Author Topic: My Story Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts  (Read 3379 times)

Offline PJ AmesTopic starter

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My Story Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« on: April 03, 2017, 04:04:49 PM »
My wife’s midlife crisis seems kind of mild compared to most of the ones I’ve read about here. I thought about not posting here because my problems seem small, but I imagine there are others out there who are going through the same thing I am. So here goes...

My wife and I have now been married 25 years. We married young; she was 19 and I was 23. We have kids (21 and 19) who are great kids – kind and mature young adults who are in college making good decisions and doing great. My wife stayed home when our kids were young, but now works in a pretty stressful helping profession job. I also work in a public service job.

We used to have a model marriage. Really. Not in a Ken and Barbie way, but in an honest and loving friendship with lots of romance and great communication. Barely any bumps in the road until recently. Our youngest graduated from high school last spring, so we’re kind of empty nesters, although our youngest still lives at home while going to college.

Last spring her Mom, who lives in another state, had a debilitating stroke. This is on top of her nephew (who is almost like a son to her) having a life-threatening brain surgery. My wife has been going back to her childhood home to help out on a pretty regular basis ever since. This has resulted in her spending lots of time with her sister and her old High School friends. She also started drinking quite a bit and, from my perspective, acting like a petulant teenager. She got a new tattoo (not a big deal to me) for the first time in 25 years. She also started hanging out and drinking with her work friends, who are divorced women who are very sour and bitter people. She drove herself home a few times when she was in no shape to drive. She’s also gotten reckless with her spending. And she’s gotten to be somewhat hypersexual. She now wants sex from me every day and twice a day on weekends (we used to be once or twice a week).

I chalked up her behavior to stress from her job and her family situation and have worked really hard to hold down the fort at home and be a supportive listener. I told myself to be glad she was sleeping with me and not someone else. I thought I was doing the best I could.

Then in the summer I noticed she suddenly was spending a lot of time on her phone. Once it buzzed when she was in another room and I picked it up to take it to her. I noticed a text from a colleague (I’ll call him John) that said “do you think I’m cute?” It was very weird. I asked my wife about it and she said it was no big deal. But after that she started taking her phone with her everywhere, even to the bathroom. A few days later she got a call and said it was “Jane” and she had to take it outside. I knew she was lying. That night, after she went to bed, I checked her phone, and sure enough the phone call was from “John.” Not only that, she and John had been exchanging texts that were completely inappropriate. He was obviously hitting on her and she liked the attention. It looked like a Jr. High crush. Lots of cutiepie emojis, etc... Yes, she did think he was cute. He even asked her details about our sex life that she answered. The whole thing was very disturbing and completely out of character.

I confronted her about it and I got an angry teenager response of “why are you so critical of me? Why are you on my back? Why don’t you trust me? How can we live together if there’s no trust?” It was really nasty. Her narrative is that I’m a critical and judgmental person.

Since then, things have settled down. She admitted that her “playful banter” was inappropriate and agreed to stop calling and texting John. (They don’t talk anymore that I know of – I assume he’s moved on to flirting with some other man’s wife). She didn’t want to go to marriage counseling, but I had a few sessions with a therapist that really helped me. It helped me see her early-stage emotional affair as a symptom of a midlife crisis caused by her being overwhelmed by stress (stressful job, sick parents, children leaving, etc...) and not handling it well. There were other clues as well (rewriting history, etc..) Now, instead of a great marriage, we now have an OK marriage. We still live together and get along tolerably well, but at the expense of not talking about things that might stress her. And she still accuses me of being critical of her.

For example, I recently shared with her that I was concerned about her going out drinking with her female co-workers so often, spending lots of money and leaving me home to do the housework and eat leftovers alone. I was actually extremely positive and supportive and approached the conversation as telling her I wanted to spend more time with her. Her response was that I shouldn’t be so critical of her cooking (I assume because I mentioned “leftovers”).

I’m not concerned about her having a sexual affair, becoming a full-blown alcoholic or leaving me. At least not at the moment. But I’m really tired of walking on eggshells. Being married to a woman with the attitude of a teenager is not much fun. I’m worn out from constantly monitoring our finances, I’m sexually exhausted, slightly depressed and generally unsatisfied. I feel like I’ve somehow become co-dependent to her crisis and I’m lost some self-respect. I’m tired of her selfishness and I want her to grow up again. I also have this sense of dread that some other shoe will drop and I’ll be too tired to handle it next time. I’m trying to outlast her "transition", to take care of myself physically and financially, and to protect myself emotionally. But we’ve been so close for so long that I’m in grief for the loss of my great marriage and friendship.

Anyway, I know I should feel lucky and that things could be much worse, but I still feel lousy. Any advice is appreciated.

Offline Kintsugi

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2017, 06:02:50 PM »
You're in the right place.
I am not sure what I can give as far as advice but I can validate your feelings and assure you that you are not alone.  I am married 19 years, this is my 2nd marriage, 3 kids (22, 21 & 18).  Not sure where and when it started to unravel but it did.  Death of H's close relative, death of my mom 7 years ago which may have been what started this all, two of the kids moved out.  H works a stressful job and is often working 8 hr shifts with women alone.  I never had any reason not to trust him.  We had, what I thought, was a great marriage and I believed we were inseparable.  I sometimes mourn the marriage that I had and I feel like he re-wrote the history of our marriage.
H got involved in an EA with a coworker and did things that to this day I am still amazed at.  If you told me aliens took his brains for a while I could believe it.  Anywho, when all of the inappropriate things were revealed, I gave H an ultimatum to transfer job locations.  It was a painful transition for him but he did it.  He didn't snap out of it immediately, it took some time. 
I can relate to your being really tired of walking on eggshells, being married to someone with the attitude of a teenager. I am worn out from having to monitor finances and cell phone bills although I don't do it as much as when I found this all out which was over a year ago. I’m slightly depressed and feel somewhat unsatisfied but I make it through each day.  At times I felt like I lost some self-respect to but then I realized I didn't do anything wrong. After all this time,  I also have this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think it's called PTSD.
I realized I do have advice for you - get a mentor!  It helped me a lot and it can help you too.
When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold.  They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful ~ Barbara Bloom

Offline TryinSoul

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2017, 08:45:15 PM »
Not to jump to conlusions but your wife's behavior describes my x to a T.  It took me much longer to recognize it, but it went downhill rapidly.  From your descriptions to her leaving was 9 months.  My advice is to read the articles on the main page as a just in case.  If I had the knowledge prior it was have saved me about 5 months of pure hell.
All that counts, is what comes next.

Offline Mae

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2017, 09:50:09 PM »
The best advice I can tell you is to keep reading and keep posting. You will see your situation reflected repeatedly ad nauseam on these threads and the older ones too. There is a wealth of information on this site including all the articles and blogs pertaining to MLC and how to respond/cope with it.

While you say your situation seems mild in comparison, the feelings of hurt, bewilderment, rejection, confusion, loss etc are all too REAL and very very painful regardless of whether your spouse is monstering/not monstering, having an affair or not, left or not, so please don't think your situation is less painful, or less serious than any of the others, it all hurts, hurts, hurts just the same.

You are in a good place here.
Me: 50
H: 40
S19, D15
Together for 19 years
BDay in 2004, 2011 and now March 5 2017
Ran away on 5 March BD
Returned home 'underdone' 1 July 2017.
Left again 22 October 2017.
H - Silent and non-communicative

Online OldPilot

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2017, 09:53:09 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

Do you want a mentor?

Please make a request on the  Want a Mentor? stickie
PM  me.

A Moderator will be assigned shortly after your request.
Learn more about The Mentor Program

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

Knowledge is Power - Sir Francis Bacon

Offline Thunder

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2017, 03:00:01 AM »
Hi PJ.

I hope you keep posting.  You have found a good place for support...and it will help you get through this horror movie.

I agree with Mae, your story is very much like others on here, it is not too mild.
MLC is a serious problem.

All I can tell you right now is try to detach from her as much as you can.  Just be light and friendly and no relationship talks.  It will get you no where.
Take good care of yourself, because I imagine you are probably not eating or sleeping properly.  None of us did.

I'm so sorry you are going through this.
A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

Offline Whyus

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 04:10:25 AM »
Im so sorry that your here my friend,
I dont mean to break it to you and im sure that you know already but it sounds like shes having an affair  :-\.
My story is similar (phone, visiting friends..) she wasnt visiting friends, she was with her 28 year old "Trainings partner".
I too would have never imagined that she could do that. She was really the perfect mother and Wife!!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 04:19:01 AM by Whyus »
Married - 19,5 Years pre BD
Together - 21,5 Years
Me: 45
W: 45 (Acts 25)
BD 1: 10.01.2017
BD 2: 24.02.2017 OM 28 (now 30) Trainings partner. W is trying to get People to accept them.
2 Sons - 19 & 20
1 Dogs and a cat.
Own home . Sold!
Divorce Date 21.08.2018

Offline StormChaser

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2017, 12:25:01 PM »
Hey PJ,

Your story is almost a mirror image of mine pre-bomb drop. All those things your wife is doing, my wife did. The main difference is that the emotional affair and flirting progressed to a full affair before I found out which became the bomb drop.

Based on what you've said, your wife may be in a place that marriage counselling won't help at all - she may have already written off your marriage without even telling you.

What I can recommend is that you suggest to your wife that she get counselling for herself, even if she isn't interested in joint sessions. That has probably been the single biggest help for my wife over the last 9 months.

Realize that where your wife goes over the next weeks, months or even years is not really up to you, but up to her. You can stand, you can run, it probably won't change how hard the MLC hits her. Also realize that it doesn't matter what she was like before, she's probably already in a different place!

This is one of the best places I've found to reflect, to get advice, to ask for help. And because the script is so amazingly similar between so many MLCers, you can get great insight into where things are going just be hanging around here.

Good luck on this journey none of us want to be on...
Me - 48
MLC W - 48
Together 18 yrs
Married 14 yrs
S 12
S 10
S 8
BD June 1 2016
Home Dec 23 2016
Recommited to our M Sept 2017

Offline PJ AmesTopic starter

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Re: Seems kind of mild in comparison, but it still hurts
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 03:45:32 PM »
Thanks for all the kind words. Especially the hugs from BelleElle! It's very touching that complete strangers would take the time to express their concern for me.

The affirmation is very comforting. Sometimes I get so tied up in knots that I wonder if I'm the crazy one. It's good to know that there are sane people who can understand and relate.

I'll keep posting and will probably request a mentor in a few weeks once I get to better acquainted with the community. I'm very glad this place exists.

BelleElle's comment about alien abduction really hit the nail on the head for me. I often feel like aliens took my wife and left me this replicant in her place. It looks like her, but it's a different creature altogether.

I'm wondering about my wife's sudden sex drive surge. She's a bit young for menopause (44). I'm actually starting to feel like she's having an affair - with me. She's been extremely flirty and coquettish with me for the past year. She says it helps her deal with work stress. But it makes it hard for me to take care of myself and to detach. I know I should be glad she's sleeping with me and not some other guy. But still - I'm tired!

At some point in our relationship, we will have to discuss painful subjects again. For now she just wants to go bowling, watch TV comedies, drink wine and have sex (I know you all know that's not as fun as it sounds). It's become a more superficial relationship. My question for the community is this: how do you have a delicate, rational conversation with an irrational person? For example, I would like to discuss boundaries regarding relationships with opposite-sex coworkers, but I can't imagine the conversation going well. Should I just wait until she brings things up?

Thanks again everyone!

Offline PJ AmesTopic starter

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No sympathy. No remorse.
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2017, 07:49:11 AM »
So I realized something a couple days ago that has put me in a bit of an emotional tailspin. I think I must be a slow learner, but it just dawned on me that one of the reasons I'm still struggling so much with my wife's EA is that she has no discernible sympathy for the pain she's put me through. She has no remorse at all that I can tell. She'll say things like "I'm sorry you felt that way" or "I sent some stupid texts" but she has never once said "I'm sorry." It's like she has no awareness that sexually flirtatious texts with another (married) man are wrong in and of themselves. I feel like she's only sorry she got caught.

I'm sure this is old hat for many of you (I'm sure many of you are saying "duh"), but realizing this hit me hard. Should I just learn to live with it and not expect any remorse or sympathy for years? Should I detach more? Probably.

Things have been going pretty well for the past few months. We're still living together and getting along tolerably well. I felt like I was riding out her crisis ok and it was starting to feel like old times again. But the OM has been commenting on her Facebook posts again and when I tried to talk to her about it, her lack of concern for my feelings kind of stunned me.

Maybe I should just expect nothing so I won't be disappointed.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 08:58:40 AM by OldPilot »


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