Midlife Crisis and Infidelity

midlife crisis and infidelityMidlife crisis and infidelity is an incredibly complicated subject and one that has been the topic of volumes of books and research journals.  This post will touch on the highlights.

The subject came up the other day from one of our readers about midlife crisis and infidelity.  His question specifically asked about statistics on marriage recovery from midlife crisis and whether methods addressed on this blog help with recovery from midlife crisis complicated by an affair.  

I felt it was an excellent topic and one that I can somewhat relate to, so here we go.

I’m not sure if we have mentioned this on here before, but when Linda and I had our very emotional discussion after she discovered all of my phone calls and texts to Tanya, we talked about my losing my loving feelings for her and the possibility that it could have been caused by a midlife crisis.  In fact, I even went to our family doctor to talk to him about it, which was somewhat enlightening at the time.

We had a good discussion and he basically explained to me what a midlife crisis was and then prescribed some sort of anti-depressant medication for me.  I took the meds for a few weeks and then stopped as I didn’t really notice anything different, other than being tired and groggy most of the time.

Yesterday I did a little bit of research on the subject and what follows will be some of what I found out, along with some other resources that might help if anyone wants to do their own fact finding. 

Obviously this is an incredibly complicated subject and one that has been the topic of volumes of books and research journals.  This post will just touch on the highlights.

What is a Midlife Crisis?

On one website I found the following description of what a midlife crisis is:

Midlife crisis is a term used to describe a period of dramatic self-doubt that is typically felt in the “middle years” of life, as people sense the passing of youth and the imminence of old age. Sometimes, transitions experienced in these years, such as aging in general, menopause, the death of parents, or children leaving home can trigger such a crisis. The result may be a desire to make significant changes in core aspects of day to day life or situation, such as in career, marriage, or romantic relationships.

It was interesting to note that academic research since the 1980s rejects the notion of midlife crisis as a phase that most adults go through. In one study, less than 10% of people had psychological crises due to their age or aging. Rather, personality type and a history of psychological crisis are believed to predispose some people to this “traditional” midlife crisis.

Many middle aged adults experience major life events that can cause a period of psychological stress, anxiety or depression, such as the death of a loved one, or a career setback. However, those events could have happened earlier or later in life, making them a “crisis,” but not necessarily a midlife one. In the same study, 15% of middle-aged adults experienced this type of midlife turmoil.

Additional statistics, according to Cornell sociologist Elaine Wethington, state that more than 25 percent of Americans over age 35 think they have had a midlife crisis, but more than half of these were no more than stressful life events.  She says that women are just as likely as men to believe they have had a midlife crisis.

“Wethington reported that one-fourth of her adult population sample said they had experienced a midlife crisis; of those aged between 40 and 53, however, about one-third thought they had had one. The average age of the “crisis” was 46. About one-fifth of those who said they had suffered a midlife crisis said it was the result of their awareness that they were aging and time was passing them by. Few connected the crisis to feelings of impending mortality or approaching death.

How Long Does Midlife Crisis Last?

The simplest answer I found was, “Until the transition is completed. Until all values can be sorted out and the person accepts being a midlife person instead of a young adult.”

“Generally, a midlife crisis takes three to five years. During the first year or so, tension and anxiety will gradually increase, as well as some lifestyle changes. The middle phase can be quite traumatic, including depression, running away, or a drastic job change.

After values are sorted and realigned, a gradual, but fluctuating, coming-down from anxiety occurs. There is a return, surprisingly, to life structures quite similar to the previous ones, only now more refined, focused, and effective.”

What About Divorce?

Contrary to stereotypes, modern divorce is not primarily a phenomenon of male (or female) “midlife crisis.” Examining worldwide statistics on divorce reveals that 81% of all divorces occur before age 45 among women; 74% of all divorces occur before age 45 among men. In the United States, the median age at divorce from a first marriage in 1990 was 33.2 for men and 31.1 for women.

Affair Recovery and Midlife Crisis

To be honest, I couldn’t find much on this specifically, but what I did find seems to advise methods very similar to those that we have written about on this blog previously:  Taking care of yourself, keeping things positive, protecting your family, etc.

I think the difference is that a midlife crisis can morph into more serious issues such as an adjustment disorder, anxiety and/or depression, which might indicate the need for more intense therapy or perhaps medications .

Additional Resources

Audio:

How to Survive Your Spouse’s Midlife Crisis:  In this audio, Larry Bilotta will help you make sense of what a midlife crisis REALLY is, why it’s happening to your spouse and how to end the chaos that is destroying your family.

Websites:

http://www.midlife.com/ Click on the “Free Resources” tab at the top of the page for some decent articles.

http://www.midlifecrisismarriageadvocate.com/index.html This site is based on a real couple’s experiences with a midlife crisis and infidelity. There is also a blog and a forum.

http://midlifeclub.com/ This site also has a forum and several other resources listed.

http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/March01/midlife.crises.ssl.html :  An article discussion more of the statistics found in the Wethington study mentioned above.

http://lifetwo.com/production/topic/midlife-crisis Nice site with lots of articles and info about midlife crises.

http://lifetwo.com/production/midlife-crisis-book-top 20-questions about midlife crisis.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/search/apachesolr_search/mid%20life%20crisis%20and%20infidelity?keys=affairs&x=25&y=8 General search results for midlife crisis and infidelity on the Psychology Today website.  Most articles written by professional therapists and/or psychologists.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/health/seniors/stories/midlife042099.htm Interesting Washington Post article: “Midlife Without a Crisis.”

http://lifetwo.com/production/node/20060719-are-male-and-female-midlife-crises-different Article:  Are Male and Female Midlife Crises Different?”

http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/isdivorcethesolution/a/get_a_life.htm Article about how to respond to your spouse’s midlife crisis.

Books:

We have not had an opportunity to read any of the books listed here, but these have been referred by other sources.  I would suggest you check out the first one, The Seasons of a Man’s Life, in Amazon and then enter the titles of the other books listed in the search form and go from there.

The Seasons of a Man’s Life by Daniel J. Levinson

Awakening At Midlife by Kathleen A. Brehony

Mid-Life Psychological and Spiritual Perspectives by Janice Brewi and Anne Brennan

Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis. by Jim and Sally Conway

How to Survive Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis: Strategies and Stories from the Midlife Wives Club by Gay Courter and Pat Gaudette

The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife by James Hollis

Understanding the Mid-Life Crisis by Peter A. O’Connor

In Midlife by Murray  Stein

I hope this helps those who are interested.  I’m not sure I was able to thoroughly answer the questions originally asked.  Perhaps some of the additional resources listed might provide more complete answers.

Please feel free to share any information or personal stories that you feel might be beneficial.

LINESPACE

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22 Responses to Midlife Crisis and Infidelity

  1. roller coaster rider May 26, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Doug, interesting topic. I think midlife issues may be responsible for lots of what we see in our marriages, both good and bad. My H was never a womanizer, never someone I would have suspected could ever do what he did this past year. One thing I will say, though, is that (maybe) due to a very dysfunctional family of origin and life circumstances, he has never allowed himself much in the way of introspection and has always self-medicated for stress and anxiety-reduction. That has been a source of conflict for years, and a change in jobs may have been partly responsible for him thinking he had a ‘right’ to this other relationship. It’s still hard for him not to do a mental disconnect when it comes to opening up to me; he often checks out and lets work-related needs dominate his thinking. I’m sometimes as a loss right now; how much should I expect/require…I am so used to just being okay with whatever, and I don’t want to just drift right back to ‘status quo’ now that we have had this catastrophic event, or series of events. It would be nice to think that healing and restoration would include emotional intimacy…but I struggle with what to say, what to ask, how much to just chalk up to ‘that’s the way things are.’ I don’t really want to be the intitiator all the time, but he never (or almost never) takes that role. Help…

    • Rick May 30, 2011 at 10:18 am #

      Like all of you I am going through the same roller coaster. We separated and really have begun talking. The influence this man has on her is at time mind boggling. We were fine and moving forward, ti include spending nights together. She opened up tom me on a text saying, she had a rough night. which i asked regarding what. Her live and the confusion in it. We had lunch later on and after asking, she mentioned him. Throughout the past 2 months after this came to a head, I have begun expressing myself regarding him. She is listening and I know that all the 6 years of hurts feelings will take time to overcome but sometimes I feel it”s a race against the clock.

      We’ve been to counseling and she has stated on many occasion the she wants to work on our relationship and at times I am my worst enemy. But she said on this da, “that I can tell him everything” This relationship is by letter only and has been going on for 5 months. I read one and saw that he directly didn”t say leave or I was a bad guy. Definite flirting but contrast what I was doing to what he would have done. Most of what I read was b/s and a pity party but I must admit that our communication had broken down for quite some time and she was very lonely. I said how I felt about him and the position he is in his life and left it at that.

      Concentrating on reconnecting and understanding that she is also going thru a mid-life crisis (very abusive first marriage, no father, constantly in a survival mode with her teenage sons, mother’s recent passing.). She is in a lot of pain too ( has told me many times when she”s broken down, “how she can’t understand some of the things she’s done. I’m a moral person, I don’t do things like this.”)! Told her if she wants to find out if he’s the one then just tell me. I want her to be happy, she won”t give an answer. Heard the I love you but not in love with you line 2 months ago. Learned to watch more then trust what she’s saying directly to me. Tends to backtrack when she gets unsure.

      I do know she loves me but it’s a push pull at times. I initiate but lately she is touching more. It is tough being on the other side and I have gotten down more then once, knowing what is in store today. Learned from the counselor and many friends that he is irrelevant. Sometimes that’s hard to see but whenever I step back and look at this as if it was a friend going thru this, I can understand better. Have faith and realize that this is a test of what love really means. In the end if it shouldn’t workout like I wish then I will be incredible in my next relationship. Rick

  2. B May 26, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    Just wanted to update you all on where I stood. Since yesterday was D-Day and she finally admitted that she “had feelings for him” and that she “enjoyed talking and texting him way more than she should have”, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t really know what to say because none of it was really a surprise because my gut had been telling me this all along. She maintains nothing has ever gone physical, but there is too much evidence to suggest it has. Spending the night out of town together (although they had separate hotel rooms), the fact that she all of a sudden changed the way she shaves/grooms herself down (well you get the idea) are all giant red flags. I didn’t press her when I got home, but she did offer up the same old “I just won’t talk to him anymore” comment which I have heard far too often. I did ask her for a couple of answers, but she had nothing to give me. She did say that she didn’t have a concrete answer for everything and she wasn’t going to give me one. She did say that a few months ago she realized things were getting out of control and that they had a “talk” about keeping it professional because she was married. She said from that point forward it has been professional, but I asked her if it was so professional why did you feel the need to call him at 9:00 at night on Monday after you two had been together all day? She said she respected him and wanted to let him know she wasn’t going to the casino. I told her that was bullshit and that she hasn’t ended anything, just gotten better at hiding it. Just when I thought we had made real progress, we are back at square 1. I’m very angry today and instead of calling her and wasting my breath on an argument, I’m going to email her and let her know that I won’t tolerate anymore. Anyone else have any suggestions?

    • ppl May 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      you should stop pressing for details and educate yourself. you need to go to councelling as soon as possilbe. i am very independent professional and did not do this myself and regret it to this day. she will not admit anything and you will only push her away at this point and deepen the divide. do not go it alone. cannot stress this enough. this site maybe helpful but it is not a substitute for the councelling and advice you will hopefully get.

    • roller coaster rider May 26, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

      B, for me, being really, really angry just after D-Day was pivotal. It helped me to make decisions and do things I might have otherwise been too scared to even contemplate. In looking back, I think taking a hard line was so important in my CS waking up to what he was losing…not just me, but our home and our life, all the history together we had written over the past decades. If I had only stayed in the pain, I don’t think I could have done anything but curl up in a corner.

  3. E May 26, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    B, I’ve been keeping up with you for a couple of days (still kind of new to the site) and wow, but your story sounds so much like mine! When D-day happened for me, my H did not know what he wanted and he fully admitted that. It killed me, and for about a week I hung on to hope (still denying) and the week after that, I let it/him go. I had to – for my own sanity. If you really think it’s not over, I would try to get yourself to that point. Perhaps a trusted friend or family member can help you talk things out. During this second week, I did not see or speak to him at all. But instead, I did things with other people – friends, family, kept myself very busy, etc. I made it a point to avoid him at home (not always easy, I know). Within 5 days, things turned around drastically. He ended it with her and told me he wanted to save “us”. Zero contact was the deal … no negotiating this one. I know that your W works with this guy, but if she ends it, agrees to no contact and if you can afford for her to quit her job – I’d do it. I cannot say that this would happen for you, but bottom line for me – I had to let him go, to get him back. We still have a lot of work to do, and a long way to go but I am more hopeful with every day that passes. Wishing you the best!

    • B May 26, 2011 at 11:50 am #

      E-
      That is just it they don’t work together. They are competing sales reps for different companies selling the same product. They never have to even speak. The world I live in right now is a world where my wife says she wants me, shows me affection, but throughout the day calls/texts him. It is almost like she is having two relationships and I think the golf outing Monday finally put her guilt over the top. I don’t think she knows what she wants, but she isn’t ready to say that out-loud. I emailed her this morning and told her that from this point forward I was only concerned about me and the kids. I wasn’t moving out and I wasn’t concerning myself with her behavior anymore. I told her ZERO contact was a necessary component to move in the right direction. I haven’t heard from her, she is avoiding me because she knows that there is no more lies to tell and no more excuses to offer up.

  4. JS May 26, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    B-
    I can only offer you advice based on what I wish I had done. I said I wanted no contact, he said ok, and then I found evidence that there was still contact. I wish, in retrospect, that I had made him move out that day. I didn’t becuase I wanted to make things work. But he never once had the ‘oh my God, she’s going to leave me if I don’t stop this’ feeling, so he kept controlling everything for several more months. Then after the billionth reassurance from him that they had no contact, I found a joke email they were both on where he replied to all in that same flirty tone I can’t stand. Then I found out they do have work emails together due to cases they are on together. So now do I throw him out because he has legitimate work dealings with her? All these months later, when he really does seem to be committed again? What I desperately wish I had done is demanded no contact, regardless of job impact. He doesn’t HAVE to work with her – he very well could have said sorry, don’t contact me, if you have any questions, they need to go through someone else because I won’t respond personally or professionally to you or have any contact with you whatsoever. If his marriage mattered more to him than she did, he would have done that but he didn’t. And I tolerated it, and now I wonder every day if they talk about work stuff. I don’t feel things will really get better between us as long as there is any contact between them. Tell your wife very specifically what you won’t tolerate and back it up – don’t just tell her in general terms or she will take advantage of it. And I agree with E – as hard as it is, do things and live your life without her as a factor so she sees you’re not moping around waiting for her to make a decision, you are enjoying a full life regardless of her choice. I hope it goes well.

    • B May 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

      JS-

      I agree. I feel the same way. If our marriage was her number one concern, she wouldn’t still be talking to him or going to functions where he is at. It is very easy to step away and do her job without his input. She has chosen to continue the communication even in the face of all my heartache. I will survive and I will come out stronger.

      • JS May 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

        B-
        You are exactly right. You know what? Just typing what I did earlier today prompted me to ask myself why I’m not demanding no contact now and backing it up. So I did. I told him today I expect absolutely no contact whatsoever, work or person, that I am not concerned about what it will take to implement this, and that any contact will be considered a betrayal and I cannot take one more betrayal from him. I said if he cannot make this promise, then we need to discuss our next steps (i.e. split). He said he promises. I don’t want to lose this marriage, and I do hope we can recover long term, and I continue to work on myself as a person separate from this marriage, but I need a boundary here. I know after all I’ve been through in the past 18 months, I am strong enough to throw him out if he breaks this promise, but I wasn’t when I first found out. I cannot and will not live in that woman’s shadow any longer. Thank you, B, for inspiring me through your story to the point that I could make this demand, and thank you, Linda or Doug (can’t remember which one of you said this), for saying the marriage cannot move forward if there is still any contact with the OW. I thought I could handle them still having work cases together, but I realize now that contact between them is what has held me back from being able to move forward. I felt “badly” for him if he had to maneuver around her to get his job done, because what will people think at work about why he’s doing that and acting squirrely and running things through other people and that might embarrass him? And then I realized I really don’t care. In fact, she’s damned lucky to still have a job there considering I could have easily sent 9 months of text records to her boss showing that from 8-5 every day she was sending hundreds and hundreds of texts to my husband instead of working. Texting is technically not allowed there, and I could have easily ruined her job. (He is self-employed and not paid by them so he would have been safe.) I think no contact is quite a fair compromise as opposed to getting her fired and having the office know she’s a homewrecker.

  5. E May 26, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Hang in there B, I think you are doing the right thing.

  6. ppl May 26, 2011 at 12:45 pm #

    have become convinced that my wife’s EA related to a midlife crisis. most of symptoms same but the duration of symptoms 3 yrs and changes in her life point to midlife crisis as kids dont need her as much and going off to school have left a void. i initially thought great at least a reason but with my reading midlife crisis have very poor outcomes with a higher (authors dont state numbers) percentage of divorces than simple affairs. initial responses, like affairs are counter productive with pushing spouse away, anger etc. in my reading as well most midlife crisis are associated with affairs but i wonder if the affair just makes it more likely to be recognized. most sites suggest working on yourself and if i can read between lines, prepare for your separate life. let them do their own things sounds counter intuitive to me but that seems to be the advice most offer. thanks doug for the information and sources.

  7. B May 26, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    Well my wife sent me a text around 11:04 today and said “I hope your day is going good”. Then she called me at 1:08 for the first time today and again at 1:27. I was on lunch duty at the time so I missed both calls. When I didn’t pick up she texted “I assume you are ignoring my calls, no need to call me back”.

    She then called back a third time, I answered and she said “I am not sure how you want me to respond to your email, but I cancelled our plans for the weekend”. I told her that she didn’t have to respond because anything she says is only a 1/2 truth. I told her that I didn’t care anymore because she had taken the fight completely out of me. I told her that I had drawn my line, I wasn’t going to leave our home and that I expected her to figure out what she wanted and make a decision. I informed her that she could no longer have a husband and a friend that came between us so one of us has to go and I don’t care which one because I just want to live again on a consistent basis, not for a few weeks at a time. She had nothing to say except, “I’ll see you when you get home”.

    Later on she texted “Sorry for the pain I have caused us. I am ready for a fresh start and will prove it. Enough said.”

    Why do cheating spouses cause all this chaos with their betrayal and the minute their spouses show real strength they cower and want to make it all right? That or they become angry that you have finally chosen to stop putting up with their garbage. Are they scared or is it just another attempt at pulling the wool over your eyes?

  8. Melvin May 26, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    B,

    I went several weeks watching them text and call each other before D-Day arrived. It was tough putting on a happy face one minute while she was texting him the other. After our D-Day I did what you have done. Put my foot down. Him or me. She told me at that time she wanted to give us a chance. So, with her approval, I blocked their phones. No Contact. She sould want to dothis if she really wants to commit to you.

    Has she admitted to an EA? It took weeks for my wife to understand what it was she was doing. There is a link yesterday to the 10 steps – danger zones. Have her fill that out and share with you.

    What we did then was both go to separate counseling. My counselor was really good, gave me a method for approaching her calmly. That is key to getting her to give you truthful answers. He was very good at role-playing with me, coaching me on how to question her and get answers.

    The key, according to my counselor (and Doug actually confirmed) was to set up an environment that she can feel confortable responding. If you throw heat at her, she will clam up. My DW did this when I was angry. Figure out what answers you really want. Set up private time, ask them in a calm method, take them as such and don’t fire back. Truthful or not.

    Get this manual: How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful by Linda J. MacDonald M.S. Cheap, short and to the point. It was a great help getting my DW to move forward and help me heal.

    Best to you. Sounds like you have a chance of repairing your marriage – if you both really want to.

  9. Melvin May 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    B,

    One last note – your wife sounds a like mine. When I push and become overbearing, she withdraws. My counselor called it bullying. I didn’t quite agree but I listened and took his words seriously. It helped. One of my previous posts here I recall that she thanked me for making her feel confortable answering my questions.

    Hope this helps. 2 cents spent.

    Best always.

    • B May 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      Melvin-

      Even though I don’t know you, I can assure you that you are someone who has helped me tremendously. My foot has been put down and the ball is in her court. I love her, but I will no longer share her with anyone. Especially not some 25 year old scumbag who lives with his parents. And yes even though she doesn’t agree with the term EA, she has admitted to enjoying his company way too much and having feelings for him. I’m hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

  10. Paula May 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

    Doug

    Thank you for that, there’s a lot of research there! Whilst I do not blame what happened to us wholly on midlife crisis, I am very aware that this happened during my H’s mid 40s, after he had made some MAJOR business and lifestyle changes (involving major disruption in his family, his two sisters consequently attempting to sue us, but that’s another story!) without consulting with me. This unilateral dictatorship that he created was so foreign and upsetting to me, that I dived into mild depression, and I was angry with him, but didn’t communicate that with him properly, he felt I emotionally abandonend him, and I can see how he thought that, in order to look after myself and our children, as I was very concerned that the decisions he had made were going to cost us financially, big time. I re-trained and got a great new job – I had previously worked incredibly happily alongside him in our successful business, for 18 years – but the new job turned into a monster, with 70 hour weeks being worked, and me never fully “switching off” from it, I was invigorated, but incredibly stressed out. Enter my good “friend” ( she lives a few hours away, but is originally from our small town, I had known her since primary school days, and, weirdly, her mother had taught our two younger children, and I considered her a friend, too) who was VERY available to listen. As he said, he realises even this EA aspect probably wasn’t that sensible, but I wasn’t initially threatened by it. I treated it like it was a way that he was getting his “therapy.” It was ages after they had “crossed the line” and the EA had turned physical, before I started getting antsy about how I seemed to know so much about this woman’s daily whereabouts – she travels internationally regularly for her work – and what her son was up to, as he used the policy of letting me know about his friendship with her to cover the fact of the affair, figuring that I wouldn’t suspect anything if he just talked about her normally – just omitting the drives up to her place, and the sex, etc, while I was at work!

    My link to midlife crisis is, that I am so disappointed that my friendship with this woman counted for nothing when push came to shove. I believe when things started getting out of hand, and it happened quickly, a friend SHOULD have said to him, “wow, you’re in a bad place, you need to sort this out with your wife, and then if you can’t, leave, and then we can see if we can pursue something.” Ideal world stuff. She should have seen the typical midlife crisis signs, I did, but he wouldn’t talk to me, because he felt I had emotionally abandoned him, which wasn’t true, I just was very busy, and when I did regularly try to get him to open up, as I knew the turmoil of our lives must be affecting him, he just brushed it all aside with, “I’m fine.”

    He feels like an idiot, he now knows that he didn’t deal with his feelings in an appropriate manner, can’t believe he did the “weak, male thing, when a woman waves her bits at you,” as he puts it, you gotta admire his sense of humour! Once he eventually started to understand the damage done, several months after D-Day, he sent me a text at work (I had resigned, and gone back to working with him just before I discovered the affair, but was back temping, part-time for my old boss, which was working out well). The text was the lyrics to Mumford & Sons, Little Lion Man, but well before it was released as a single, I hadn’t heard the song, and it seemed so very poignant. I knew then that he understood the pain he had caused, to all three of us.

    “It was not your fault, but mine. It was your heart on the line. I really fucked it up this time, didn’t I my dear.”

    Turning point? Maybe. We are better and better with every passing second of every day.

  11. Morrigan May 27, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    Thank you for all the links Doug.

    When D-day happened, which will be 1 year on June 13th (yes, I am having some anxiety these last few days), I went to the doctors for a regular yearly appt. and I broke down to my doctor, crying on the table.

    She was the first person to tell me “don’t give up” to her it sounded like a mid-life crisis or transition. She also told me she sees this (infidelity of some type) with people on a daily basis. We had bought our first house, our first mortgage only 2 weeks prior. I have had another doctor tell me that for him, purchasing a house with someone freaked them out more then marrying a person. He said with buying the house you committed to a 30 mortgage with another person, it is easier to get a divorce these days then sell a house and split belongings. I am not so sure now that his take on it was true after reading what people go through with divorces! Anyways, my CS really freaked out. He himself never thought he would make this far in life, what did all this mean? He could hang with her and get lost in the fantasy of just drinking all night, no responsibilities. On all accounts I truly believe he had to relive his 20’s again to know that at age 38, that type of life wasn’t what he wanted anymore. There are many other signifiers to a mid life transition for him that I won’t get into, too lengthy! But he definitely had the upbringing of an abusive life and internalizing and compartmentalizing his emotions, I know he has been dealing with those ghosts this past year.

    I am scared. I’m curious how others have dealt with these two things… first is D-Day! All of a sudden, although things have been going great, my mind has brought me back to last summer and all of those things are resurfacing. It’s awful, I feel like I’m right back there.

    Second, when do you allow your heart to trust them again. I can tell I am letting down all my guards now, things feel so much better between us, he is making such improvements on himself. Our communication is so much better as is our sex life. As far as I can tell he has had no contact since last August when he told me he made a decision on his own to stop.

    I am so scared right now of letting the good take me away and walls start to come down, what if…and i don’t want to live in the what if…I also know that the walls can’t remain up to move forward. I am having a very difficult time trusting myself right now. Is anyone else dealing with this? Trusting yourself to love and trust them and the relationship again?

  12. Melvin May 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Morrigan,

    Trust is my #1 issue with our relationship these days. Yes, I deal with it on a daily basis (we are just 3 months from D-Day). How do you rebuild that trust ? When do you “drop the walls” as you say ?

    DW earned my trust from my 20 years with her. She told me she was going to have lunch with her ex-fiance for the first time in over 15 years. This was about a year ago. I reluctantly approved (because I trusted her). And she enjoyed the visit, telling me that they reminisced about the past and caught up on people they knew. I thought that was it. Many months later, her behavior gave her away. And the phone records backed up my suspicions. She denied it at first, lied about her discussions and hid other private visits that she initiated. She basically broke my trust in her. Part of it was a Mid-Life Crisis, the bigger part was her just being selfish.

    So when do you trust yourself to trust them again ? Unfortunately, there is no timetable to refer to. No roadmap to cress-reference. Trust is earned, not given away freely. Your mate has to earn your trust, day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month. By promises backed up by action. It’s much like our teens – we give them a little rope to do things on their own. When they prove to be responsible, we give them a little more rope. Sometimes they go too far and we have to pull the rope back in. It’s all about earning trust, little by little. For us that have been cheated on, trust is a rebuilding process that has no clock.

    Stay strong. Time is on your side. Time will heal all wounds. I truly believe that. Enjoy and live in the moment, the rest will take care of itself. Fortunately, with the advent of the Internet, there are many places (like this one) to turn to for advice, help or just to vent/complain.

    Best always.

    • Morrigan May 31, 2011 at 10:26 am #

      Thank you Melvin, I truly hope that time will heal all these wounds. Right now they feel horrible. I am coming up on D-day in a couple weeks and for some reason I have been freaking out internally. I am suddenly so insecure and hurt, like I was last summer. I haven’t had a down like this in awhile and its making wonder and think about so much I thought I had surpassed.

  13. michael May 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    B,
    I’m sorry for your hurt. I’m happy for your strength. But a year and a half later with countless lies to me, to a therapist and even here on this blog. I still don’t trust my wife, and I may never.
    I have no wise words today.
    Other than to say, sorry. I know how you feel. It sucks.

  14. Rollercoasterider May 29, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Doug,

    Thank you for the link and that book list looks a bit familiar! Those are all excellent books by the way.

    You did an excellent job of distilling some of the MLC basics–especially in reviewing the sources that point out that MLC is not an epidemic and a guarantee for marriage at midlife.

    But I did want to add another resource.

    http://www.fortysixty.org/
    This also includes a forum and it is run by a couple who came through his MLC.

    My site, on the otherhand, is not specifically based on my experience. I used my experience with Sweetheart as a starting point, but since each MLCer is an individual, each situation will have differences. I actually write very little that is specific from my situation, only referencing little things on occasion. But my articles are based on research and what I have learned through the variety of situations in the forums.

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