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Is this a midlife crisis or is my marriage over?

(36 Posts)
MixedUpMuddledUp Sun 07-May-17 13:54:04

Married for nearly 20 years with teen DD. We met at a time when we both needed someone - he was older than me and had never had a serious relationship, I'd had a string of heartbreaks. We became friends and eventually a couple but there was never a 'spark' as such and sex wasn't great even then - in my heart of hearts I know I was settling for someone kind and reliable.

He's continued to be reliable over the years although other less attractive qualities have become apparent - he's quite anti-social and although he can be kind to me he's not keen on some of my friends/family and has made this really clear which has put me in a very awkward position. He's also very cautious and negative whereas I'd say I was more outgoing and optimistic although I feel less so these days - maybe due to him or just getting older. Those qualities have made him a decent husband and dad but not the most exciting one. He never goes out and has few interests - this doesn't seem to bother him but it drives me mad as I never get time alone. We also have zero social life as he made it awkward with friends we did have and has no real way of making new connections like other men seem to through sports or work or whatever. I've got a circle of close mates who I see fairly regularly so I'm fine but as a couple there's nothing.

DD has noticed what her Dad is like and finds it frustrating - little things like he'll take her to an event but suck all the joy out by fussing about the route and the traffic then make them rush off at the end whereas I'd let them stay and enjoy it all, maybe stop for food on the way back, that sort of thing. She's aware that while he's a good Dad he can make life awkward and less relaxed. She also has some anxiety issues and I genuinely don't know whether they're related to the atmosphere at home or not.

So I find myself in my mid 40s with a lovely DD who's growing up fast and won't be around for many more years. I'm so proud of her and the close relationship we have but increasingly sad about what there is for me now. My career is going well which helps but there's got to be more than that to life. I find myself actively envying DD and the opportunities she has ahead of her plus the social life she's got and the excitement of boyfriends etc.

DH and I are like mates at best these days and with DD around less it's becoming increasingly apparent. I think he'd be content to potter along, enjoy life becoming a bit easier now DD is older - more time, money etc. But the thought of that for the next 40 odd years just makes my heart sink as does the fact that I'll never have someone who excites me, makes me feel attractive and special and alive - I know DH loves me but it's not enough.

I'm seriously considering what to do next but can't throw away the comfort and security of our life (don't care about me but for DD) just because I fancy a change. I've tried talking to DH several times but never get anywhere, he just buries his head and carries on as before. I hate to think of him on his own but I don't want to live like this any more.

Thing is though I just don't know if everyone feels like this at my age and after being together so long - I feel that as DD has got older I've found myself again after years of just being Mum, and the new me wants more out of life, but I'm aware that sounds like the most sad middle aged cliche ever. Some of my friends are single again and I know it's not easy but I envy them their freedom at the same time.

How do I know whether it's really the end or if our marriage can be saved?

fiftyplustwo Sun 07-May-17 14:28:09

Why don't you take time to be alone? I had a colleague who went to Mallorca, golfing, for one week each year, and the hubby stayed home (don't think he was into golfing). Why not arrange a trip abroad with some of your single friends, if you can afford it, or closer to home if that is more convenient?

fiftyplustwo Sun 07-May-17 14:34:07

Why would it be the end of your marriage anyway? What exactly is it that is missing and that you couldn't arrange anyway? I'm sorry, I didn't quite follow what the big roadblock was. Is it that you need to actually go out and do things together? Or is it more that you're fed up with the company? Or that you like to date other men? Or that you feel you can't go away on a, say, two week trip or over the week-end with friends while he's at home alone? ...

BubblingUp Sun 07-May-17 14:38:43

I have several women friends who "settled" when they got married because they wanted to be married, they wanted children and the clock was ticking. Nice men, but no chemistry. Most ultimately divorced as you are right - it's no way to live. None of these women have regrets that I know of about leaving. If anything, they regret settling in the first place. So, make the break if you want to. If you don't, you're ripe for an affair and that will get messy.

Hermonie2016 Sun 07-May-17 14:47:15

What freedom do you envy? 40s are a time to reevaluate life but it could be about adding into your life.

Make a list of things that excite you, plan something for yourself..maybe it's a trip away solo.

helhathnofury Sun 07-May-17 15:42:38

I have felt exactly the same, its hard to put your finger on what's missing - but you know something is. No answers, sorry. We went to relate and I started doing more things I wanted on my own ( which then caused resentment from him at first).
I'm still here, as have health issues which complicates matters, and its not that I don't love him. In the end just couldn't rip up the kids lives because I wanted a bit of excitement or because I wanted to be made to feel special. I did have an emotional affair for a while and that did make me feel alive, but really wasn't worth the potential damage it could have caused.

MixedUpMuddledUp Sun 07-May-17 15:55:16

I do a lot of things alone or with DD - go away for weekends etc. But surely the point of being married is to do some things together not lead separate lives? DH would do more with me but I'm tired of being his only social life and it feels as though all we have to talk about is DD or work because he doesn't do anything else.

Coupled with how awkward he can make things at times eg family gatherings it just seems as though life would be simpler just DD and me. But I'm aware it could be 'grass is greener'.

StiffenedPleat Sun 07-May-17 16:04:07

He sounds deathly, unless I'm missing his good points.

Does he make you laugh?
Does he cook you delicious meals?
Does he look after you when you're ill?
Does he communicate his love for you?
Do you have a sex life?

Dozer Sun 07-May-17 16:13:15

If you don't love him, leaving seems sensible.

MixedUpMuddledUp Sun 07-May-17 16:24:05

Does he make you laugh? He can at times but as often he frustrates or irritates me
Does he cook you delicious meals? He's good at doing his fair share around the house
Does he look after you when you're ill? He would if it was needed
Does he communicate his love for you? I know he cares but don't think he has a clue how to make me feel attractive or special
Do you have a sex life? No it's a disaster

ivykaty44 Sun 07-May-17 16:30:34

Is it a sexless marriage?
Can you make your own social life? Hobbies ect? If you do your thing and then you will have things to talk about - it's up to him if he wants hobbies ect

It's is different as family life gets older and DC leave the best.

ivykaty44 Sun 07-May-17 16:31:09

Do you love him? Or do you live the security?

AttilaTheMeerkat Sun 07-May-17 16:47:58

What do you get out of this relationship now?. What is in this for you?.

He does not sound like either a good dad or a good husband. He is self absorbed and does not particularly sound all that kind either.

Is this what you want to teach your DD about relationships as well; you are showing her that currently at least this is all acceptable to you.
Would you want her to replicate your marriage?.

OrlandaFuriosa Sun 07-May-17 17:00:03

Am about to pm you.

MixedUpMuddledUp Sun 07-May-17 17:25:11

I am still fond of him (although at the same time hugely irritated by him) but don't know if it's love any more. I could see us getting on well as friends though.

If it was just me I'd be looking for a flat on my own - I don't see him as providing much security to me these days - but I can't do that to DD, nor can I expect her to leave her home. I'm not sure us living like this is doing her much good though.

He can still be kind and if I was happy to accept him as he is I think we'd be able to do more together as we like similar stuff but I just can't put aside the less attractive aspects of his character or the fact that I don't feel remotely sexual towards him any more. It just feels like everything's added up and it's too late now.

MixedUpMuddledUp Sun 07-May-17 17:25:27

Thanks Orlanda, pmed you back.

Kittykat1969 Mon 08-May-17 06:03:13

I think most long term marriages go through this stage at some point. Most recover as they remember the initial stages when it was all sparkly and exciting. They hope to get back to that. The difference is that you never had that early stage excitement presumably, so its difficult to imagine how the relationship could improve.

isthisacceptable200 Mon 08-May-17 06:45:30

*Does he make you laugh?
Does he cook you delicious meals?
Does he look after you when you're ill?
Does he communicate his love for you?
Do you have a sex life?*

^ this

I am also in a sexless marriage and am gearing up to leaving. Am terrified though.

My H and I also have no social life together, nor do we ever go out just the two of us. He is 12 years older than me and likes to sit on the sofa for hours and hours when home.

He can also be controlling and bad tempered, and has shown me no affection for years.

Still the thought of leaving is heart wrenchingly sad. We have 3 dc, one of whom is also suffering from anxiety.

LedaP Mon 08-May-17 06:53:47

I went through somethign very similar recently. My dh is just like yours. I got a new job and realised how fun meeting new people was. How fun life with other people was. How easy it was to go out.

The difference is that dh picked up on my unhappiness. We spent a few weeks talking, sometimes arguing, crying etc. Dh accepted what i was saying. Recognised a problem and went to counselling. He undersood that his social life revolving round me wasnt healthy.

6 months after his counselling, he goes out (not often but actually does) he plans things for us to do, things for us to do and stopped sucking the joy out of everything.

Its early days for us but it is better. The main thinh is though....i didnt settle for him. I love him and we had thay spark. We just had to get it back.

erinaceus Mon 08-May-17 07:03:12

You've made a number of assumptions about what you would be doing to your teen DD. Depending on her age and level of insight, you might not be doing anything to her at all. I by no means think you ought to consult your DD about whether you and her father should stay together shock but more to think abstractly about whether separating from her Dad could be made to work with some stability for her.

Is Relate an option for you and your husband? If he won't go he won't to. Or counselling for you in your own?

pullthecracker Mon 08-May-17 07:04:29

Reading with interest, as I'm in exactly the same situation at the moment. Have a teen dd and an 8 year old dd.i just feel like I share a house with dh, but don't want to mess things up for dd's by splitting up the marriage

diodati Mon 08-May-17 07:06:47

I understand, OP. I think you want to fall in love. It's a tough one.

LightYears Mon 08-May-17 07:33:24

6 months after his counselling, he goes out (not often but actually does) he plans things for us to do, things for us to do and stopped sucking the joy out of everything. I think his is really important, The man's making an effort, if they aren't prepared to do this then I think it's over.
I was in similar position and finished it, I have regrets, yes, but mainly because I've not found another partner after many years on my own.

There's another large thread on MN, I think it's called something like "Left my marriage not because it was bad but just unsatisfying", probably got that title wrong, hopefully someone will know what I'm on about and point you in the right direction. Lots of women with a similar dilemma though.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Mon 08-May-17 13:29:42

My parents divorced after I left home. I am jealous of my younger siblings. They tell me how much nicer it was living in the little flat with one parent in a nice atmosphere with a happy future being planned, things improving every day. On the rare occasions I was back in the country, what I saw of it was indeed nicer.

My mother used to tell me they stayed together for the sake of the children. What a cow. Do they really think so little of me? Do they really think I was purely materialistic as a teenager? Do they think I would rather they lived a miserable life so I could have my own room and nicer dinners? How dare they put the blame for their continued misery on me!

They were scared of the upheaval of breaking up. They used "for the sake of the children" as a socially acceptable excuse for inaction. Living in that miserable environment being trained to shut up and pretend everything's lovely did me immeasurable damage that took years to iron out.

A house is not a home. Children care more about love than things even if it doesn't always seem that way on the surface with teenagers.

You break up, you sell the house, buy a flat each with space for DD, you each get to live the life you want and DD gets to experience you being happy in your home before she grows up. What's so terrible about that?

user1494245471 Mon 08-May-17 14:17:12


new name new effort this week! definately want to get my relationship back on the rails too.
I also find this really similar to my situ, BUT, DH has started to go out and socialize but the spark that we once had seems a real struggle to reignite. I love him and i know he loves me but it seems so hard to feel relaxed enough to show him how I love him. Maybe we have just forgotten how i dont know. We hug etc but it doesnt feel that natural.
He used to be all over me which originally i loved, but then i felt it was too much so asked him to just back off and stop wanting sex as our relationship had in all other respects become mundane and lacking love and i didnt feel he wanted me... just a shag.
Right now i feel some regret as i feel he won't initiate any kind of intimacy, which i Know is exactly what I asked of him. But GOD i wish he would just throw me on the bed and make me feel he desires me once in a while.. what a mess...

my next step is talking to a relationship councillor, but alone initially... maybe a sensible start for you to get your head around your feelings towards DH and establish a basis for how YOU think things can progress for the benefit of both of you. Boredom and a grass is greener feeling can often overpower the reality that people and relationships can actually be changed for the better when the fundamental basis of the relationship is one of love and friendship

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