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Author Topic: My Story 25 years and my wife walked out the door

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My Story 25 years and my wife walked out the door
OP: February 05, 2024, 06:18:23 AM
For 25 years I was happily married. 2 kids (22 and 19), a dog and a beautiful home. Happy.

My wife started a new job as an airline flight attendant almost a year ago. It was a dream job for her believe it or not, she loved to fly and was always fascinated with flight. I couldn't be happier after she lost her party business during the pandemic.  We talked about weekends away and all the discount/free flying we were going to get. January 6 she walked out of the house and is now renting an apartment, she wants a legal separation.

I started noting changes in her behavior over the summer. More selfish, less friendly, less interested in the kids and less interested in me.  Substantial weight loss, 2 tattoos and some late and uncharacteristic drinking nights with some "new friends" at the golf club rounded things out as we came into fall. We have several friends and neighbors that we did dinners and shows with but I also noticed she was always using flying as an excuse not to do things with them.  She was definitely off.

I was really hoping to get things back on track with a cruise we had booked in conjunction with our 25th anniversary. After our 25th I wanted to discuss some details about our trip - she literally freaked out and said she didn't want to go and thought we needed a break or some time apart. "Love you but not in love with you" literally came right out of her mouth.  I was crushed, shocked and disturbed by the fear and terror in her eyes. I had never seen this before.

In 25 years I never doubted our love, never dreamed of being with anyone but her.  Obviously we had our ups and downs but we rarely fought and always got along. Counseling about 10 years ago helped a little with some issues at the time but I always felt there were unresolved issues from her childhood. I don't know exactly what they are but seemed to involve her father. Both parents have passed now. I suggested couples counseling again - she said there  was no point.

As Christmas approached things got worse. I was reading up on MLC and I was pretty sure that was the source of her behavior, her withdrawal from the family and her narcissistic ways.  She did nothing for Christmas for the kids, didn't decorate the house as usual and told my daughter "she wasn't into Christmas this year". I scrambled to pick up the slack and make sure my kids has presents, a nice Christmas dinner and  decorated as best I could. She was home for part of Christmas day and then had to work in the afternoon. It was sad and depressing. She was completely disinterested in being home.

The last week at home my wife had an eye infection and blamed me for it not going away, said it was stress related. She was miserable to everyone in the house that week and was completely self absorbed in own problem, nothing else. We all avoided her at home as much as possible, walking on egg shells big time. When she left it was almost a relief in a way but it was also the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. My wife was gone.

Looking back and reflecting, she is definitely in a full MLC.  She is not my wife. I am scared, sick to my stomach and worried about her every day. I know I have to leave her be for now and there is little I can do. My kids have told her to get help or they won't go see her. I'm a wreck.
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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#1: February 05, 2024, 06:40:23 AM
Hi and welcome to the party that no one EVER wanted to be invited to.

A couple of things right up front. I would HIGHLY suggest you change your screen name to something a little less identifiable. We have a basic rule that nothing that could personally identify a member should be posted, including screen names. This is because this is an openly accessible public forum and Mid-Lifers have been known to stalk the LBS here. If you post things that can be personally traced back, it looks great in divorce court (shoudl it come to that).

Second, your kids are old enough to be able to know a rat when they smell it and have already called her out. Be prepared that she will monster on them as well as you. Anyone who expects any kind of accountability form her will automatically be classified as "the enemy." Your kids are also old enough to have their own relationship with her. You don't need to run interference for them. However, they will be looking to you to be the stable parent as W goes further and further off the rails....

Third, as you've already noticed, her habits have changed and so have her priorities. Things like budgeting for the future. Make sure that your finances are protected because, in their search for "happy," Mid-Lifers can burn through money like a hot knife through warm butter...

Other than that, I am really sorry that you needed to find us but, at the same time, glad that you have. You'll see that this community is full of people that will have experienced things very similar to you. There will be lots of advice offered. Take what is useful to you, discard that which is not useful to you.

This is a long, drawn out process that lasts for years. This is NOT a sprint to the finish but rather an ultra-marathon slog through the mud with no guarantee of success at the finish line. Some Mid-Lifers get their heads out of their ..... fog. Other's don't. Some couple reconnect, some don't, some reconcile, some don't.  Each of us has to find our own way through this minefield called MLC but you have support here within this group .
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

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A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#2: February 05, 2024, 07:07:45 AM
So sorry you need to find yourself here but glad you found us. It is still very early days for you and the kids, so I imagine you are all reeling a bit.

You said she wants a legal separation. Have you taken legal advice where you live on your options? And what do YOU want given the cards in your hand as you see them?

One of the sobering things as an old hand here is that, sadly, things almost always get worse and feel worse before they start to evolve into some version of better that you can live with. I don’t know how conjoined your finances are, or your financial situation if you separate. I would agree with UM about doing what you need to do to protect your family’s long term financial interests though. Who is paying for her new abode? Sadly too, the chances that there are OM/men in the mix is high…..very few folks who act this way do not have an affair, and her new work environment is sadly rather notorious for it, so you may need to prepare yourself for that. It may or may not be MLC….that tends to show up more clearly with time and more WTF stuff….but whether it is or it isn’t, you still have to find your own best way to navigate what I am sure feels like a hurricane.

How are you doing? What are you doing to take good care of yourself right now? Basic stuff like food, sleep, exercise, emotional wellbeing, work, support from friends or family.
How much or how little communication do you currently have with her? Or want to have?
And what are your pressing priorities at the moment so we can support you better?
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T: 18  M: 12 (at BD) No kids.
H diagnosed with severe depression Oct 15. BD May 16. OW since April 16, maybe earlier. Silent vanisher mostly.
Divorced April 18. XH married ow 6 weeks later.


"Option A is not available so I need to kick the s**t out of Option B" Sheryl Sandberg

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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#3: February 05, 2024, 07:12:44 AM
Hi and welcome to the party that no one EVER wanted to be invited to.

A couple of things right up front. I would HIGHLY suggest you change your screen name to something a little less identifiable. We have a basic rule that nothing that could personally identify a member should be posted, including screen names. This is because this is an openly accessible public forum and Mid-Lifers have been known to stalk the LBS here. If you post things that can be personally traced back, it looks great in divorce court (shoudl it come to that).

Second, your kids are old enough to be able to know a rat when they smell it and have already called her out. Be prepared that she will monster on them as well as you. Anyone who expects any kind of accountability form her will automatically be classified as "the enemy." Your kids are also old enough to have their own relationship with her. You don't need to run interference for them. However, they will be looking to you to be the stable parent as W goes further and further off the rails....

Third, as you've already noticed, her habits have changed and so have her priorities. Things like budgeting for the future. Make sure that your finances are protected because, in their search for "happy," Mid-Lifers can burn through money like a hot knife through warm butter...

Other than that, I am really sorry that you needed to find us but, at the same time, glad that you have. You'll see that this community is full of people that will have experienced things very similar to you. There will be lots of advice offered. Take what is useful to you, discard that which is not useful to you.

This is a long, drawn out process that lasts for years. This is NOT a sprint to the finish but rather an ultra-marathon slog through the mud with no guarantee of success at the finish line. Some Mid-Lifers get their heads out of their ..... fog. Other's don't. Some couple reconnect, some don't, some reconcile, some don't.  Each of us has to find our own way through this minefield called MLC but you have support here within this group .

Thank you for the reply.

I'm lucky my kids are older. It's their decision to push her into therapy - they have seen the changes first hand. They know something is very wrong and her stories don't jive with their own recollection of events.

She already took $25K off the credit home line. I called the bank to lower the limit to the current balance. She caught me off guard, won't happen again.

From everything I read it's a long haul yes. Do you think there is hope based on where I'm at?
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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#4: February 05, 2024, 07:19:18 AM
So sorry you need to find yourself here but glad you found us. It is still very early days for you and the kids, so I imagine you are all reeling a bit.

You said she wants a legal separation. Have you taken legal advice where you live on your options? And what do YOU want given the cards in your hand as you see them?

One of the sobering things as an old hand here is that, sadly, things almost always get worse and feel worse before they start to evolve into some version of better that you can live with. I don’t know how conjoined your finances are, or your financial situation if you separate. I would agree with UM about doing what you need to do to protect your family’s long term financial interests though. Who is paying for her new abode? Sadly too, the chances that there are OM/men in the mix is high…..very few folks who act this way do not have an affair, and her new work environment is sadly rather notorious for it, so you may need to prepare yourself for that. It may or may not be MLC….that tends to show up more clearly with time and more WTF stuff….but whether it is or it isn’t, you still have to find your own best way to navigate what I am sure feels like a hurricane.

How are you doing? What are you doing to take good care of yourself right now? Basic stuff like food, sleep, exercise, emotional wellbeing, work, support from friends or family.
How much or how little communication do you currently have with her? Or want to have?
And what are your pressing priorities at the moment so we can support you better?

Thank you. I have a phone consultation with a lawyer tomorrow. I never thought I would need this - I'm blind going in other than what I have read.

My finances are secure as far as I know now. We never had joint credit cards.

So much WTF stuff, I couldn't even list it all.

I'm ok and I'm at the gym regularly as usual - I always eat well. My daughter is my rock. Trying to get out and do things but I always feel like I shouldn't have fun.

No communication really - she wanted space. Is that the right way to go?
What should I discuss with the lawyer? Any thoughts?
Started therapy last week also to cope.


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« Last Edit: February 05, 2024, 07:33:55 AM by Atari25 »

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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#5: February 05, 2024, 07:38:13 AM
From everything I read it's a long haul yes. Do you think there is hope based on where I'm at?

I'll be blunt - you are at the starting gate  of a 7-year+ slog. How it will end is anyone's guess. It will depend on how willing your Mid-Lifer is to really come to grips and get help for the issues that have caused the problems (FOO) in the first place.  That means that she will have to take responsibility for her actions and for the consequences of her actions. The 25K$ is a perfect example. That is something that will have to be recovered at some point. Unfortunately, at this point, unless you get some sort of written document that says you were separated as of such and such a date (before she raided the Crown Jewels) you are likely stuck with half of that debt, depending on the laws where you live.

As far as the lawyer consult goes, you need to know what options you have going forward. Things like joint debt, ownership of the house, spousal support, college tuition costs for your kids, the applicability of legal separation vs. a full-blown D, whether or not you can change the locks (seriously - in some places you can't if she is on the mortgage or deed), what it is going to cost you if you have to go the D route....

This is all information that you do not need to act on immediately but it is information that is important for you to have.... Knowledge is power and information allows for informed decision making
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Me - 60, xW - 54
Together 19 years - Married 17 at separation & 21 at D-Day
S - 16, D - 12
1 Dog
BD#1 - August 2015
Atomic BD - 13 Dec 2015
House sold & separated - Mar 2016
Divorce final 30 August 2019
Moved on in life

Survival Instructions for Newbies
Site Map
 
A "friend" will not "stand by you" no matter what you do. That is NOT a friend. That is an enabler. That is an accomplice.
A REAL friend will sit you down and tell you to your face to stop being a firetrucking idiot before you ruin your life and the lives of those around you.

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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#6: February 05, 2024, 11:15:08 AM
From everything I read it's a long haul yes. Do you think there is hope based on where I'm at?

I'll be blunt - you are at the starting gate  of a 7-year+ slog. How it will end is anyone's guess. It will depend on how willing your Mid-Lifer is to really come to grips and get help for the issues that have caused the problems (FOO) in the first place.  That means that she will have to take responsibility for her actions and for the consequences of her actions. The 25K$ is a perfect example. That is something that will have to be recovered at some point. Unfortunately, at this point, unless you get some sort of written document that says you were separated as of such and such a date (before she raided the Crown Jewels) you are likely stuck with half of that debt, depending on the laws where you live.

As far as the lawyer consult goes, you need to know what options you have going forward. Things like joint debt, ownership of the house, spousal support, college tuition costs for your kids, the applicability of legal separation vs. a full-blown D, whether or not you can change the locks (seriously - in some places you can't if she is on the mortgage or deed), what it is going to cost you if you have to go the D route....

This is all information that you do not need to act on immediately but it is information that is important for you to have.... Knowledge is power and information allows for informed decision making

I figured a lawyer consult was important. Maybe it will help calm my nerves and my stomach. Right now I feel like I'm always waiting for another shoe to drop or to discover something new. Seems like every 2-3 days something else comes up!

I can't imagine 7 years of this. I'm praying the kids are important enough for her to take action and see someone but maybe I'm dreaming given that very little from her past seems important to her anymore.

I always have a sick feeling and stress in my neck. I still cannot believe she is acting like this.  Scary part is all of her revised history and stories sound very matter of fact when she tells them!
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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#7: February 05, 2024, 12:47:39 PM
Hi Atari25,

Sadly gaslighting and storytelling is one of those things that will hit you hard. You will be the bad guy in her stories, and best you can do is to acknowledge it is nothing more than her current twisted take on history. You have no need to forget or change your own memories, instead cherish them and share them with your loved ones.

Also take good care of yourself. Mentally and physically and spiritually  The next 6-10 months will be hardest ones of your life, so prioritize your well-being. Anxiety is common (until you truly learn to separate what you control and what you do not), so are anger, frustration, despair and even love. The more you can keep your eyeballs on you and your own emotional wellbeing, the less you will hurt. And don't worry if you fail, everyone here has failed time and again...  slow down whenever you can. There is no rush anywhere (it's just the discomfort of anxiety that's making it feel like you need to act asap).

It is also good to acknowledge this is not about you. You cannot push her out of this. And you cannot nice her out. She is going through a personal crisis, and it will end only when she hits the bottom and wants out of it (and sadly it can take years and years, possibly forever).  Sadly her crisis has created another crisis for you and your family. It is something you can control.Focus on resolving it.

How to navigate through .... It seems keeping future talks on strictly business (kids, logistics etc) from this point onwards is best route for many. She is not telling you everything, and you need to learn the same. Avoid personal relationship talks with her. For yourself find a good therapist, also feel free to vent here. For myself journaling was and is a lifesafer in organizing my chaotic thoughts.

Last but not least, be there for your children. Even if they are on early stages of adulthood, they will need support and love of a sane parent possibly more than ever.

Hugs and strength,
Alvin
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« Last Edit: February 05, 2024, 12:59:04 PM by AlvinTheMaker »
At time of BD.... Me: 43, XW: 41
Kids: G19,G18,G14,G12,S5
Together - 20½ Years, Married 19 Years

BD ("I don't love you"): Feb 2019, 
BD2 ("I don't want to fix this marriage."), Mar 2020
D filed May 2020, D finalized Dec 2020
I have moved on, and am in new relationship.

Lessons from Stoicism and REBT helped me to exit the chaos zone and become a better person. 

"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. - Epictetus"

J
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25 years and my wife walked out the door
#8: February 05, 2024, 01:01:15 PM
I figured a lawyer consult was important. Maybe it will help calm my nerves and my stomach.

As much as I didn't want to talk to a lawyer (because it made me face reality?), it did ultimately help me feel like I was doing something useful and proactive for myself, and that I was taking control of my personal future, even if there would no longer be an "our future." My lawyer was sympathetic but knew the realities of the legal landscape.

JB
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Everything has a beginning and an end. Life is just a cycle of stops and starts. They're ends we don't desire, but they're inevitable and we have to face them. That's what being human is all about.  -Jet Black, Cowboy Bebop

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Re: 25 years and my wife walked out the door
#9: February 05, 2024, 01:24:00 PM
Use your therapist for emotional support and your lawyer for the legal aspects and try not to confuse their roles with how you spend your time with them. Lawyers are very expensive untrained therapists- so keep the business side separate from the healing side.

You are collateral damage and as Marvin says, you cannot nice them out of it. I would bet that over 95% of us look back and wish we had invested our energy in our own healing and kids if they are a part of the picture as opposed to focusing on the MLCer. The sooner you look the reality of the now head on, the sooner you will find your center. The concept of standing at this point is to find your center and reach a point in the journey where you consistently respond instead of react.

Do find out from your lawyer what boundaries you can establish in terms of her waltzing in and out of the home with or without warning. Find out if your state has a legal separation status or not. Find out where you stand in terms of health insurance for you, spouse and kids. If you have a child applying for FAFSA tuition forms find out how her abandonment affects the numbers you put down. Be clear on auto insurance and know if you are on the hook if she has an accident. Ask about her responsibility for utilities and property taxes. How will you file for 2023 income tax? What should you know going forward in terms of 401k contributions and if those funds would or would not be split? Is your state divorce based on 50/50 or need or educational attainment or current lifestyle? Basically, what are you on the hook for if it all goes south? Should you have her sign a document stating the date that she left the marital home?

You are VERY wise to get counseling as this may well be the worst experience you´ll ever have in your life. Do avoid conversations that may lead to her saying things that will reverberate in your head to the end of time. Just because some of what they say isn´t true doesn´t mean that it doesn´t hurt.

Don´t use alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. Do use exercise and time in nature to cope. Do not open the dating world door until you are well-healed and resolved about your decisions to stand, reconcile or divorce.  Remember that your kids though young adults are experiencing abandonment and likely do not have the emotional took kit to deal. They would also benefit from counseling.

The only way past it is through it but you will make progress and haul yourself out of the morass.
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