Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Do people ever wak-up from their mid-life crisis and regret having become estranged from their spouse?

(75 Posts)
eekra Sun 15-Jul-07 14:18:04

My brother and SIL are splitting up. My SIL still loves him and wants him to be happy. I don't think he knows what he wants except to be happier. They've been together over 10 years, they have 2 youngish children.

I want to support them and I don't know how best to. I wish my brother could address his unhappiness and desire for a life-change without having to break up their family. I'm worried he'll end up hitting rock bottom and regretting it. Does that ever happen? Or will they both emerge happier from the split a few years down the line.

At the moment, it looks like they'd split amicably but I suspect beneath the surface there is much more going on.

How can I help them? I can't stop crying since I found out. I love them both.

eekra Sun 15-Jul-07 14:26:25


Ellbell Sun 15-Jul-07 14:44:58

eekra... Sorry you are going through this. This did happen to someone I know. In his mid-40s (roughly) he started an affair, convinced himself it was serious and that she was the love of his life and prepared to pack in his job and move halfway round the world to be with her (leaving behind his dw and two dcs). It reached the point where he had told everyone he was going, including the dw and dcs, and then suddenly he couldn't go through with it. I don't know what happened between him and his dw, but she did eventually have him back and they are still together now. Don't know if this helps at all, but, yes, people do sometimes change their minds when they realise just how much they have to lose.

magnolia1 Sun 15-Jul-07 14:49:47

Been there and done it!!

My dh and I split when my twins were 18m and my eldest was 5. I was the one that left I had ignored all the signs of pnd and finally ran away

We were seperated for just over a year and I bitterly regret the break up. I finnally admitted I had problems and got the help I needed. We have been back together for 5 years and have 2 more children.

Its hard to say what will happen in their case. All you can do is be there for them and the children xxxx

hurtwife Mon 16-Jul-07 08:04:05

It sounds as if he could do with some councelling.

My H had an affair very similar to the previous post - wasnt happy thought he had found love of his life blah blah blah. Set off in his new 'independent' life, got a flat, got the ball rolling ect only to find himself even more unhappy and only himself to blame. Luckily for him i was prepared to work through our problems and now we much more settled, but he still bitterly regrets it and when he knows of other men doing the exact same thing he wants to preach to them.

Sometimes we think there must be a better life out there that we are missing out on when in realility we can only make our own happiness for ourselves.

Hope it works out for them - they are lucky to have you.

mylittlestar Mon 16-Jul-07 09:04:29

I've heard of people coming to their senses and have heard both sides... either the wife has moved on, realised she can do better, and when he comes crawling back she has told him where to go!

But have also heard positive stories of people coming to their senses and the OH willing to give things another go.

All I would say is that it takes amazing strength from the partner who was left to be able to forgive, forget and move on. I hope he can get some professional help and eventually they can work it out.

MyEye Mon 16-Jul-07 09:18:16

A good friend had an affair and left his wife and young children. From talking to him, I realised he was under the impression that most people with young children are having an easier time of it than they were and that he was somehow entitled to a different/happier/free-er sort of life... a bit like your brother, maybe.

His circle of friends piled in, we all said, no, this is what life with children is like for lots of people, and if you think it'll be different with someone else, you're a fool. He is a bright bloke, but I really believe he hadn't grasped this (maybe bcs men don't 'talk' as women do).

I'm sure our comments didn't swing it, but I do think they may have helped a bit. He went back (his wife is an extraordinarily strong and forgiving woman). Fingers crossed they seem to be good.

obimomkanobi Mon 16-Jul-07 09:25:12

My husband had one about 6 years ago. He started seeing a woman that he worked with, she was the love of his life yadda, yadda, yadda! I made him leave and he was all set on a new life...but he just woke up one day and realised it wasn't 'real' and it wasn't what he wanted. After muchos groveling he came back and we worked through the issues that had caused the situation to arise and are now very happy together.

anorak Mon 16-Jul-07 09:40:22

MyEye, I think your friends were very lucky to have friends who talked such good sense to them!

hurtwife Mon 16-Jul-07 10:45:05

Thats just it we dont talk enough - or listen. We are all wrapped up in our own independent lives and think that we should not 'interfere' in what other people are doing. Sometimes it takes someone to stand up and shout out the obvious - still would we listen?

shellycannon234 Thu 09-Oct-14 23:21:36

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

elliebellys Thu 09-Oct-14 23:43:17

Shelley,do one.take your spellcastor elsewhere.reported.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 09-Oct-14 23:57:47

I would talk to him if I were you, make him see what he will lose/is losing.
Something you say may be the key to making him snap out of it.
My friend dh had an emotional affair but was going to leave because he thought if he could do this then they weren't right together.
He never did sleep with ow, but it took my friend to point out that apart from access for his dc he wouldn't see her again.
Sounds so simple but it was hearing this that made him snap out of it.

worserevived Fri 10-Oct-14 08:44:14

I suspect your SIL will eventually emerge from the split happier, but your brother won't, unless she takes him back that is in which case who knows. Some people work things out, others don't, it depends entirely on the individuals concerned. It is incredibly draining, emotionally,and physically, living with a partner who is behaving like this. I feel for her.

I suspect that beneath the surface their is an affair, or the initial stages of one going on. How'd you feel about your brother then?

chrome100 Fri 10-Oct-14 14:26:36

A few years ago I left my DP of 7 years (no children involved). I was turning 30 and think I had a bit of a crisis about it. 6 months later, I bitterly regretted it and asked to come back. He hummed and haaed and then met someone whom he dated for a year.

After the year and the relationship were up, he decided he wanted me back, but I had just met someone and, being torn, decided to stick with the new guy. Ex met someone new too, they were together for a further 2 years.

During this time both of us missed each other terribly. We had the same friends so saw each other regularly. Although I was in love with my new partner I never stopped regretting walking away and losing my ex. No matter how hard we tried to forget each other, we couldn't. I was on the point of considering giving up my new life with my new partner to return when my ex was tragically killed in an accident.

I'm not sure what the point of this story is, but - I wish I had had listened when people (mainly my dad) tried to warn me off leaving, saying the grass is never greener. I suffered a classic "7 year itch" and can see now that I left a wonderful, perfectly decent guy for nothing.

Twinklestein Fri 10-Oct-14 14:36:54

Yeah I know two guys who both miss their ex-wives and regret ending their first marriages.

They don't know each other but they did the same thing, had affair with younger woman, split with wife, marry new woman to realise they didn't like the new one as much as the old one, and they really miss their kids.

One of them got manoeuvred into marriage by his OW's mum, despite not being keen, which I think rather serves him right.

StartinOverTheRainbow Fri 10-Oct-14 15:01:06

I've heard of people coming to their senses and have heard both sides... either the wife has moved on, realised she can do better, and when he comes crawling back she has told him where to go!

This will be me as even if he ever did want to come back, hell will freeze over before that happens with me! He may have left me, but that was probably the only positive contribution to our marriage he ever made. I'm well rid now and forever!

HampshireBoy Fri 10-Oct-14 15:11:25

Some couples do split and then realise how much they each mean to each other, but it is more common for the one who leaves to regret it and the other one move on.

It was a shock when my exW told me 3 years after our split that she had thought I was what was wrong with her life but she had now realised the problem was her and she realised she was drifting towards old age. I've moved on and am enjoying life, she is still wondering what to do.

OP, we none of us know what goes on within a marriage and interfering rarely ends well. All you can do is make clear that you are there to support, not pass on to either one of them anything the other tells you in confidence, and let them sort it out.

hellsbellsmelons Fri 10-Oct-14 15:56:42

Happened with my Ex.
He realised what he'd given up and wanted to try again.
Too late for me though. I'd moved on and realised what an arse he was.

Have they tried counselling to address issues?

ChildrenOfTheDamned Fri 10-Oct-14 17:05:16

Happened with my mum and dad. My mum had an affair and left my dad for OM. 17 years later she's still with the OM, but she bitterly regrets leaving my dad. She said she still loves my dad he was the love of her life and she's only still with OM because she's afraid of being alone. My dad on the other hand has stayed single and incredibly happy. He views my mum leaving as the best thing ever, he has come out of himself so much more and is no longer controlled by her. I also have a much better relationship with my dad now that my mum isn't around to interfere.

I think your brother may end up regretting his decision to leave and your SIL may end up happier.

socially Fri 10-Oct-14 17:09:27

Absolutely the person who leaves can regret it.

The grass is greener initially, but the OW (or OM) turns out to have just as many annoying habits as the wife or husband, funnily enough because they are also human.

No money because of child maintenance and the cost of divorce, kids who hate you or are at least distant....

Doesn't sound like a bundle of laughs to me. I bet there's loads of people regretting selling out on everything they had just for a shag.

HighHeelsandTequila Fri 10-Oct-14 17:17:25

Yes. I went through the classic midlife crisis.

Blaming me, changing overnight, monstrifying me, re-writing history, manipulation. I honestly look back on that first year and don't know how I didn't jump in front of a train. It was the most confusing and painful experience of my life and my lovely DH seemed to not even remotely care about what he was doing to me. Weeks before we'd renewed our vows. It was like being hit with a sledgehammer.

He was with her for only two months, and although he regretted it a bit then he felt he'd badmouthed me to his family and friends and there was no way back to he tried to get on with it.

18 months after it began, he showed up at my door. He told me I was the only person who'd truly loved him in his life and that we'd had a fantastic marriage. He told me for whatever reason he had been deeply unhappy in his life and thought it was me an it took a long time to realise that it wasn't and he'd made the wrong choice.

I had deeply loved him and our marriage was great. Being honest, I never stopped missing him (still do) and tears still drop out of my eyes even though I have a lovely new DP and have moved on.

Fact is though, regardless of how much I love him, he caused too much pain to me and DCs and if I took him back he'd not be that same man who I'd loved and trusted so much.

I think you can forgive and forget affairs, but it depends on the manner which they treated you. If they came to you crying, saying sorry with remorse and honesty that's one thing - but for the men who follow the midlife script then getting past that extreme emotional abuse is very hard.

My ex is still alone, still depressed and he ultimately ruined his whole life. I feel a lot of sympathy, but he broke us.

TheXxed Fri 10-Oct-14 17:18:21

The father of my son walked out on me when I was pregnant with our son. He took an FCO posting abroad, a few weeks ago he got in contact pleading with me to come back, although I do love him I dont think I can forgive him abandoning me when I needed him most.

I have decided to stay single I have realised that I am more resilient than I imagined and have built a happy life for me and my son on my own.

DharmaBumpkin Fri 10-Oct-14 18:45:44

Zombie thread!

Startingover54 Wed 29-Oct-14 17:44:07

Three weeks before our 20 year anniversary my husband tells me he doesn't want to be married anymore; that was 6 months ago.I had no idea and was (still am) traumatized. I thought we would be starting a whole new fun phase of life together. He apparently had been planning this for a year or so. He nurtured a relationship with his HS girlfriend and went to bed with her 2 weeks after telling me he didn't want to be married anymore. He broke my heart and betrayed my trust. I guess having a wife and daughter (grown) who loved him regardless and a beautiful home just sucked. I had a nervous breakdown while he is taking it all in stride. And I was an awesome wife...

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: