feel pretty down about spending the rest of my days in a marriage like this, but until recently I've just kind of accepted it as my lot.
A few months ago at work I started a project with a new man (we work with different people all the time). At first I just thought he was a lovely guy and in great shape and looked forward to our meetings, but nothing more. Then at a conference (just a day thing) we were chatting at the end as there was a bit of a social and I realised, on my way home, that I felt amazing! Like a better version of myself, an amazingly witty, interesting, hot, funny version of myself. He made me feel like that. There's a connection between us, we spark off each other, light each other up. Anyway, the more I saw of him the more it turned into a physical attraction and now I have the major, major hots for him. Nothing will happen between us as we are both married, but I think he feels the same way (I guess it's pretty hard for a connection like that to be one way...). Anyway, he brightens my day and makes me feel alive, so all good, but it has highlighted to me how dull my marriage is, and how I don't want to live like this forever. It's also made me realise I still have a sex drive! I feel trapped. I don't feel guilty about fancying this man, as I don't think it's something I can control, and I haven't acted on it (and won't), but I think it's made me even more distant from my husband - almost like I don't care anymore.
So my question is, should I just suck it up and stay in my miserable marriage? Am I being unreasonable to look at this other man and wish I was with someone that I had a connection with like him? Sometimes I fantasise that we're both single and how amazing it would be to kiss him/ go out with him, walk down the street holding hands with him..... I know it will never happen with him but, I seem to crave it.....
Do other people just accept that marriage loses it's lustre eventually and just plod on until old age/ death......??
Your dh sounds pretty awful but I don't think it's a good idea to leave him and rush straight into a new relationship. If the marriage is really not working then you are entitled to move on but do it in a calm, reasoned and fair way for the sake of your dc if nothing else.
Thanks naiceham. I don't think I can leave anyway as I wouldn't be able to stay in this house or keep my kids at their (private) school. He earns a lot more then me. That's another thing, he won't have a joint account and I pay for all childcare and school fees, so I'm broke. I'm pretty much resigned to this being my lot, but this man has kind of awakened something in me and sometimes I feel very down that I'll never have exciting sex again or a first kiss with someone I fancy...
I could have written the first part of your post word for word. Scariily so, except my dh still keeps himself in relatively good shape. The spark had gone a good while ago though, we co-exist and yep the cliche, someone at work, felt alive again etc. etc... Except I did take it further last year and did have an intimate relationship with the colleague. My dh doesn't know although I think he suspects something was up because I was all over the place and emotionally checked out of family life during the short lived affair. It's over now but it speaks volumes for how stale my marriage was that I don't regret it and it gave me the impetus to sit down and talk with my dh about how we were heading in different directions, neither of us were happy and we had to separate.
He wasn't happy either, not by a long shot but had just accepted this was our life and you just get on with it. I read a line in a post on here recently and it really resonated 'you don't get another go you know, this is it!'. We're still living together, but separately at the moment, to be honest the same as before, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I feel that as long as we can do this as civilised and as kindly as possible being there for the kids every step of the way and sorting out all the practical and financial crap (we'll both take a hit but we'll just have to adapt) we both have a stab at happiness again but just an alternate future to the one we set out for together.
Yep absolutely mid life crisis if that's what you call taking stock of your unhappiness and deciding if you want to do something about it but I know of so many elderly couples who passed through this phase, stuck it out and living the last of their years sadly with bitterness and regret.
Your colleague may be a symptom or there may be a real spark. You don't just lose the ability to fall in love with anyone ever again just because you're married. It's what you choose to do about it. See it as a wake up call for how you want to spend the second part of your life. Sit down with your dh, tell him you feel your relationship is in trouble, you're not happy and listen to what he says then go from there. Can you get the spark back with him or is he more of a companion now?
Sorry no help at all, just wanted to reply because I'm right there at the same point in my life.
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply Markmyplace. I'm sorry you're going/ have been through this as well. Re whether we can get the spark back or if he's more of a companion now, I'd say he's not even that at the moment, and hasn't been for a while. He's emotionally as well as physically distant. And I have sat him down and told him (quite a few times) that I'm not happy with the way things are, but nothing ever changes. He's a good man, in that he's responsible and dutiful, but he's constantly negative about everything in our life and he's incredibly selfish in some ways and he just doesn't get what living in a marriage is about. It feels like a flatshare - one example, at the weekend he makes lunch for himself then sits down to eat it while I sort out myself and the kids, he never offers a cup of tea when he's making himself one. He does his own washing and no one else's (dumps our dirty clothes out of the machine to put his in). I'm sure these aren't good examples but hopefully you get the gist. I don't think I'm unreasonable in not being happy with this way of life but there's no getting through to him. On Christmas day we decided we'd have a little glass of champagne with brunch and he walked over to the cupboard, got one champagne glass down and filled it. I said "thanks - but aren't you having one?". He looked at me perplexed and said "this is mine". He hadn't thought to pour me one. His family life was not happy as a child and he was sent to boarding school at 7, which I'm sure has a lot to do with his "look out for number 1" attitude, but I thought he could change. I can't stand his parents either as they embody all the things I dislike in his character...
I don't think I love him anymore (makes me sad to write that so maybe there's hope?) but I don't see how we can separate amicably and protect our little boys from hurt. He's made it clear he doesn't want to separate and I know he'd be very bitter if we did. He said he can't believe I'd want to "destroy the family" and that that is unbelievably selfish.
This other man I know is off limits (he's married too - I've no idea whether happily or not) and if I separate from my husband I might be single for the rest of my life. It'd be a hard road with 2 kids I know that. I hardly ever fancy anyone (and I certainly haven't been looking) which is why this man at work took me by surprise. He's just so bloody lovely. He's not even that good looking but god he makes me hot....
Aaaaargh I just don't know what to do........
I really hope things work out for you Markmyplace.
BlueCube, my first husband was like this, except yours sounds like he might be quite "posh" but repressed and mine was working class. He used to do things like go and get a takeaway and something from the off licence--just for himself. He would come in from work, eat his dinner and then say maybe 4 nights a week, Im off to the pub, come in and then bash around when everyone in bed and then expect sex too. After 8 years I ended up having a 6 week affair with a colleague who was kind, intelligent and everything my first husband wasnt to be honest, he was nowhere near as good looking but as I got older I realised "looks" werent the be all and end all in sustaining a relationship
Again, striking similarities. My dh is essentially a good guy, works hard, the best dad, barely drinks, doesn't cheat, no abuse so I have torn myself apart wondering what I have to be unhappy about. But no passion, doesn't want to go anywhere with me, just the two of us (it's all about the kids) no sense of adventure or romance at all. Nada. And I'm just not going to live my life in this way anymore.
There's a thread on here somewhere something like 'for those who've left adequate marriages' not quite that title but along those lines, look in the last couple of pages on relationships and many others are in a similar boat.
My dh was/is upset and cross because I'm daring to say the unsayable and I'm pushing it. We have a few days when everything is ticking along perfectly fine and I can see he's thinking things are settling back and I've 'calmed down' but I have to keep reminding him that no we're still separating this year, it's going to happen, I'm determined. I love him but like a best friend and still feel I'm too young to settle for that kind of relationship because my god in 10, 20 years time what will things be like then?
Sadly and so ashamed to say, my colleague was also married and it was a bit of a whirlwind, torrid affair, fell big time for him, like you I didn't usually notice anyone so a big surprise and just starting to get over it now, but started out pretty much how yours seems to be with your colleague so please just be fully aware of the steps you're taking. I sense it may be inevitable where you're heading.
It's a wake up call if nothing else. You can be on your own with two children but open to the possibility of love in the near future or work (and yes it will be bloody hard work) on getting the spark back with your husband.
For what it's worth I know I have a ton of crap to wade through to get out the other side with him accepting of it all and the children ok and settled and this may take all year but I'm quite excited again.
You don't have to accept this for the rest of your life. You just don't, keep questioning things and push for happiness. Show your boys the model that if things aren't working and you've tried your best that you can choose a different path. Good luck!
Wow wow wow. This was me last night googling mid life crisis and then realising I couldn't find anything on women having one!
I'm in my 30's and going through exactly the same thing. I'm not married but in a long mundane relationship with two kids, where I care a lot for him but there is NO sex and...NO anything. He's miserable and I am, but we are tied together with the kids and the house and neither has had the balls to end things yet. I don't think he ever will. We both come from families where our parents are still together, so he thinks that's just what we should do.
I miss sex and passion, but I don't think I want to work on it with him, which makes me sad, but I just can't see how the spark could come back. I just go through life day to day focusing on the kids and work and i'm pretty miserable.
Then one day at work a colleague showed interest in me and let's just say I felt alive too and it's given me a new lease of life. Instead of being the frumpy mum I had become, where comfort eating was my number 1 thing as food has been the only pleasure i've known for years, i've started wanting to look good again.
I'll admit I have kissed the guy I work with, but nothing further has happened. I'm sure some will hate me for that, but my partner doesn't kiss me, have sex with me or even come near me and hasn't for years and so I don't even care or regret what I've done. He hardly even sleeps in the same bed any more, just on the sofa.
We've talked about it and it gets nowhere, either he says things will change but he goes back to being exactly the same.
So BlueCube I'm in the same position. Sadly I don't have any advice really as I'm wanting some myself. I just want you to know you are not alone at all. Also my OH is exactly the same. Recently I was out with the kids all morning while he had a lie in, and we got home at lunch time and they're hungry. I asked him if he could make them food as I had to work and instead he made himself lunch first and said he'd make them something after! It's little things like that that are building up into bigger problems.
Markmyplace13 thank you for your honesty. It's refreshing to hear, as sometimes I find people can just go into attack mode, especially on this board as a lot have been hurt by affairs - which is understandable.
I'm basically in the same situation as you too. I'm glad you are getting out and I hope I can muster up the courage to do so. It makes me really sad to say that though, and I hate that big family get togethers and things like that will end. But I'm miserable, and it's not going to get any better.
Sorry to hear that tellingitlikeitis. It seems there are a lot of us going through the same thing (sadly).
Markmyplace13 I'd be very, very surprised if something happened with my colleague, I think he's too much of a good guy (but I'm ashamed and actually quite horrified to realise that, if an opportunity arose for a bit of hand holding or a sexy kiss I'd be all over it with no guilt...). But he wouldn't overstep the mark, I'm certain, which is a good thing. Obviously I'm not pushing anything either though, just enjoying it for what it is.
On a lighter note tellingitlikeitis one of the things I fantasise about if I split with my husband would be never seeing his horrible family again! Though it does concern me that I'd likely have to "let" my boys see his family unsupervised by me, if we separated, and that makes my blood boil.......
I'm so sorry there are more of us in this boat than there should be. It's so sad but a comfort to know we're not just going mad.
My family think I'm crazy to want to walk away from the stable, conventional nuclear family set up. I obviously have it all living this capitalist dream but why have I felt in the absolute depths of despair that this will be my life until I die. And I'm shocked that they care more that I keep up appearances and stay depressingly unhappy than do something proactive about fixing it.
Tellitlikeitis- my dh too sleeps on the sofa most nights, has done for months and like you I had no motivation any more to try to rekindle anything. His parents stayed together but in separate bedrooms and didn't even like each other at the end so this is his model and he thinks it's acceptable. I can not end up like this, neither should you.
BlueCube- My 'other man' was a good guy I guess. He was clear nothing could happen but we kept talking about our unhappiness so it became emotional, then physical and he ended it because he felt so guilty about his family. I'm horrified to say I would have continued because having this distraction made life at home more bearable. Once he was gone I was terrified at the life I would have to lead if I just settled back. My unhappiness scared me it was so brutal so I used the affair ending to instigate the bigger change I need.
You may be on the brink of an emotional affair if nothing else. Do you think he just happened to come along at the right (or wrong) time and it could have been any good looking, charming guy or is it a connection with him only and he's made you question everything. Would you have continued on with your marriage forever if he hadn't walked into your life?
I do wonder if it's just the mid life thing so we're 'ripe' for having our head turned but I didn't even look at another man for 11 years which is why I have trouble thinking these feelings for someone else are just a symptom of our unhappiness.
I think I would have fallen in love with him even as a newly wed, I just felt such a connection and the consequence is that I'm not prepared to live in a loveless marriage anymore.
Sorry for waffling, it's been quite cathartic. Really hoping you both find some answers soon. Think about the life you want to be living in 5 years time and do something to reach it.
Watching with interest. I could have written this post, BlueCube
Honestly Markmyplace I think it's a connection with him only, and I think I would have fallen for him (if that's what's happened) if I'd met him when I was happy with DH. I've been with my husband 10 years, unhappy and distant for at least 5, and no other man has "turned my head" in all that time. I'm pretty sure everyone who has an emotional or physical affair justifies it by saying these things, but I do really feel it. We're like teenagers when we meet, I'm sure other people will have noticed it. Both of us blushing and trying furiously to be professional (and succeeding I think..). Neither of us have done anything inappropriate at all, we email mainly about work, but there's even a spark to our work emails if you get what I mean. In my industry there are a lot of people I connect with, we're all passionate about what we do, but just everything about him "fits" what my ideal man would be. I think I even fantasised about him before I met him, even though I was never looking out for him if you know what I mean. God this sounds so lame and teenage. I'm honestly love sick :-( Neither of us has said anything along these lines at all to each other btw. I've been very careful with what I've said to him, in person and on email, and I've retained plausible deniability. He wouldn't know for sure that I'm massively into him but he should be able to read between the lines. Anyway, this isn't really about him, it's about what meeting him has highlighted in my marriage. It's so misery making and I don't know what to do!! We're in separate rooms as well, using the excuse that our toddler sleeps in my husband's bed. But I have no desire to move back in with him, and he's making no effort to get me back in there. I read all the threads on here about people being fed up with their husbands pestering for sex. Mine couldn't care less. And I'm hot looking I am!! I'm slim and fit and sparky and I take care of myself. I can say that on here because it's anonymous but it's true! I'm no Angelina Jolie but I'm definitely not a minger!!
Blue cube, I can so identify with everything you say and I felt/feel exactly the same way about the man who I fell for. I could have written what you did just over a year ago and yes, I think I would have fallen for him at any stage in my life. He and I did express our feelings and were 'together' if that's the right way of putting it for a few months before my husband found out and it all blew up. I had thought for so long about separating and I knew there was no way back for me, the genie was out of the bottle. I did separate from my husband and it has been the hardest but in a bizzare sort of way, one of the richest years of my life. It's not for wimps that's for sure but on a personal level, I have no regrets. The family/children side of it is or might be a different story; I just have to trust that it will all work out ok in the end. My feelings for the other man are just the same - so much for the affair fog lifting - but he has remained in his marriage and I respect his choice even if a part of me wishes it was otherwise. I wish you the best of luck and I am very happy to see that so far, you're not getting roasted alive as usually happens in these kind of threads. There are those of us who get that life is shades of grey and that sometimes you meet the right person at the worst possible time
BlueCube I'm about 10 months on from where you are. Your last post made me laugh because we're almost living the same life . I try to look after myself, I get hit on by other colleagues, men in bars, on the street all the time and I'm just 'meh'. And my husband takes it all for granted.
With the colleague it was 10 months of light flirting, dreaming about him and getting so nervous in meetings we were both in before it took a more serious turn. It was like BAM the first time I saw him, I knew and it was never like that when first meeting my husband sadly. It's fair to say I instigated being close to my colleague because I felt like I needed to be - lovesick!
And then it was like being teenagers kissing under street lamps, sending each other music, finding any excuse to get in touch every day, meeting in hotels.
Then you come home and your husband barely looks at you, doesn't even ask how your day was (it's been like this for years, way way before the affair) and you feel so conflicted because your children, the two people you love the most are upstairs asleep and you're obsessing about another man.
I totally get it.
Even more awfully but what demonstrates my marriage is dead in the water is that I'm not grieving at all for what could have been with my husband, the man I've lived with for almost 12 years and had two children with but instead for what could have been with my colleague, even though I know it's over and done.
I know you think he's a good guy and won't take it further but have you talked to your colleague about his home life? Is he happy? Or is he just going through the motions at home like you are?
Could you start talking to your husband about the possibilty of a trial separation but living under the same roof, maybe 6 months? Then plan like mad the practical stuff and how you would manage financially if you or him were to move out.
Just a little more of a formal detatch and see if that takes the heat off of your feelings for your colleague because you feel there's a bit of progress on the home front and a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
You need to do something, you can't stay stuck like this. You only get one go at life, this is it.
Julybug- just read your post.
I too feel that I'm going through the hardest most brutal of years but also one of the richest. Life has opened up for me again. I feel like the me I used to be many years ago.
My god though you're right, not at all for wimps and I understand why some would choose to soldier on unhappily in their long term relationship than turn everything upside down.
I'm trusting too that everything will work out. I'm going to try my best for us all to be happy with a new family dynamic.
Just out of interest, are you still in touch with the other man? Do you imagine meeting someone else and finding happiness?
I'm in awe of those who can live their life in black and white but jesus most of us don't get to 40 without experiencing a shed load of grey.
Markmyplace I think I love you a little bit You sound like a very brave and strong woman. Feeling "like the me I was a few years ago" - I feel like that at the moment, because my colleague is in my life, however innocent it might be. He lights me up. And I don't feel guilty about obsessing about him. I think that shows that I really have checked out of my marriage? The only thing that slightly made me twinge was a note that my 5 year old wrote saying "I luv yoo Mum and Dad" the other day. I don't know how much it would hurt them if we separated - I guess I wouldn't know until it happened. I wonder if we did formally separate whether I'd actually feel grief that my marriage was over.
I don't really know how happy or otherwise my colleague's marriage is. He's muttered a couple of things about marriage being hard etc but other than that we haven't discussed it. I haven't told him how unhappy I am either. In fact I've probably tried to make things sound rosier than they are out of awkwardness because I fancy him, if you see what I mean.
I'm not sure what difference a trial separation but still living under the same roof would actually make to the life we lead now. Do you know I'm dreading Valentine's Day and the thought that I'll have to go through the motions and get hm a card etc (with the least schmaltzy message I can find - preferably not mentioning love... which is a challenge for a Valentine's card let's face it...)
Mark-my place, to answer your questions, yes I am sporadically in touch with him. I work on the assumption that we won't ever get to be together in the conventional sense, retain a bit of foolish hope that we might, but don't want to totally let go of the connection and friendship just yet. I think there may be a time when I will but not now. As for meeting someone else, I don't rule it out, that would be daft but I genuinely can't imagine meeting someone else about whom I feel the same. I never did before and am more than half way through my life. I am actually enjoying being single and living life on my own terms so it would also have to be something/someone amazing. I am open to everything or nothing and know I will be ok either way.
It's great to be able to discuss these things, it feels hugely taboo....
Something you said really struck a chord with me; rather dreadfully, I too have grieved far more for the loss of the other man, at the pain of not being with him, than I did for the end of my marriage. It shocked even me how that played out and I don't think I'm a callous or unfeeling person. I suppose that shows we did the right thing and is an indicator of how weak the couple bond had become in the marriage. But as someone else said, you don't necessarily know how you'll feel, how anyone will react until you do it. It is literally like jumping off a cliff - and very few people will do that.
There should be a mid life survival club, I'm confident we wouldn't be the only members .
I think we're all brave strong women determined to live a well lived life and not settle for anything less. 50/60 years ago we'd have little choice but to carry on in a loveless relationship. How lucky are we now that we have choices, tough as they are. And yes it's bloody wonderful to feel like the old you again after years of being the invisible facilitator of family life. No regrets at all meeting the man who sparked it up again.
BlueCube- I think, if you can manage, I would be dropping heavy hints to your husband that your marriage is coming towards an end. I would say in advance that it doesn't feel appropriate to celebrate Valentines Day this year and you shouldn't be buying cards. He needs to know where this is heading so he can either buck up his ideas and work at improving things (although it sounds like it's too late for you) or he can start to emotionally prepare and detatch himself. It's an awful sad place to be but it's neccessary to be able to move forward. Don't be afraid of change. Allow these new feelings to push you into making things better.
My 6 yr old has acted up quite a bit lately, most definitely a daddys girl and it breaks my heart that she won't live with him full time for the rest of her childhood but I also don't want her to think this is how a marriage is with no affection, bickering, not sharing a bed and a mum who is distant and sad. I want her to have amazing relationships and I don't want her to think this is normal. So much better for parents to be separate but happy. Your 5 year old will still have his mum and dad whether together or not. You'll get I luv yoo mum cards regardless.
And in 10 yrs time when he's 15 and the cute cards are long gone but you're now in your early 50's and still sad and trapped in your marriage will you look back at this moment in time and wish it had driven you to get out?
Too embarrassingly I think of that and also think I want to be free while I'm still 'hot'. Judge away.
Julybug- it's nice that you still have some contact. Who knows what might happen in the future, it might well rekindle.
We agreed to go no contact, he's moved to a new company and I made him delete my phone number and I have to say I woke up for weeks feeling like I was going to throw up, I missed him that much. It feels so wrong that this man who has woken me up from my life coma can't continue to have a part in my life but I have to respect that. I've thrown myself into work and planning the future to keep busy but jeez it's tough and I think about him all the time.
I have a vision in my head of next year, living in a flat with my children, close to their schools (will probably have to sell the house we have but want to move anyway), having a friendly relationship with my soon to be exh (Gwyneth and Chris are my model for this, don't laugh) and a solid shared parenting plan. I'm really excited about this and the possibility of finding real love again and even a year ago thought it would never happen so there's hope for you BlueCube.
Here's to not being afraid to take that jump.
Markmyplace, I swear you are my dopplegonger or whatever the word is. I totally get what you say about making the move when you are still 'hot' and vibrant enough to do so; I was also very conscious of giving my ex-husband the best chance of meeting someone else too rather than waiting til he was near 60.
You are very brave to go completely no contact with the man you loved; we tried it but it was so difficult and I think I'd been brave enough for one year! We shall see how it pans out but what we have at the moment in terms of contact is ok and on balance, brings more pleasure than pain. It is very, very hard to let go when you feel as we do, you must have tremendous strength of character.
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