Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Jim

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This is from Jim:

I have read several books and visited many websites trying to figure out what
happened with my wife.

It started about 2 years ago with distancing and cutting me out of things slowly. I
then noticed some self centeredness. I accused her of being “mean” when all I ever
knew was her being the sweetest person I had ever known.

Throughout the first year she made vague references to her not being happy and that
there were things wrong with our marriage. I assured her that she was my #1 and I
loved her more than anything. I will admit that I was going through a period of not
wanting to be touched etc. I was not hateful or anything. I was just kind of in a
shell dealing with what I can see now was a mild crisis as my only child was
preparing to graduate and go to college.

**It looks to me like you went through an emotional crisis triggered by a major life’s change–a child graduating high school, and getting ready for college. As a matter of fact, you did to her what she is now doing to you. Although it wasn’t intentional on your part, she took what you did personally, internalized, made it all about her, just like you’re doing now.

It really doesn’t matter whether you were hateful, or not hateful, you emotionally rejected her at a time when you could have opened up about what you were feeling. Instead, you shut her out, and that hurt her deeply.

This really isn’t not about who did what, and what she’s doing is worse than what you did. This would have happened anyway-it was only a matter of time.

That’s not to say any of what she’s doing right now is right, but this is how the mid-life crisis was designed–it always takes two to trigger the beginning of emotional growth–one person to trigger, the other to respond or react, as the case may be.

Just like you were questioning yourself, you have now caused her to begin questioning herself because you inadvertently triggered your wife into a crisis of her own. My suggestion to you is that you continue your journey that was triggered by this event, because you can do nothing for your wife at this time.

She’s on her own journey, and only she can figure out what she wants.

About a year ago she said “I would be happier by myself”. From there is just got
worse. She became hostile towards me. She did not want to sleep with me. She was
extremely distant and had a strange look in her eyes. I often thought “who is this
person?”.

**They do become the opposite of what you once knew, plus as you’ve read, their issues from childhood do take on the form of certain aged children, whose pieces were stored in the psyche until such a time when they come out to be seen, their past hurts and anger to be aired.

Things continued to deteriorate. We went to counseling where she made a list of
things I did to her. They were isolated incidents that happened over a period of 13
years and really more of an annoyance than a real issue.
Some things were kind of
deep but nothing to do with any type of abuse, addiction or adultry. They were
basically things like spending too much time with my kid or sleeping with him.
I should have mentioned that we were a blended family with a child each. We had
custody of them both and eventually worked into a pretty close knit family. We have
been married for 14 years.

**It’s a hard aspect to “blend” two families together. You have obligations to the children that existed before you met your wife. However, your marriage should have taken precedence, after God, and BEFORE your children. I don’t doubt that both of you were guilty of putting kids before your marriage in the past.

People often think their kids should come first-this is often to the detriment of their marriage–however, they don’t realize that if they would take care of their relationship with God first, then themselves, then their relationship with their spouse, then the children will benefit from a “trickle effect”….in other words, your priorities need to be straight and in line, and if that’s done, the children will always be taken care of.

This same line of priorities is also helpful, once the children are grown and moved out on their own, living their own lives…and if the relationship has been taken care of over time–there is none of this sitting down, looking at each other, and wondering if there is enough to salvage between the couple…and it makes it harder to build a more solid marriage if all that’s been holding it together has been the children…a deeper emotional connection takes time to build, because it most likely never really existed…and that’s an issue the mid-life spouse must also look at in relation to their past marriage, or marriages, if there was more than one before the transition took place.

The things she listed that, in your eyes were “annoyances”, were important issues in her eyes. Did you ever think to sit down and look at things from HER point of view? This is a “thinking” question-it doesn’t require an answer. It often becomes all about perception, and perception is everything during the mid-life transition/crisis. Mountains are often made out of molehills, and what you wouldn’t see as anything, she would see as everything.

It’s not any different than a teen in puberty who would derive drama out of what seems to be the smallest of things.
Again, it’s all about how different people perceive different circumstances…and no two people are ever going to see things in exactly the same way.

As we continued down this road, she kept turning up the rhetoric with talk of
separation and divorce. Her distance was more and more pronounced with her
completely moving out of our room into the guest room.

**She was thinking YOU were the cause of her pain, and so she began separating herself. However, with each layer of separation she completed, her pain still didn’t “go away”. I would think she was trying to irritate you enough to throw her out, because she kept projecting this on you. This would be because she thought you were thinking the same things she was thinking, and of course, we know that’s not it…but that is how they think.

So, they constantly harp on the same refrain–no different than teenagers who are constantly creating drama for the purpose of rejection so they can have an excuse to rebel against what they perceive is authority with a capital “A”.

She developed an obsession with music and went to concerts all the time. She would
travel to festivals and attend shows in other cities. She even had a singer perform
at our house. This was the type of obsession that she would find a way to work
talk of her music into any conversation. She started getting chemical facial peels
and botox and lost so much weight that people thought she was anorexic.

She also went from being humble and quiet to the person at a party who had to be the
center of attention. Her conversations revolved around her and if it didn’t involve
her music or something about her, she was not interested.

**Definitely all about her, her, and her. Self-absorption, obsessed with a number of different things, body image conscious, and her perception of herself was/is skewed, twisted, and unhealthy.

After the marriage counselor told her that this was her issue and she needed to deal
with it, she had no use for him. She then started seeing a counselor who she was
referred to by a friend. I believe this is where the wheels fell off. It was
shortly after seeing her that she became adamant about moving out.
She left and leased a house across town.

**She is displaying clear Narcissistic tendencies. The marriage counselor told her the truth, and she wouldn’t accept it. That’s common for spouses in crisis. That next counselor most likely encouraged her to separate herself from you, and also encouraged her in her rebellion. I often have a huge axe to grind on some of those counselors–but you can’t exactly put all the blame on them–it’s more about the kind of schooling they get.

You don’t have a lot of counselors who are trained in the area of a mid-life crisis, and no wonder–I become very disgusted with a lot of the garbage I read about how the MLC is a myth, an excuse for bad behavior, that it’s not real, and these people who write this stuff, are way off base in their writings.

I am still coming to terms with it. During the last month, I said some things I
shouldn’t have. They were out of anger and hurt. I never actually verbally
attacked her but I did use a lot of profanity and used guilt, logic and quite
honestly bribery to keep our family under one roof. I never cried to her or
anything like that but I definitely became less of a man in order to try an appease
her.

**Excuse me if you feel that I’m speaking out of turn, but when you used profanity in your dealings with her, you verbally attacked her. A person can get their points across without the usage of this kind of language. It’s very disrespectful when someone can’t seem to speak their piece without cursing, and it’s similar to throwing a tantrum.
However, regardless of what you did/said, her mid-life crisis continued anyway, because until it’s completely resolved, it’s not going to just going away.

After all of this, my question is pretty simple. Do you think this is a midlife
crisis or simply someone falling out of love. If she just fell out of love, I will
have to face that and move on. If there is a chance, I would like to hold on and
hope for a reconciliation.

**I can see, and I’m sure you can too, that everything you have tried, in the way of wrong behaviors, hasn’t done anything except add to her justifications, for what she is doing to you, and due to what she’s going through, she has no respect for you, either.

From what I’m reading here, it’s like I said above, you started through an emotional crisis, triggered by a major life change, and in that process, inadvertently triggered a major mid-life crisis in her. For all appearances, it looks like she’s fallen out of love with you, but not like you would think, as her feelings are buried deep within herself at the moment–covered over by her various justifications. If you think about it, when you were going through your mild crisis–you questioned your own feelings as well for your wife.

Believe it or not that’s quite normal. However, all you can do is give her space, time, and continue your journey forward, while she continues to walk hers.
Either way you might decide to go, your own journey must still be taken.

There is hope as long as there is love in your heart.

I have some issues like communication and maybe some money control issues but I have
always encouraged her personal growth and supported her doing her own thing when she
wanted.

Anyway, that for reading this and I hope you can give me some guidance.

I enjoy your site.

**I would suggest you work on your issues, while you let her go, and give her space to work on her issues. Communication and “maybe” some money control issues are serious issues within a relationship, most especially a marriage.

However, with all that said, again, you need to let her go, give her space, while you get on your own personal journey, and learn to become the best man you can become for yourself.

You can do nothing for your wife, but everything for yourself–because in the end, the only thing you can control is yourself, your actions and your reactions.

I’m glad you enjoy my site–I just hope the advice I’ve given can help you.

I hope this helps.

Since 2002, Hearts Blessing has been a pioneer in the area of knowledge and information written about the Mid Life Crisis. The owner and author of https://thestagesandlessonsofmidlife.org she writes articles that help people learn more about this confusing time of life. The main goal of this site is to help people know and understand that no matter what happens, every situation works out to the good of those who love the Lord, and are called according to His purpose. :)
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