In the first place, I am not an authority on midlife or aging. My academic studies have centered not in psychology and sociology, but in theology, English literature, and technical communication.
Thus what follows is the opinion of a veteran not an expert. Here is advice from one who has walked where many of you are walking; simply put, these are words from a sympathetic fellow-struggler in this experience we call midlife.
See also "My Qualifications. Her professional counseling practice, which began in , focuses on adults in crisis, including those experiencing marital conflict, divorce, job loss and career change.
A recognized authority on these subjects, Susanne has been featured in such publications as New Woman, Self, Working Woman and Cosmopolitan. See also "There's Light at the End of the Tunnel. Just click here to view my policies on writing questions, and then here to ask your question. June 24, Q Hello, Why does it happen?
We were married almost 21yrs when my husband decided that I wasn't what he wanted. He moved in with a woman 9yrs younger than me, 12yrs younger than him. She is the opposite of me in everything she does and says. We are separated and he wants a divorce but wants to make sure he has to give me nothing. He tells our kids he loves me but not like he used to how?
I think he is confused because everything he has done has been done within 3months, He has only known this woman for 6 months. I would like to think our 21yrs will count when he finally realizes what he is doing but I wonder. I am afraid that if I get on with my life he will want to come back and if I don't take him it will only hurt him more and this time it really will be my fault.
Confused But Still Here A Dear Confused, Hopefully your counselor is helping you to focus on yourself and helping you to see that the problems that your husband has are his alone. Unfortunately in many of these instances the culprit does not see what he is doing This is not an easy time for him either.
As I've said in previous letters, you have NO control over him at this time. The only control that you have is how you will react to it and to find your self-esteem again. It is not until they have felt some of the reality that comes with this type of situation loosing half of everything that they start to focus more on what they stand to loose. Does your husband say he still loves you? That would up the odds some. Either way though, this is going to take time to resolve itself.
Continue to meet with your counselor if for no other reason than to have someone be there "for just you". Q Hi, My husband who is 46 recently lost his mother, his father passed away a few years ago and he and his brothers are not close at all. He is going thru the classic midlife thing. Instead of dealing with the grief, the estate, his business or anything that is real, he is out looking at a new career as a fitness trainer.. He has supposedly taken his space - which he spent with a friend near his favorite gym where he was able to go work out as often as he wanted.
While taking his space he was going to take a notebook and pen and write down his feelings. Well, we got together yesterday and he shared his writings with me. He said nothing at all about feelings, it was more like a to-do list and a list on how he would get himself established as a fitness trainer. The only things on his list that had to do with us were goal setting.
They spend a lot of time together 20 Hrs a week. I know they are not involved physically but nevertheless it is some kind of relationship.
I am unable to talk to him about much of anything without him becoming defensive. I have heard that it is best to just wait it out - if you can stand it.
I am seeing a counselor. Do You have any suggestions? A Dear Patient The death of your husband's parents has made him at some level realize his own mortality and it sounds like midlife has set in.
As is typical in this stage, he wants to escape, to live and fulfill some of the dreams that he's had in the past. Of course this cannot be done. We can't change time and the length that we've lived. Let me point out that this time of life is difficult for both parties.
Your husband is in a lot of emotional pain, as are you. Yours is as a result of his actions; his is as a result of dealing with the tremendous losses that he's dealing with and the life that, he feels, he's lived "unlived.
Is he willing to go to marriage counseling or is he totally detached? If he's not willing to go to counseling, go alone. I definitely recommend that you see a counselor that will help you deal with this pain and anger that you have to be feeling, and will help you to find your self-esteem, which by now has to be severely bruised and battered. Or join a women's support group, but do something that will help you to not feel so isolated.
Click here for a free trial. June 15, Q Hello, I have read all of your responses and can relate to all of this. We have two children 13 and 9 and the trauma and heartbreak they have experienced is unimaginable. We went the counseling route initially, however, the last time both of us went, the counselor got a little too close to his problem so he has bailed on that! I realize that he is struggling with a "crisis" of his own, but of course, is adamantly denying that has anything to do with his mindset at all.
I am continuing to go, as are the children, so I know that we will survive. I am striving to take her advice and do those things for MYSELF and concentrate on my own happiness, but it is difficult never having really concentrated on ME alone for my entire life.
As with most of the other information I have seen, he blames me for all of his unhappiness with the marriage. I didn't do this, or did too much of that, never had the time for him that he needed, didn't share things with him, etc. I know that the blame, anger and guilt he spews at me is a cover for the anger and guilt he feels himself, but this "new" him is simply mean and cruel at times and very difficult to take.
He knows all of the buttons to push on me and it is very tough to not turn around and revert to that behavior which got us to this point in the first place. Right now he simply doesn't want to work on our relationship, says it's over and wants to move on with his life! I know that he is in the middle of an affair with a younger woman she's 28 , however, he continues to lie about seeing this person even though they have been seen together and, this being a small town, rumors are running rampant.
I have accepted that this is going on, but my question is Or do I just keep this knowledge to myself and continue on with my and the children's life? A bit of history to be considered also It took him six more months to realize that his life was with his family and he came back to us. I told him then that I could not handle the lying and deceit again!!! When he returned, he told all he knew how much stronger it had made our relationship and that he was very happy he had made the choice he did.
Recently, my sister and her husband, with whom we are close, went through a similar situation and even then, my husband and I discussed the affair and lying issues. Still he continues to do the same to me. What should I do?? I love this man with all of my heart! We have been together for 20 years, married for 18 anniversary in 3 weeks! Right now, I understand, that he is not the person I have known all these years and I have read all of the wonderful books, talked to counselor, and am trying to take control of MY life.
I can be patient, and I even realize that my life may be lived without him, but I am struggling with how to handle the times when we MUST interact the children, etc. These websites are the source of much inspiration to me, just knowing that I am not alone in my feelings and emotions has helped immensely. To all who are going through a similar situation -- moment by moment, day by day!
Thanks to everyone for sharing A Dear Hoping, It's easy to see how your husband does not see how his "lying" is the same as that happened with your sister's affair. If he did, then he your husband would have to take responsibility for his own lying. And since he does not want to deal with any reality or consequences to his present behavior, he doesn't recognize it in anyone else.
I don't doubt that you love your husband. A 20 year marriage is a sad thing to end. I question though, HIS commitment to it. YOU and you alone, need to decide what you need out of this marriage. Is the security, or perceived security, more important than his betraying you? Did he see the light last time? What is different now?
You need to work these issues out with a counselor. That is, what are you willing to settle for and why? Are you more afraid of "beginning new" than staying in an adulterous relationship? The bottom line is that you cannot change HIM. You have no control over him The only control that you now have is how YOU will react to this situation?