Midlife Crisis: Support for Left Behind Spouses

Midlife Crisis => Our Community => Topic started by: SailingAway on June 09, 2019, 10:26:10 PM

Title: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on June 09, 2019, 10:26:10 PM

This is so hard for me. I am not much of a shared when it comes to the internet, but I just don't feel that I am moving forward how I want to be and I need help.

Here is my story

I met my husband in 1997, it was love straight away. It took us another 10 years to marry but I never had a doubt. My husband is and has always been quite ambitious. I supported him during this as he progressed his career ahead. In 2015 he lost his job due to the politics involved in running a publicly listed company. At the same time he came down with a shoulder injury.

This was about the time comments started that he was not as young as he used to be. Sometimes I felt resentment that he travelled slot and I was left to look after the boys. I am not a natural mother. I do my best and love them with everything in me but I like to also get to be just me.

In February 2017 I noticed a change. He went on a business trip and when he came home he got a call from his father to say his mother is deathly ill. Straight away he turned to me and got angry at me. I told him I didn't know myself so why are you angry at me. I live in a different state to my family so have no support there. I gave him heaps of time to go see his mother and I looked after the kids.

Given his family were dealing with this health issue we had no support when it came to looking after the boys. I was it. I also worked part time so. In 2017 he travelled overseas for a total of 5 months. I was resentful. But he would come back every trip and be so angry.

In 2018 he got another job running another public company. He travelled for 7 months in total. His mother got better and is back to full health. During this time he just shut down. I would not be told when he was going on a trip, how long he would be gone or when he was coming back.

In July I finally asked what was going on. And I guess that is when he said to me I love you but am no longer in love you. I have no passion for you. I should add that we had not been intimate since the beginning of 2017. I was told I was the reason he had so much grey hair. He said he was going to die soon etc. Then started the manipulation. I was heartbroken. He managed to convince my parents I was the problem. He told them that he loves me and wants to work it out. So they believed I was the issue.

Another business trip and yes I cried and begged, rinse and repeat. He told me that I was not acting normal and that I needed help. After having an anxiety attack one morning I booked in to get some help. I believed all he was saying as he was/is the love of my life. After one session the counselor said my reactions are perfectly normal. I told my husband and he lost it. Yelling that I was normal.

In October I found condoms in his suitcase. Yes there could be an affair, but I don't care to pursue this line of thinking currently. It was also around this time he told me that he regretted ever meeting me that he has been unhappy for 5 years, 10 years etc. That he had been trying to saving the marriage for years.

At the end of November I asked him to leave the house. I still had no idea what was going on. I was hoping he would see it was a wake up call and want to start working on the marriage. There had always been so much love. No. The first thing he did was go to a lawyer. Within 2 months I was moved out into a new house I own outright. He had child custody papers drawn up, where he pretty much gave up all rights to the boys besides 9 weeks a year.

He used to be an awesome dad, very hands on so. Now he is as cold as ice. He has no empathy for me at all. There is nothing. He has said quite often that he has given everyone everything and that there is nothing left for him.

From February to April this year he disappeared overseas. Where he quit his job but told me it was my fault he was fired. There are so many more things as well but I think I have written so much already.

My 10 year old is not dealing very well. He doesn't want to see or talk to his dad, yet my husband does not think what he has done is the reason for this.

I just feel so lost, I am trying to be the best I can but I now have to work full time as he is not paying child support and I am 100% responsible for the kids.

I don't know what I want. Or rather I want my old husband back. I loved him.

I just want to be better. I want to be able to help my boys, which is so hard when I myself am in so much pain.

Thank you for reading this. I am so confused.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: OldPilot on June 09, 2019, 10:40:18 PM
Welcome to the Board

You are in a good place.
Your H/W  is on his/her own journey.
You can not do anything to control this trip.
Come here and read or vent, we will listen.
Give your H/W space  he/she needs to heal himself/herself.

I would not ask him/her anything unless you can have no expectations.
Sometimes asking them questions will be thought of as pressure.
You do not want to do anything that can be thought of by your H/W as controlling or pressure.

Your need to start working on you.
There is nothing that you can do to help your H/W.

He/She has given you a gift.
It is time!!

Use the time wisely to make yourself a better person.
Look in the mirror to see what it is that you can improve.
Take care of yourself, breathe, eat, sleep, exercise.

Read some books on depression. Both for yourself! And for H/W.
Believe none of what he/she says and 50% of what he/she does.

Read the resources from this site.
The links that are in my signature.

Detach. - The single most important thing you can do

The detach link and HB's 6 stages of MLC(rewritten from Jim Conway) located in the resources above.

Developing Detachment



RCR has asked everyone to keep to one thread until  that thread is 150 posts

Keep posting and asking questions and we will try to answer them.

Knowledge is Power - Sir Francis Bacon
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: OffRoad on June 09, 2019, 11:39:33 PM
I am very sorry you have had this happen, but glad you found us. Welcome to the place where people understand this wasn't normal.

I don't know where you live. Does your H have any job at all? Most places frown on a deadbeat parent. Have you consulted with an attorney to see what your rights are? I would suggest doing that right away and securing any financial obligations he owes. Take care of you and the boys first and foremost.

How are you doing?
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on June 10, 2019, 12:43:39 AM
Thankyou so much for replying.

I really need to work on detachment. I fail miserably at it.

I was trying to do him a favour by not pursuing child support but I guess that is similar to trying to nice him back. But I am the enemy and so his heart is closed to me.

I am just so scared I won't be strong enough to get through this. Of course I have no choice but I do wonder how you can survive so much heartbreak. But I live with fear that awesome guy will never come back. And all that will be left is this person I don't recognise. We used to be the best of friends always talking and laughing and loving and now he won't even talk to me. All communication seems to be pressure.

He will not call or text. I am trying to get on with it all and just live my life . But everything just seems fake and not real.

I have told him I will be pursuing child support as I am leaving some single parent benefits on the table if I say nothing and I need the money. He is going to see a lawyer. Good luck to him.

I am sure I am making every mistake.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: Treasur on June 10, 2019, 01:05:43 AM
Nope, you're not failing at all. Actually you have done a lot of things very well....it just takes a while for our hearts to catch up with our brains.

And yes, see....you have progressed enough to see that you will not nice him back. You don't have to be mean or vindictive but the new version of your h does not care about anyone else but himself or any feelings but his own. Meanwhile on the sane adult side of the street, he has financial obligations as a bare minimum bc he is the father of two young boys. You are quite right to do whatever you need to do which is legally appropriate to safeguard you and your children while your h is off on the crazy train. MLCers are too self-centred usually to even be decent or reliable parents so it is quite reasonable that he pays child support as you are doing the other 99% of the job.

I am sure you don't want a divorce but given his job history....and the potential for unimaginable self destruction that MLCers have....have you taken L advice on what would serve your interests best? If there are issues of timing? And are your financial affairs now completely separated?

We all get that feeling of 'one step in front of the other but nothing feels right', that it feels fake, that the 'new normal' isn't normal yet. Hunker down into the small things and keep going. It does get easier and the jigsaw pieces of your new normal will start to fit together.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on June 16, 2019, 01:44:13 AM
Do you ever just get the feeling that they aren't having a midlife crisis, that they really just don't love you anymore.

I am struggling. I don't say anything really to my H. He doesn't monster me. He is just indifferent.

I don't ask any questions about his life. Infact I try to show little interest because it hurts that he doesn't want me. But I am starting to think I am the one with the problem. I just can't let go but I want to so bad.

I have nothing to report. I ask nothing of him. He did invite me out to icecream with him and the boys. But it was really nothing.  I had no positive or negative feelings about the encounter. He would ask questions about my life/work and I just gave brief answers.

I just want to let him go and find my own happiness. But I miss him so much.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: Treasur on June 16, 2019, 02:29:06 AM
Yup, we all do.
Detachment and time, bit by bit, does help you to see the wood for the trees. To judge for yourself how 'normal' this feels, how recognisable your h is compared to who he used to be not just as a h but as a parent, friend, person. And how odd or self-destructive their choices are or how ridiculous their level of blame or self-centredness is. Someone doesn't have to be a screaming monster to obviously not be behaving like a sane decent adult. But we are all so shocked for a while that it takes time to remember what normality looks like  :) Somehow it is always easy to see in other people's stories isn't it?

Your h claimed you had magic powers over his hair greying....and your fault he lost his job too. (If you had these magic powers, I suspect you would use them for rather more happy constructive things right?)
He has been gaslighting you and others for quite a while that YOU are the problem and not normal bc you had a panic attack (join the club lol)....while an independent professional said otherwise. And no condoms in your bag right?
The previously 'awesome' dad doesn't want 50/50 custody and doesn't seem to be much concerned about your boys wellbeing or providing child support...but hey, ice cream   ::)
And he shows his ILYBINILWY by being coldly indifferent, no apparent empathy and forcing you and your kids to move into a new house. But hey, he is really having sleepless nights...about his grey hair, impending death, years of unhappiness, job success, overseas trips and darned legal fees. All of which are your fault for being a buzzkill to his happy perfection for 5/10/15/20 years...bc of course that was your cunning plan right?
And if YOU were the problem, presumably everything in his life is great since you asked him to leave and his new solo life is just what he wanted so he is very calm, cheerful and positive about life right?

Unless your h was a pretty poor quality disordered human before this, sounds like he ticks the MLC checklist to me my friend.
Either way, time will tell, but all you can do is keep walking forward with your sons, have faith that life WILL get better again regardless of what your h does and that we all fall over so you just keep getting up again on your detachment path! And focus on your life more than his mess. Jmo.

Of course you miss him after years together. It isn't easy to keep reminding yourself that the person you knew is no longer the same and you need to protect you and your kids from his choices.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on June 16, 2019, 03:10:31 AM
Thank you so much Treasure. I really needed to hear that. I guess I lack some self confidence and self esteem.

I guess our logical minds just cannot comprehend how someone we love can do this. I think he is now trying with the boys, but I guess I need to see consistency before I can believe.

I do need to keep reminding myself of the awful things he said to me. But it still doesn't help me hurt less.

In good news however I have started organising my finances and am now in a position to book the boys and mine overseas holiday. H never took us anywhere but I am sick of putting my life on hold and missing out on the adventures. I am as scared as can be doing this myself but I need to do it. Afterall even if he awakens from this MLC there is no guarantee he will want to be with me or vice versa.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: Schratz66 on June 18, 2019, 12:49:51 PM
Hello Sailing and while I am sorry you are here, I am glad you found us.
I wouldn't have survived without this board.

We all question it a million times and then a million more - is this MLC or did he just fall out of love. Nobody can tell you for sure, but I would go with your gut instinct.
Of course we all want our old spouses back, but unfortunately we do not know what will happen down the line.
I am almost 2 years past BD and only now am I thinking that maybe I might survive all this hurt and pain. It is unimaginable and unless you have lived it, you just don't know.

That's what is so amazing about this board - everyone has been where you are and we all are here to help you through.

Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: readytofixmyselffirst on June 19, 2019, 07:02:41 AM

I am so sorry that you are here, but you will find some great people and great advice. Remember this is about your journey to finding yourself again. Yes, you need to do what is necessary to protect yours and your children's finances.

Do you ever just get the feeling that they aren't having a midlife crisis, that they really just don't love you anymore.

Yes, many of us question are spouses and ourselves. This is normal and expected. He is in a crisis of identity. Something within him has erupted as he contemplated the issues of his own life.

The thing you can do now is focus on your children and your life now. As I mentioned this is your journey. The point now is to live as if he is not coming back. That doesn't mean joining a dating site or going wild yourself. By by being deliberate and intentional, how can you improve your own life. What hobbies and activities interest you. Many of us have turned to exercise, music, writing, and reading. Other have turned to gardening, cooking, or photography.

You are going to have some ups and downs along this journey. We will be here to support you on your low points and we will celebrate your high points.

So I hope you have a great day and do something good for yourself ((((Hugs)))

Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on June 24, 2019, 02:24:06 AM
Thank you Schratz and Ready for your support.

I have nothing to report on the MLC H. He is doing whatever he does. I don't see him and don't text unless to say something about the boys. But he does reply and then tells me what he is doing or plans to do but I can say I don't really care.

I have got my finances in order and so after much looking and talking to all my friends and work buddies I bought a car. I decided I wanted to start again so am trading in what was the car I had during my marriage. I am so excited as it is something I picked all by myself. I am hoping to get it by Thursday so the boys and I can go cruising around before I have to hand them off to their father for the school holidays on Friday.

I hope Friday I will still be miss awesomely independent given seeing MLC H is a huge trigger for me. But I have planned a few fun things to do over the weekend so I don't marinate in pity.

Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on September 17, 2019, 07:47:50 PM
Just checking in.

Nothing has changed in my situation. Kids and I are off on our first overseas holiday together in 2 and a bit weeks. That is very exciting, then I have my big 4 0 coming. I have to get to and plan what I am going to do for that but I am excited. I have joined the gym and have been attending during my lunch break which I am loving although I have strained/over worked my knee so am taking it easy this week. But I can do a push up again so am pretty proud of myself.

The weather is finally getting warm so that adds joy to my day.

As for my MLC H. Who knows what is going on there. We don't talk. Yes I still hurt and still find it hard to wrap my head around what exactly happened but I try not to get involved in anything going on with him.  Perhaps he is reconnecting with the kids as he is wanting to spend more time with them?  But then there are times that he has to run away again because it all gets too much for him. At least that is what I think is happening, I don't really know. His life is a mess. He quit his job in February and then lived overseas for 3 months and now he is looking for work but nothing is coming his way. If I happen to talk to him he is always talking about having no money and I just say nothing.

The other day he used "we" when talking about expenses relating to the kids that I pay. I said nothing, I have given up caring or rather I have given up trying to be right. I know my truth.  I no longer get monster, but I have stepped right back from him. I ask nothing of him when it comes to our relationship. I have worked out that if he wants to be with me then he will have to pursue. I am an awesome lady that only a fool would leave.

I hope that H is progressing. I want him to be able to be happy again. But mostly I hope I can continue to improve because I deserve the best.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: Zion on September 17, 2019, 10:02:39 PM
Yes!!!! You sound awesome!
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: UrsaMajor on September 18, 2019, 03:48:08 AM
As I read this, you are doing well, getting your life together and growing forward...

H, on the other hand is what we in the military commonly referred to as an "LBITG" (Lost Ball In Tall Grass - NOT to be confused with Dumbfounded's LB - Leaky Bucket).

You have said that you have moved and that H has basically ceded all custody/parental rights to you, right? Have there been other legal steps taken, i. e. legal separation/divorce?

Honestly, it sounds as if his mom's brush with death triggered his own realisations of mortality and therefore his crisis...

Focusing on a different thing, you and your boys are on your first overseas trip soon... To where? Someplace fun and exciting I hope! And, you mentioned the weather finally starting to get warm which I assume means that you are somewhere down under because here in Germany, the leaves are beginning to think about turning and the nights are getting cooler... ..
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: Schratz66 on September 19, 2019, 08:02:46 AM
You sound like you are in a good place Sailing - keep on going. Who cares about H - it's all about you feel. The big 4 0 …...piece of cake - honestly that one did not bother me as much as the 5 0 …hope you celebrate yourself in style.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: SailingAway on November 25, 2019, 08:00:25 PM
It has been some time since I posted. Here is what is happening in my world and I need some advice/guidance.

October school holidays started and the boys spent the week with their dad. Meanwhile I got a postal notification that there was a letter waiting for me at the post office.  I scratched my head over what it could be because I wasn't expecting anything. That arrived the Monday, due to working full-time 9-5 Monday - Friday there was no way I could get it before I went on my holiday. So I left it.

Then on the Saturday I get a text message from the MLCer. "I am out celebrating our youngest sons birthday, did you get the letter I sent you, what time do you want me to drop the boys back to you" I text back "what was the letter?" "6pm drop off" I then get back "It is the divorce papers". So that left me speechless. Needless to say I didn't say anything back.

Monday the boys and I get on the plane and head to LA from Australia to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios. We had a great time!!!

Arrive back on the Friday 2 weeks later, head to work Monday morning and he sent someone to serve me at work. He has to serve me within 28 days of the court date otherwise it can't go ahead.  I see the original court date was 3 days after my 40th birthday. Again I say noting to MLCer. This same day I am served divorce papers I contact child support and ask them to start pursuing him as he has paid nothing for over 6 months. Yet he continues to travel overseas etc.

So my birthday arrives and first thing in the morning I get a text message from MLCer to say I am a wonderful person and deserve the best in life. After wondering for quite a number of hours what the heck he is smoking because that cat is crazy I send back "thanks".

Divorce happened a week ago. I say nothing. So effectively haven't spoken to him in 2/3 months.

Last night I got an email from my kids school as one of the kids was a bit disrespectful to a teacher. I didn't contact MLCer as I decided he will have to chase me if ever he wants to talk. Anyway he called the kids and must of spoke about what happened at school. I then get into work this morning and I have an email waiting from him that is in response to the teacher. The first paragraph states "We had a discussion with S last night about incident".

Now I didn't talk to him and he didn't talk to me. Do you think in his mind he had a conversation with me? And do you think I should try and reach out to him to try and co-parent? My feeling is that no I should not, that he should be the one to reach out to me. Especially as the boys live with me 85% of the year.

It is just I am so close to the whole situation and don't know if I am being petty. If he texts me to have the boys for the weekend I will text yes.
Title: Re: Am I strong enough
Post by: UrsaMajor on November 26, 2019, 06:46:31 AM
My first thought was "What do you mean "we" buddy? You got a mouse in your pocket or something?"

You will, by default, need to have some contact with him if you are to co-parent effectively but it is up to you how much and in what form.

I can say from personal experience so far that polite and cordial beats the alternative of nasty.... Doesn't mean you have to act like he's your BFF (because he isn't) but if you can maintain the peace, it is easier all the way around...