Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Julie N_2

Continuation of Julie N’s Situation. Like before, her comment will be in bold italics, my answers will be in regular font/format. Another long read, but hopefully informative. 🙂

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative reply. It means so much to me to hear someone with expertise hear about my situation. I have read lots about the mid life crisis at this point. I am doing a lot of self reflection, and recognizing my role in this situation. I am working on becoming a more whole person and not so codependent. I am an only child with a rough childhood and lived through my mothers 4 divorces…I didn’t trust anyone….I usually like my alone time….But not when I have a large problem.

It’s only a “large” problem if you make it a large problem, Julie. Every last one of us have problems in varying shapes, forms, and sizes, but you know, it’s not the trial you face, it’s the attitude you learn to face it with that matters most in the eyes of God. I’ve walked in your shoes-different situation, same crisis, and I had a real problem with perceiving that this had been done to me, rather than realizing certain choices had been exercised (these being beyond my control), that had led to the proverbial rug being snatched from underneath me.

Not only did I have to come to terms with, and accept this fact, I also discovered that I had issues to face, and the crisis triggered every issue I had. Because I didn’t understand, I hit rock bottom emotionally, blamed him for everything, was paralyzed in fear that all would be lost, cried buckets, had a nervous breakdown to the point of suicide…and what did this change? Nothing. The crisis marched right on forward, and nothing I did or said, made any difference.

The most confusing aspect is that the emotional “fixing” isn’t done by outside factors, although the mid-life spouse will do everything they can to influence outside factors, including their spouse, into fixing what is truly, an inside problem. Only the person can going through can “fix” the problem.

This is even true with you, having to deal with past issues that came from your mom’s four divorces, for example, you were abandoned four times because of these events.

Each time, you internalized this kind of event, made it all about you, made it all your fault,(when it was NOT, that was on your mother, and whichever husband was getting divorced). As a child, you didn’t have the proper mental and emotional tools to deal with what was happening, so, these were repressed, tucked away in your psyche for a later time, and so those perceived inadequacies came with you into adulthood.

Not only that, but you’ve never been able to ever fully trust anyone, and no wonder, the instability of your life didn’t allow for you to build the kind of healthy trust that we should to learn to have, but don’t have because we don’t know what it actually looks like. The rough childhood you had caused a number of emotional problems and issues within yourself that have spent your whole adult life rearing their heads from time to time, and reacting to various events, and threats, that didn’t always go right for you.

His mid-life crisis has now triggered these forth once more within you, and it’s good that you’re getting counseling to get the necessary help you need to learn to deal with yourself.

This is his problem, his crisis, and therein lies the biggest problem. You haven’t reached a point of accepting that he has changed himself toward you. Now, bear in mind I don’t say that a change of feelings, wants and desires on the part of one’s spouse without them saying something about it, is a right thing to do, it’s not.

As I explain in the article Aspects Leading into a Mid-Lie Crisis, the changes within are extremely frightening to the person going through them. How does one sit down and try to explain to their spouse, what they don’t understand for themselves? In most people’s minds, it’s better to stay quiet, hope it goes away on its own, so maybe they won’t have to deal with it at all, but it doesn’t happen that way.

To complicate matters, you have fear which is a powerful motivator, and this is the aspect that keeps them quiet, because there are multiple fears they are being faced with, and it’s overwhelming to them during that time. It’s only when their internal pressure increases to the point they are unable to hold it under control anymore, that they drop the emotional bomb. Before then, they’ve tried denial, and that hasn’t worked, then anger to try and put an emotional barrier between themselves and their past issues.

However, the progression of the crisis continues forward without regard to how they feel, or what they might want to do. There comes a time when people are called upon to finish growing into full emotional maturation, and that is the true purpose of the mid-life crisis. This crisis will take however long it takes, as it is on the timetable of the person going through, and has nothing to do with their spouse, their lives, their family, their children, their marriage, but has everything to do with them, and whatever issues they need to finish resolving.

We are given various opportunities in our lifetime to resolve these issues, learn from them, grow from them, and when we don’t-it all catches up with us at the time of our middle of life, or mid-life, as it’s called. We were designed to grow up in full, not in part, and the transitional period was designed to correct an emotional imbalance that truly exists in each person who didn’t finish puberty at the time they went through. There’s a lot more to this, than just bad behavior, rebellion, and people “throwing away” their marriages.

However, a lot of people will often criticize what they truly don’t understand, and they refuse to see the importance of their own growth that must be also be completed during this time. It becomes all about each individual person-not about a marriage that may or may not survive this time of life. It becomes an opportunity for change, growth and becoming on the part of each individual–but only if a person learns to perceive it in the way.

But now he went on a business trip for 5 days through Sunday. I am doing terrible being alone this time, because I have a whole future in question. I keep thinking about everything I could lose- my house, my cats, my husband. It’s too overwhelming to think about.

It’s overwhelming because if you let it all of what you feel through, in full, you would be dealing with a rage that would burn nearly out of control, and you’re not strong enough to deal with that, yet. You’re angry, because you weren’t given a choice of any kind-you’re being TOLD how he feels, and his honesty about how he feels also makes you angry, because it’s so unfair to you, the one who has always been there for him, with him, for all this time, and you can’t even help him, because he won’t let you help him with this.

It’s frustration at its worst. Very understandable at this time.

What you need to learn to do first, is to simply BREATHE, Julie. You have no control over what your future will bring, and in the early days after bomb drop, it becomes enough to simply learn to put one foot in front of the other for awhile. You’ve suffered a lot of loss in your life, and your focus is on what you have no control over at this point in time. That’s where your greatest fears lay, Julie, not having control, or even not having any say in this.

Unfortunately, no one gets a say in what someone else chooses to do, and somehow, we must needs to find the strength to accept that we really didn’t have a say, nor a choice about what they did against us, and learn to get ourselves together so we can move forward with the help of the Lord.
This isn’t a easy thing to do, Julie, and I understand this. ((hugs))

My husband’s therapist advised him to “use this time away to sort out your feelings. Get some time away from Julie, let her get her own support system while you work this out.” So he contacts me via text 1 x night to say good night, love you. For the past 10 yrs he has emailed me every morning, wondering if I got into work ok, or to tell me he got into work ok. It’s rough -this is the first time I haven’t gotten an email. I am very worried about this business trip separation, because last time he came home from the trip 2 months ago is when all this started, saying, “i don’t love you as much as i should, because I didn’t miss you at all when I was gone and started picturing a life without you. Maybe we got married too young.” So now I fear more of the same thoughts will come to him. I know, I know, I can’t control his thoughts/feelings, only my responses. I know that- and I hear it, but my heart is in terror mode right now and I can’t stop crying and thinking this is the end.

The therapist would be right about that. If you fight him on this, he will take this space and time for himself anyway, so you might as well stay backed off, and wait to see what he does. In meantime, continue the work on yourself. You’ll gain a better understanding of what’s happening as you go forward down this road that you’ve been placed upon. It’s not of your own making, but it makes this all about you, just as his crisis is all about him.

Don’t let the fear of losing what has already been lost paralyze you to the point you lose sight of yourself. You can do nothing for him, but everything for you. Learn to separate yourself from him in this way, and though his comments are scary to you, learn to take them with a grain of salt, and watch his actions, because his actions are what’s going to tell the tale anyway, not what he says.

Often as not, you’ll hear some things, but the actions won’t match, as “mixed messages” will be the order of some days. Take what he offers, and understand that right or wrong, these are his feelings, and learn to simply take note of what he says, while continuing to walk forward for yourself.

He’s saying a lot of things that reflect how he feels in the here and now, but these may not be what he says later on. You’re going to be just fine…it just doesn’t seem like it right now.

((hugs))

He hasn’t said the word divorce and said he wasn’t thinking about divorce, he would try marriage therapy first. But he said, “I don’t know if I love you enough to stay in the marriage.” Whatever that means!! I do believe my poor reactions have extended this whole thing. I didn’t know better. Now that I know, I have been myself(cheerful/playful/upbeat) and I don’t comment on his mood, I act as if it doesn’t exist. Of course its all an act- I feel sheer horror inside. I notice he has moved from: Apathy, to Anger (for past month), now to Sadness, with brief laughter sometimes. I read your articles, I couldn’t tell which stage he is in.

Considering that you’re still in the early days of bomb drop, I wouldn’t say your poor reactions have really made any difference at this point in time. We all had poor reactions when we were emotionally bombed. However, as we learn to continue coping with the ongoing mid-life crisis, and learn to put all focus on ourselves, rather than wasting energy worrying about what we can’t control (the mid-life spouse), our change of reaction, becomes more like responses, and this doesn’t come overnight, it all takes time.

His comment is reflective of how he feels right now, but that will change down the road of time, as he continues navigating for himself along this same emotional road of change, growth and becoming for himself. His feelings are buried so deep within, he cannot access these, so he’s speaking from that lack of feeling, but don’t take it personally, Julie, this is not about you, rather, it’s about him. If it were not you dealing, it would be someone else, because when people say things, and act out in various ways, it is driven by something in them, rather than influenced from outside sources.

He is definitely emotionally cycling at this point in time, (which is common for ALL mid-life spouses to do). Since his issues are hitting him hard, and he’s avoiding them by blaming you,(I saw this in the next paragraph coming up), I would venture to say he’s most likely in the Replay portion, which would be the middle of his crisis. The emotional bomb drop is always revealed at the beginning of Replay, which leads to a deeper confusion, and an intense self questioning that wasn’t present earlier in their transition.

And even knowing this doesn’t help you with how long it will take, Julie. Plus, whether he decides to return to the marriage or not, isn’t in your control, it’s in HIS. However, YOU do still have choices that you can make. You can decide to wait this out while working on yourself, or you can choose to walk away, while working on yourself. Either way, it’s up to you, and it will always be up to you. There’s a long road to walk, but there is still hope as long as you still love him.

((hugs))

What he did say the other night was, “You promise you’ll stop asking me questions and talking about the relationship. But then you talk about it like every day. Every time I get things sorted in my mind and come close to figuring things out, I spend so much time wondering when you’re going to bring something up again, that I spend more time being angry with you, and then I have to start my thinking all over again. I have very little time as it is, being in a doctorate program and working full time. You force me to go back to square 1 with my thinking, and it’s painful.” So I apologized, didn’t realize that asking him how he’s feeling is considered “talking about it.” But he wants no conversation about his or my mood or anything re: relationship. So for the few days before he left I did great- no talking about it.

This is where he’s actually telling you in a nutshell..”If you wouldn’t do this, I wouldn’t do that.” Plus, he’s making YOU responsible for him, when you’re NOT responsible for him at all. He can’t handle your feelings, can’t handle your questions, can’t handle his own feelings, but when his personal questions come up, he avoids these, and blames you.

This is where I saw him blaming you for what is his problem. Since he doesn’t want to face it, and the questions you ask, and the relationship talks are probing him more than he wants to reveal, he’s retaliating by blaming you for his avoidance. Plus, you can clearly see this is all about him in the first place.

His comments are filled “you, you, you”, when you have nothing to do with HIS inability to face himself. You don’t “force” him to do anything, these are HIS choices, not yours. This is something you will learn as you continue down the road of your own learning.

You see, we can influence people, but we cannot “make” anyone do anything, unless they CHOOSE to do something. We do not have the capability of “other control” (controlling other people), unless that person gives their power to us, and allows us to bend their will to ours.

As you continue to learn, and you begin to understand these things for yourself, you’ll gain more insight into his behavior. You didn’t owe him an apology for his accusation, which was really unfounded, because you didn’t do one thing to “make” him do what he claimed he did, nor did you did one thing to “make” him feel as he feels.

You don’t have that kind of power over another person, NO ONE does, unless that person chooses to allow you to have that kind of control—this kind of power giveaway comes from a lack of emotional and personal boundaries. He hasn’t separated himself from you completely, therefore, he still sees you as part of him, rather than separate-and you still see him in this same way….this is co-dependent behavior when you can’t see where you end and he begins, and this is also part of having a lack of, or very poor boundaries. Co-dependent behavior is also at the root of the mid-life spouse’s usage of projection.

For example, I can sit here and write advice all day long, but if you don’t decide to take it, I’m not going to force you to take it, nor am I going to harass you, cause you guilt, nor make you feel bad, because you make a choice that you feel is best for yourself. You know your situation better than I do, and I respect this aspect. I know that your choices are yours. But if I said, “OK, Julie, because you don’t take this advice, you will ruin your life,” or something of this sort, or if I spoke abusively toward you in an effort to pressure you into doing what I’m advising you to do, you might feel obligated to do exactly what I said, without considering that advice I gave might not be a right fit for your particular situation. In either case, I would be taking power over you, that I would have no business taking, although you’d allowed me to have that because I loaded you with guilt, in order to manipulate you into taking advice that I gave you.

However, I would be WRONG, and out of line, for doing that against you. You are a grown woman, more than capable of making informed decisions, and though you have asked my advice in this matter, what you do with it, is up to you, and not me. This is where many people let ego get in their way. They think their advice is the “best” advice, and if someone doesn’t take it they must be stupid or something.

However, that is NEVER true, there is always a reason for not taking advice given, and the biggest reason is usually lack of understanding on their part. It’s not until various mistakes are made, and people begin to realize that advice I’ve given makes sense that they begin tentatively taking it, and as they see it working, begin to trust it.

I have known people in the past who wanted to have this “other control” to force people who needed help to take THEIR advice, instead of having enough respect to step back, and allow them to choose for themselves. I’ve spoken out against many of them in the past, because you have people looking for hope, and choosing to extend trust toward people they’ve never met in their lives, and one needs to respect their right to choose.

To me, if a person is acting out abusively in their giving of advice, get as far as away from them as you can, because they’re pursuing their own agenda, built upon a platform of inflated ego. It all goes back to understanding that you are the only one who knows your situation best, and you are the one who will live with the end result of any decisions you make. Advice is just intended to be just that–advice to assist a person in making better informed decisions. And in respect of that, all I could ever do was give my own advice, step back, and let them make their own choices.

As you move forward within your own journey, you will also learn that not everything the mid-life spouse says is true, because you’ll always know the truth in your heart. You’ll also learn to recognize when their statements are full of blame, guilt, shame, and you’ll also learn to roll the various things they will say to try to control and manipulate you off your back. This WILL come for you in time. Just learn not to attach any real importance to what he says, because most of the time, it will be his confusion talking.

Also, you’ll find that no matter what you do or say, it won’t be right in his eyes, so you’ll learn to do what’s best for you, regardless of what he says/does. If you allow him to control and manipulate you, he will keep you from growing, and what you want to do is GROW for yourself, as this will be the only way that he might be influenced into his own further growth.

Again, all things take time, but time is what you have to work with.
((hugs))

I was raised without a religion, but I certainly believe in God. I don’t know much about praying, but I can tell you that every day I wake up and go to bed saying a prayer for all the things I should be thankful for in life….I have done that since I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 7 yrs ago and couldn’t walk for about a yr. My husband was the most supportive man in the world then, very worried about me until I got on Lyrica to relieve the pain. That’s why thinking he doesn’t love me anymore if unimaginable….

When it comes right down to it, having “religion” isn’t what will take us into Heaven in the first place. The Bible says that we must go through Jesus to get to the Father, and it is our acceptance of His Grace, Forgiveness and Unconditional Love. Through our belief and faith, we begin learning to build a personal relationship with Him.
He hears every prayer that goes up, and He will answer our prayers, even if sometimes the answer is “No,” or “Wait,” or “Not now.”

God is not a mean person, nor does He allow these things to happen just for Him to make fun of us, or laugh at us, or to cause us trouble. Every trial we face is a time of growth, and learning, containing powerful lessons we can benefit from, if we learn to view these in just this way. Some of the most painful times I ever endured, were some of the most powerful learning experiences, I ever had.
The beauty of having had this privilege to walk this road of learning is that I became most able to relate to what people were going through. This is the true purpose of our trials that lead to this greater learning. It becomes a testimony on our behalf in that, “I know how you feel, because I’ve there,” kind of thinking that also shows compassion in ways that someone who hasn’t been there, can’t even begin to understand.

Although the crisis is long past, my own personal trials have never ended-they’re only tailored in such a way to help me develop even more within myself. I finished facing all of my issues, finished the walking of the journey to wholeness and healing, and finished everything else in one aspect—only to begin a whole new journey within another aspect, because our future growth, is based on learning the aspects of the lessons we learned in the first place. 🙂

This same learning will continue throughout our lives. I am still learning, even as we speak, and I don’t expect to ever stop learning for the rest of my life. 🙂

What stage do you think he’s in?

I answered that question above-he’s in Replay.

What does the “space and time” do for him? I hear some people say its a “cop out”.. What does that mean?

The first thing I’m going to say is I’ve actually heard this said before–that people say that needing space and time to figure oneself out is simply an excuse, a cop-out–plus, life is too short, leave the bum, amongst other things. However, to be very fair, as I always look beyond the critical remark to consider the actual source, these remarks are made because of a true lack of understanding and people often DO tend to criticize what they don’t understand for themselves, because they’re either people who don’t really care about anyone but themselves in the first place, OR they’ve never walked this road, it’s never happened to them, but every uncaring remark that people make, will come back on them, in time.

I’ve even heard remarks about “more fish in the sea,” being asked why I stood for an uncertain outcome, but honey, I took marital vows a long time ago, and these vows didn’t just cover the good times-they covered the bad times, too. I believed with all my heart then, that I could survive, outwit, and outlast the mid-life crisis, and I did, plus I gained so much because of the experience I had.
My marriage became a bonus, rather than a means to an end. The goals should adjust themselves as you move forward-instead of trying to save your marriage, you’ll begin understand that you can only save yourself, because your husband is beyond your help, and must help himself. So, you let go, let God work on him, while you work on yourself, and give him this time and space to figure himself out.

Space and time will help him to process himself, to figure himself out, eventually put himself back together in this area, because he’s the only one who can, Julie. It’s extremely painful to have to face oneself, and if space and time aren’t given to them, they WILL take these for themselves, regardless of what their spouse has to say about it.

What people don’t realize, nor understand, is that during the time of transition, the mid-life spouse remains in severe emotional pain, and this is not just in their heads, they actually experience a rending pain that occurs within their broken psyche. This is a spiritual-type of pain they do experience. The emotional health of every person is contained within the chest area, and when, for example, your heart is broken, there is an actual pain that occurs within your psyche, which is located in this same place.

When the emotional door is opened for their issues, the past unresolved pain associated with these issues, settles itself within the psyche, (their chest), and it feels like a knife is cutting them into pieces-and this pain doesn’t let up until they get the majority of their issues settled within themselves, and all these broken emotional pieces are put back together to help them become whole and healed. This is part of the spiritual/emotional dimensions within a human being.

This last paragraph is based on my own personal experience, because I, too, went through the transitional period, and what understanding I didn’t acquire from my observations within his mid-life crisis, and that of other people’s experience, I gained a lot more knowledge from my own facing of this time. When you have someone, whose presence is an irritant, you do have the want to get away from them. You’re not sure why they’re irritating you, you just know they are, and if you don’t get away from them, or they don’t get away from you, you’ll do whatever you feel you need to do to either back them off, or get away from them.

I know that’s really hard to understand, but the feelings within are truly conflicting, confusing and hard to sort out without experiencing the additional pressure of someone in your peripheral vision, who’s always been there, but for a time you don’t want them there. I remember these feelings, because I had them, too..and in time, they did pass, but not until I sorted my own self, my own issues, and my own perception/perspective out.

I don’t know if this will help, but I hope it does. I remember the experience contributed to my own greater understanding of what the mid-life spouses go through. And, I can remember being deeply ashamed afterward, because I really didn’t understand the emotional pain that is felt by the mid-life spouse until I walked that same road for myself. God constantly stayed with me, but it was up to ME to do this for myself, and it took time, and I had to have the space to figure out and resolve myself during that time.

To explain this another way, there aren’t just physical and mental dimensions to a human being, there are also spiritual and emotional dimensions that must be considered. When a person isn’t whole and healed within the emotional dimension, there is a brokenness that leads to a deep pain within the psyche, and when you have pressures come at you from the outside, plus you’re dealing with pressures on the inside, it gets too much, so space must be gotten in order to learn to deal with oneself..and this takes time for a person to accomplish.

How much space and time, is needed, depends on each person, what they’re facing, what they’re dealing with, and they must be left alone to learn to deal with themselves. Usually, when a person backs off, it helps to release some of the pressure the other one is feeling, and the one who needs this space and time, may decide to turn back, and choose to re-bridge the gap that’s left by the one who has backed off.

In that way, you simply “let go, and let God” do what’s necessary for and within the other person.

I hope that within this long read, you’ll find something comforting, and maybe it will all help you. 🙂

I read your entire answer, prayed on it, then slept some on it, before I got started answering, because I knew it was going to be another long read, but length means nothing if there is nothing said, and I always means to say something solid within every answer I give. You might get a LOT of information, but I always hope people get something out of my humble writings.:)

Above all, take care of yourself, and understand that self-care is very important. Be patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and change, growth and becoming within a person isn’t accomplished overnight.

May God continue to walk forward with you, and bless you according to His Riches in Glory. 🙂

((hugs))

Much love,
HB

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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9 thoughts on “Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Julie N_2

  1. Thank you so much- I read every word you say carefully and read over and over too, to really think about it. I do agree with everything you say. I have a much better understanding now of why time and space are needed. You are right, a lot of people are misguided about what the mid life crisis really is.
    Of course, I am a “fixer”. I like to hear a problem and solve it right there, so you can imagine how difficult this is, with waiting and not being able to move the process along, or influence the outcome.

    It means a lot that you prayed about and thought about my situation and wrote so much, i really appreciate it and when I feel low I will re-read it for sure, and I will re-read the articles too, it takes me a few minutes to apply to my situation. It really helps to get advice from someone who has gone through it. I will continue my journey on self growth/counseling. I am open minded to feedback, and can take criticism without getting defensive. I know I have issues too, some I thought I had worked out. I will keep praying. Every day maybe I get a little stronger. I haven’t cried myself into an asthma attack like I did last week, or cried so much I vomited, like I did 2 months ago. So I guess there is slow improvement, and of course I don’t WANT TO BE so miserable/sad.
    You really are a lifesaver in understanding and helping through all this, and your compassion is greatly appreciated, you really are a special person with a great talent for guiding people and helping them feel better with your encouraging words…..
    I send much love and well wishes to you, I think it’s wonderful you write to people who are having troubles. 🙂

    1. HeartsBlessing says:

      Hi Julie, 🙂
      I’m glad you’ve gotten something out of my replies to your questions, and I’m glad I was able to help your understanding become more clear. 🙂 As time goes forward, you will see yourself getting better, stronger, more able to cope. That’s more important than anything else. As far as criticizing goes, I don’t go down that road with people. They are in enough pain without someone that’s already been there chewing them to pieces for making mistakes they didn’t know they were making in the first place.

      I have been known to get after people for getting stuck in an emotional rut after being in this over a year, but that’s much different than taking the time to sensitively deal with someone who is clearly in the early days of dealing with the emotional bomb.

      I can usually tell the difference between people who are early in this, vs ones who have gotten stuck in a truly self-victimized state. You aren’t one of the latter, you are still early in this. However, I can tell you from experience, with time and care, it does get better, and in time, you’ll find yourself better able to deal.
      Me? A lifesaver? No, not really. I don’t see it that way. What I see are hurting people who need help, and I will help them if they want me to. 🙂

      The Lord gifted me a long time ago, as a “help” and that job carries a lot of different aspects. He is the source for all I am, and ever shall be. Without Him, I couldn’t do a fraction of what He helps me to do, and He assists me in giving solid pieces of advice to people who need it.

      You’re going to be just fine, given time, and the strength that you haven’t tapped, as yet, but you will find it, Julie, I know you will. 🙂
      (((((((((((Julie))))))))))))

      Thank you for the love and well-wishes, Sweetheart. 🙂 May God continue to walk with you, hold you in His Hand, and help you come through each day. 🙂

      Much love back to you,
      HB

  2. Out of curiosity, what is an “awakening”? Does that mean that there is a life event like the death or sickness of a close friend or family member that causes the mid lifer to realize what they do have/how they do feel?
    Or does it mean a “spiritual awakening”, where one day the mid lifer realizes that that they do love the spouse? How does it come about? I’ve heard stories of tragedies causing awakenings. I am just wondering what it means….. and how it comes about when there is no tragedies in life.

    1. HeartsBlessing says:

      Hi Julie, 🙂

      Basically, an “awakening” means to go from being “asleep” to becoming awake and aware of something that was unknown before. There are many different kinds and types of awakenings, as well as different aspects that can trigger these awakenings. For example, Death or a sudden illness on the part of a close friend, or family member (even their spouse), can trigger an emotional “awakening” that leads to the realization within the mid-life spouse that no one is “indestructible,” bringing them face to face with their own mortality. This aspect will often be the beginning of the descent into the mid-life crisis journey.

      Conversely, the death of a parent or close relative while the mid-life spouse is deep within their crisis will do one of two things: it will either drive them deeper into their crisis, or serve to bring them forward into the kind of “awakening” needed to help bring them forward within their ongoing emotional journey.

      For another example, the emotional bomb drop will “awaken” the left-behind spouse to the fact that something is seriously wrong, and in time, if they become willing, this will help lead them into their journey to wholeness and healing. There is also a spiritual awakening that can occur on the part of the left-behind spouse, that if accepted, will lead them into attaining various spiritual gifts, including Intuition, (which is the still, small voice of God that never shouts).

      If there are no major events that occur, the journey of the mid-life transition will occur anyway, and in time, will gradually overrun the person who is doing their best to get away from it. The only difference is that it won’t arrive as quickly as it would if a major life’s event had occurred to literally toss or throw the person into it.

      IF they allow the whole process to work itself on them, they will come out changed, they won’t be the same, and they will be enlightened in ways they weren’t before, because of the emotional, mental, and spiritual awakenings they experienced during their mid-life transitional period that have resulted in change, growth, and the becoming of what God means for them to become as a result.

      I don’t know every one of the awakenings the mid-life spouse will experience, I just know and remember there are two major awakenings they will face-three if you count the very first one that caused them to realize they needed something, they were missing something, but couldn’t figure out what this was. I don’t know that they ever figure out that very first “awakening”, as it was designed to start them into The Change, as the mid-life crisis/transition is also called. I’m currently working on a two-part article concerning the subject of the “awakening”, and I don’t have it all done yet.

      I’ve also been looking at some of the spiritual aspects I have been known to teach over time. Strengthening one’s connection to the Lord is important, for the development of Intuition, learning to build a solid relationship with Him, and learning to accept that the mid-life crisis/transition is a true emotional and spiritual struggle between good and evil.

      These things are also part of experiencing a deeper awakening within oneself, too. There are many dimensions within the “awakening” aspect that lead to a deeper kind and type of growth, Julie, within each person. What I might need to further my growth, would not be what you might need. You might need “awakening” in one area, whereas I might need “awakening” in a completely different type of area.

      Since we’re not just alike, our needs in relation to change, growth and becoming wouldn’t be the same. No one except God knows what the mid-life spouse needs to “awaken” into for themselves, only He knows how to prompt them into this aspect, and only He knows the timing, when it would be right. It’s kind of like when someone is in a coma, for example. Until they are ready to “wake up” they will remain in a coma. Mid-life spouses are deep within the fog of their unawareness. Until they are triggered, or prompted into awareness (the awakening), they will remain deep within this aspect.

      God is more active during the mid-life crisis than people realize. If not for Him, most of them would remain right where they are, and never “wake up” to themselves. However, I cannot profess to know the whole mind of God, so some things I cannot explain,(such as why some people come out, and some don’t), because He hasn’t given me everything. He’s given just enough to be able to show people hope for their situations, and to help people understand what this time of life is, what it entails, and what it takes to come out of it.

      God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to behold, and there are some thing about the mid-life crisis we will never come to understand. Even as much as I understand about this time of life, there is still a lot more to learn that I’ve not learned just yet. There are still some questions I can’t answer in absolute, and even I didn’t get every answer I thought I needed to have.
      I think it’s because this time of life is different for each person, and I eventually found myself looking to directly the Lord for what I needed in the way of answers.

      A lot of understanding is gained from simply living through this experience, and time, which includes the healing of wounds, will yield a lot of future understanding.

      ((hugs))

      1. Hi there-

        Another update here. I would say things are improved at this point, not out of the woods though.
        For the past month or so, I see the “old husband” back to about 75% of what he was before all this. So he does laugh with me, no more funeral face. He makes it a priority to make sure that despite doctorate homework, himself time, work time, and friend time-that he also makes a few hours daily for “us” time. I appreciate that. In marriage therapy he does describe things as going “better”. We are slowly starting to go out together to different places. He does say it gets uncomfortable being out with me alone at dinner or movies because we don’t have much to talk about. But we are working on it. He doesn’t look sad very often anymore. We do try to limit relationship conversation to only during marital therapy because sometimes we both misinterpret what the other is trying to say.
        My uncle was killed by a drunk driver a few weeks ago, and he was supportive. I did take the opportunity to say, ” My dad’s family is loud, and talkative, but very good people who love life and their family. They have little social grace with the burping and farting and stuff, but they really love each other and have fun together, and that’s what I want out of life too.” My husband could see that and agreed, he wants to love life and have fun together and said he thinks things are going better and that improvements have been made.
        Yet he says something I don’t understand. He said, “At some point, we have to take a look after all the therapy is done, and decide whether we can both be happy enough with each other and this life. I don’t mean right now because we are just starting to work on things, I mean once therapy is done.” I said, “Ok, its still difficult for me to understand in a way. If marriage is broken and we are both working to fix it, then why do you still question a future with me?” He said, “Maybe we will need different things from each other that we can’t give each other, and we may not know for that for awhile. So if I am not touch feely person and you need hugs 3 x day and I can’t give it to you, now what? Do we a make a decision to end it? Don’t get me wrong, I want to make it work, I DO want to stay in this marriage and end up together, but I just can’t say at this point that a year from now we’ll still be together.” I asked if he wants to be with me and make it work and he assures me that he DOES WANT to stay committed and future oriented. He said, “My therapist says to live in the moment now, stop wondering what the future holds, just worry about working on your marriage and allowing yourself to enjoy time with Julie and living in the moment.” So there is progress. Every time I say something even remotely future oriented he gets a troubled look on his face…. For example, our mattress is bad and we need a good one but they are big expense. Because he doesn’t know if we’ll end up together, he doesn’t want to plan vacations or larger purchases. He says that he realizes that within the year or so he has to make a commitment to me if he does decide to stay in the marriage. We have been intimate and having enjoyable times together at home, slowly starting to go out more.

        Has he moved to a different stage given this information? Sometimes out of nowhere he emails me and says “I love you” and gets upset if I don’t hug him before bed or say I love you back right away…..Yet he’s the one who can’t see us together in the future just yet but “wants to”. Can you shed a light to what is going on? My main point is that, how can you be committed to working on things if you constantly question and wonder the outcome? His main point is-we should try as hard as we can to make it work, but we still may not be happy enough… Huh?

        **P.S- I have done a lot of work on myself, lots of alone time and time with friends.

        1. HeartsBlessing says:

          Hi Julie, good to see you again. I wondered how you were. 🙂

          Hi there-
          Another update here. I would say things are improved at this point, not out of the woods though.

          **It all takes time, remember?

          For the past month or so, I see the “old husband” back to about 75% of what he was before all this. So he does laugh with me, no more funeral face. He makes it a priority to make sure that despite doctorate homework, himself time, work time, and friend time-that he also makes a few hours daily for “us” time. I appreciate that. In marriage therapy he does describe things as going “better”. We are slowly starting to go out together to different places. He does say it gets uncomfortable being out with me alone at dinner or movies because we don’t have much to talk about. But we are working on it. He doesn’t look sad very often anymore. We do try to limit relationship conversation to only during marital therapy because sometimes we both misinterpret what the other is trying to say.

          **Though, he is beginning to return back to what he used to be, he’s still in his mid-life crisis, and it looks like the two of you are taking this slowly–slow is good. Many times misinterpretation is because both of you are under a lot of stress. Also, it’s not a bad idea to learn to sometimes simply “be” with him, but without conversation. One doesn’t always have to fill up the silence.

          Sometimes, silence is golden. You’re there, he knows you’re there, and just learn to “be” his friend, his companion. You don’t always have to be doing something, or saying anything.

          My uncle was killed by a drunk driver a few weeks ago, and he was supportive. I did take the opportunity to say, ” My dad’s family is loud, and talkative, but very good people who love life and their family. They have little social grace with the burping and farting and stuff, but they really love each other and have fun together, and that’s what I want out of life too.” My husband could see that and agreed, he wants to love life and have fun together and said he thinks things are going better and that improvements have been made.

          **Things are looking good at this time…one day at a time, one step at a time.

          Yet he says something I don’t understand. He said, “At some point, we have to take a look after all the therapy is done, and decide whether we can both be happy enough with each other and this life. I don’t mean right now because we are just starting to work on things, I mean once therapy is done.” I said, “Ok, its still difficult for me to understand in a way. If marriage is broken and we are both working to fix it, then why do you still question a future with me?” He said, “Maybe we will need different things from each other that we can’t give each other, and we may not know for that for awhile. So if I am not touch feely person and you need hugs 3 x day and I can’t give it to you, now what? Do we a make a decision to end it? Don’t get me wrong, I want to make it work, I DO want to stay in this marriage and end up together, but I just can’t say at this point that a year from now we’ll still be together.” I asked if he wants to be with me and make it work and he assures me that he DOES WANT to stay committed and future oriented. He said, “My therapist says to live in the moment now, stop wondering what the future holds, just worry about working on your marriage and allowing yourself to enjoy time with Julie and living in the moment.” So there is progress. Every time I say something even remotely future oriented he gets a troubled look on his face.

          **He would be right, because he’s trying to tell you a possibility, and it’s something you would need to accept. This is also something he’s trying to work out for himself, and all you need to do is validate him. You’re still making his MLC all about you, when it’s not about you.

          He’s on a quest, a search for himself, and there are times when you would need to simply listen, not question, and let him talk this out without analyzing everything he’s saying. This is not said to criticize you, Sweetheart. You’re doing the best you can with what you have to work with, and I do get that.

          However, in order for him to explore his own feelings, he must vocalize these, and you would need to learn to respect how he feels, whether you agree with it, or not. Right or wrong, he has a right to how he feels, just like you do.

          You want him to think like you, and right now, he doesn’t know what to think–and he must figure this out for himself. Questioning a future with you is part of HIS journey to figure out for himself if you would be his life’s companion or not, and you would need to be understanding of this right now.

          I know you don’t understand a lot of things he’s saying, but fear is causing you to want to try and “fix” him, and since you didn’t break him, you can’t “fix” him. You can’t make him feel any differently than what he feels right now, hon. All you can do is be there for him, validate his feelings, listen to him, and don’t ask him a lot of question.

          Enjoy this time with him, and don’t say anything about the future–that’s in HIS court, not yours–he’s the one having a problem, not you. He’ll figure it out, but don’t push him to figure it in two hours, or two days, or even two weeks.
          He still needs time and space to figure himself out. It’s the MLC way to live in the moment–at least for now…just go with the flow, be his friend, and let him figure himself out.

          …. For example, our mattress is bad and we need a good one but they are big expense. Because he doesn’t know if we’ll end up together, he doesn’t want to plan vacations or larger purchases. He says that he realizes that within the year or so he has to make a commitment to me if he does decide to stay in the marriage. We have been intimate and having enjoyable times together at home, slowly starting to go out more.

          **So what if a mattress is a big expense? That is a NEED, not a vacation or even a large “fun”purchase, so I would make it clear that I would have a new mattress, because that’s a NEEDED thing…whereas a vacation would be something not needed…however, not planning a vacation kind of sounds strange, but either way, he’s being controlling, and denying you what you need within the realm of a new mattress for your bed.

          Julie, you need to really begin finding yourself right now, because you don’t seem to understand the difference between a vacation,(want) and a mattress (need)–wants and needs are two different stories, and I’d be danged if I did without what I needed simply because he wants to hang his uncertainty over my head-but that is what YOU are doing–you’re NOT the one that’s not certain of what you want, HE IS….and simply because he’s not certain, that’s not a reason to let him control you in that way.

          If he gets to control the purchase of a new mattress, (which would be a need), based on HIS feelings, what is he going to control next? Your washing machine goes out, and you don’t get a new one, because of HIS feelings, and you have to go to the laundromat? OR, your refrigerator goes out, and you can’t buy one because of HIS uncertainty, and you’re reduced to a cooler and ice….I could go on and on…..See how ridiculous that sounds?

          He’s trying to control everything you do because of HIS crisis…and you need to open your eyes to this, because it’s wrong for him to do…but you’re letting him do it.

          However, not wanting to schedule a vacation/get away for the two of you is a little suspect here–other than lack of funds, couples do sometimes need those little get-aways if they can afford it. Consult with the therapist, but I’d almost bet it’s really about how far he can go in controlling your movements.

          Your own fear is causing you to bend to HIS will, and no one should ever ask you to bend to their will, to their whim, and it seems like he’s blackmailing you in some way–you do without, because of HIS problem? That doesn’t cut it—I could understand it, if you were out squandering the money, but I don’t think you are….I think he’s exercising control over you, and using HIS problem to make sure you stay exactly where HE wants you.

          Has he moved to a different stage given this information?

          **No, he’s not moved into a different stage, although there has been some progress along the way. For now, he’s still right where he was, and he’s seeking to hold you back, right along with himself, because of his fears that are triggering your fears–as a result, both of you are stuck in your own fears.
          You can’t make him break free, but you can break free for yourself.

          Sometimes out of nowhere he emails me and says “I love you” and gets upset if I don’t hug him before bed or say I love you back right away…..Yet he’s the one who can’t see us together in the future just yet but “wants to”. Can you shed a light to what is going on? My main point is that, how can you be committed to working on things if you constantly question and wonder the outcome? His main point is-we should try as hard as we can to make it work, but we still may not be happy enough… Huh?

          **When a man tells a woman he loves her, he’s telling her he will take care of her. At the same time, he’s still questioning his commitment to EVERYTHING at the moment, as part of his emotional redevelopment, including you, and you don’t need to read so much into what he’s saying–what he feels now may not be what he feels later on. Let this go.

          However, when you push him by asking him questions that he either can’t answer, won’t answer to your satisfaction, he begins directing more of his self-questioning toward you, when he doesn’t need to, and your emotional upset simply feeds the discussion in a wrong way.

          Your questions are taking his attention away from himself…stop asking questions, and just learn to live in this time.
          You become a target when you start asking questions instead of learning to live in the moment. Right now, the future is just that, the future. And if you’re worrying about the future, you can’t live in the present, and if you’re always living in the past, you can’t move forward into the future.

          So, just live in the here and now, and let the future take care of itself.

          He wants reassurance that you still love him, etc., but at the same time, he’s finding out who he is WITHOUT Julie, and you need to be finding out the same…who you are WITHOUT him. I know that’s a hard balance, but in time he will figure this out without your help.

          You need to let all of this go, this is simply a part of his emotional development process at this point, and it’s normal to question himself–but what his state of mind is now, may not be what it becomes later.

          You need to also be questioning yourself, in many ways as per your own growth, and don’t ask him questions, if you don’t want to hear the truth as he knows it at this time.

          Understand he has to work this out for himself. I would often hear comments out of the blue that were “future” type comments, but he was often unaware of what he was saying, and if I said something, I’d get a “deer in the headlights” look, because his awareness hadn’t caught up with what he was saying. In time, as my own journey progressed forward, I learned to go with the flow in this, and you will need to do this, too.

          Take what you can get from him, when he is willing to give it, hon, but don’t let him hold you back in your own growth. Don’t pin all your hopes on this man. He’s disrespecting you in several ways due to his own insecurity that he’s struggling with. However, you’re pushing him in ways, too, with your insecurities.

          The two of you are guilty of trying to control each other–when you can’t control him in the first place, and he needs to learn he can’t control you, either.

          **P.S- I have done a lot of work on myself, lots of alone time and time with friends.

          **This last message sounded so much better, Julie. However, from what I’m seeing of your interactions with him, you’ve still not done a whole lot of emotional work within yourself, because you’re still trying to cling to him instead of detaching yourself from him.

          You would need to target more of the issues within you that are triggered by his behavior toward you, and begin resolving these. Outside solutions won’t “fix” an inside problem–it takes doing inner mirror work to help you understand what it is within you that reacts to his consistent “threat” of abandonment, because it still scares you that he might leave you at a later time…and this is a possibility you have to face and accept during this time, whether it happens or not–and as a matter of fact the possibility will always exist for all of your life, because there is NO guarantee someone will stay with you forever, and we are called upon to accept these things. Plus, we need to learn to accept the person we’re with for who they are, not for what we might want them to be.

          In turn, as we build our own emotional confidence, self esteem, and come to a point we love and value ourselves, we teach them who we are, what we are made of, and how to treat us, as we show them what we will and won’t accept within their behaviors toward us.

          You’re not recognizing his controlling of you in areas where you have just as much say as he does…you’re not his child, you’re his legal wife, in spite of where he is within HIS MLC. He will do what you allow him to do, and he will treat you as you allow him to treat him.

          Don’t let fear get in the way of the things you know you need.

          You need to learn about boundaries, and you need to learn that he is not the “be all and end all” of Julie’s emotional experience. Detach and distance from him more, and increase the gap to allow for him to grow. Give him what he asks for when he asks for it, but at the same time, continue your own growth, and keep moving forward.

          Stop “waiting” on him….and learn about setting boundaries on his controlling of you. You’re allowing him to take the lead in TOO many areas of YOUR life…emotionally separate yourself from him completely, Julie…and detach completely-learn to see him for what he truly is, not for what you would want him to be, and learn to accept him, while again, learning to emotionally stand on your own two feet.

          I hope this helps
          ((hugs))

          1. Hi There-
            Ok, update again. I take your advice seriously. I can see what you mean with several of your responses. It is starting to sink in. I started to talk to my therapist about my goals in life and relationship, and what I need that is important to me. I discovered these are the things that are important to me in a relationship:
            1) I need a spouse who makes me feel like I am the most important person in the world to them.
            2) I need to feel love from the physically by a hug or hand touch of some sort, at least 1 x day.
            3) I need to feel that my spouse can talk to me about anything, as a best friend.
            4) I need to feel passion within the relationship and feel wanted-ie, getting surprises at times.
            5) I need to feel like I am in a STABLE relationship with someone who does not “question” the relationship, where I can come home and always know I am loved and supported.
            My counselor is helping me realize I am not getting any of these things from my husband, and the question is how much longer do I go on without my needs being met? In Life, i would like to: 1) Have a baby in a couple yrs 2) own a timeshare/make vacations more priority 3) Move into a better house. My husband might be right- I don’t think he is capable of giving me what I need. The question is, can he ever get to that point where he meets my needs?
            Last night in marriage counseling- I mentioned that sometimes when I touch his hand or back, he looks uncomfortable. The only reason i am touching him is because a couple weeks ago, he asked my husband how he feels love from me? One way was hugs, so my homework was to give hugs/touch more. He said in therapy that he feels uncomfortable (80%) the time that I touch him. He doesn’t know what he is thinking or why (the counselor probed about that- not me). He said, “I think its an attraction thing.” He said sometimes he is attracted to me, but lots of times not, and doesn’t know the difference between he does sometimes and sometimes does not. I am 270 pounds now, but I was 320 when we married 12 yr ago- he was all over me all the time at that weight, and he says I am MORE attractive now than back then. But he said attraction is more than good looks, it has to do with looks, attitude, and mostly connection. He has no idea how to make the connection better though, and said he will work on this with his individual therapist. What I hear when he says this is, “You’re fat and I don’t find you attractive anymore-in fact you’re so fat and ugly when you touch my hand I have to pull away.” I know thats not what he said, but I don’t know how/if you can get attraction back. And how can you be attracted to someone today, but not most other days? Or is it all just bullcrap because he can’t admit this is where he wants to be because of his MLC?

            The marriage therapist said that he should, “Fake it til you make it” and his homework should be to start hugging me daily instead of me coming to my husband. I think that might be a bad idea, forcing him to connnect when he doesn’t want to. I don’t want pity hugs. The therapist said it’s not pity, and Tom said, “What can I do to feel more connected or attracted to her?” The therapist said, “You can change the way you think. She is only not attractive to you because of the way you’re thinking about the situation. You should say to yourself, “Julie is a good person who loves me and treats me well and I am lucky to have her in my life, therfore, she is attractive to me.” When he saw me crying, he cried in therapy.
            Do you think it’s a bad idea for the therapist to force Tom to think different? To me, he is my husband and should love me regardless and I don’t want someone to “convince” him to be attracted to me or love me.
            I believe the chances of this relationship working is very slim now, I am so angry I don’t want to look at him and I may want him to leave. To me, he doesn’t deserve my love or support and I am thinking less of him by the minute. I can live without him and i NEVER would’ve married someone so superficial about looks.
            I asked him why he thought things were going better if he knew 80 % time he is not attracted to me, he said because we started having fun together while out and while at home, which is a big improvement. I said yeah, but friends do that. I asked if he finds me attractive during intimate times, he said yes he does. He says, “Some days I feel good about the relationship, some days I don’t. I don’t know why and I have difficulty identifying my emotions.” He is serious about taking issues to therapy and says he really does want our relationship to work.
            How can someone be in MLF crisis and yet “want’ it to work?
            Trust me- I hear what you are saying – I am slowly starting to disconnect from him and picture a life without him and I am working through that pain in therapy-I am just starting though so yes things he says/does still upsets me even though my emtional state shouldn’t depend on him….I recently set some boundaries about money and told him I will no longer come second to sports watching and his docterate work- I only agreed to one of those things. He agreed, saw my point of view and starting prioritizing time with me.
            I don’t know how to act around him now- I am so so angry and see no chance of this working….

            Should I not be insulted by this attraction issue? He said I am attractive but he doesn’t always feel “attracted” to me….I just keep feeling that I don’t deserve this, I deserve better, and he agreed that I do deserve better, and he hopes to be able to give me what I need and will work on it.
            I am aware some of my thinking is not rational and is emotional- and I know I still have a way to go, but I am starting to realize what I want and I won’t “settle” for this man as he is currently.

            Can you help with some of these points- what am I still seeing irrationally? What looks hopeful and what doesn’t?

  3. Hi there.

    Thought I would give an update to hear your thoughts on my situation…

    The last 2 weeks have been very uncomfortable in the house. I have been giving PLENTY of space around the house and my husband acknowledged I have been doing this. He asked me to arrange for a marriage counseling appt. because he said he “can’t continue to live like this.” When he was watching tv with me on Sunday – he said that there is something he wants to bring up to the marriage counselor (we only had 1 visit but both of us like him). He said that things are SO uncomfortable around the house, he wants to leave and separate for awhile. He said around the house, everything reminds him of us when he is trying to clear his head to do his docterate homework and correct papers and create lesson plans. Even though I give plenty of space, being in the house itself is a trigger he said. He said he had nowhere to go to though and isn’t sure how that would work out. I told him to do what he needed to do, but I mentioned I think we should do what the marriage counselor says (he is a certified marriage therapist for 30 yrs). He says he doesn’t even feel comfortable giving the daily hug and kiss like we have been doing 13 yrs. That of course hurts very badly….
    During the visit he asked about separation. Counselor said it was very bad idea. He basically said that we haven’t tried anything yet, only 2nd visit, and that if he describe the “uncomfortableness” and why/what triggers it, then leaving now is not the answer. Luckily separation has been taken off the table for now. He asked what we make him feel more comfortable now around me. Husband said he doesn’t know but will explore with his individual therapist who he now sees weekly.
    Counselor said to me at one point “you know these are existentiall questions, right?” I think he was suggesting that I knew it was mid life crisis I believe, but he wouldn’t say that word mid life crisus to my spouse- spouse told therapist he didn’t like that I was diagnosing him. (I am clinical social worker who did therapy with elderly and end of life issues, so I have little knowledge of mid life issues. Bottom line is that counselor told him that he needs to give the marriage more than the 10% he is admitting to trying in marriage. He also said that although there are similarities with how his dead mother used shame/manipulation/guilt, and how I sometimes talk to him similarly (I didn’t realize he was interpreting what I say to be guilt or manipulation, so I have been good since). The therapist reminded him I am not disabled with Fibromyalgia like his mother was bedbound with MS. I also told him the relationship can be what we make of it. He admitted to not knowing what he needed, except he feels he doesn’t know “who I am without you. I moved out from my house, right into marriage with you, I never lived alone or experienced what life is like.” Also said, ” I don’t know what I want.”
    I told the therapist we were having fun/laughing together 2 months ago, since he has “put up a wall.” Therapist asked and he admitted to putting up this wall. He asked, “What do you need to do to make this marriage work?” He said, “I want to take the wall down I have against Julie. I don’t know why/how it came up, but she is a good wife and we had many good years of marriage and its worth the try. But I can’t promise anything. I don’t know what feelings are buried underneath this wall or what to do with them.”
    Since that therapy, he has been MUCH better to me- he is no longer: Avoiding eye contact, apathetic look, extremely sad look, angry look. He is now sharing details of his life with me. He is going out with friends more, I encourage that. He is agreeing to do something tomorrow together which is like a “first date” for me, going to BINGO at a casino-which he LOVES….He is looking at me again with that “familiar look” I say, because for 2 months he looks/talks to me like a stranger.
    I would like to think things are starting to turn around a little. He is giving hugs/kiss again daily and saying I love you to me first still.. He is thinking of my bday a month away and already bought something he said. So I can see his actions say he is thinking of me. I like that he is now willing/able to have more fun….
    I just worry about a lot still. He is the one who said we either start marriage therapy or we separate. We are both very willing and look forward to marriage therapy. He wants to love me and stay married but still says “I don’t know who I am”. I would like to say things are going better, but after an argument last week, he changed his facebook status OFF of married, and deleted the question entirely. I am so hurt by this. My friends have said, “He is trying to figure himself out without you. Having you stalk him on facebook and comment on everything is probably annoying.” So I stopped commenting on his stuff, but am insulted.. How can you be “working on the relationship” if you can’t acknowledge you’re married? I think we have a weird situation here, because he does WANT HELP and Takes counselor opinions VERY SERIOUSLY. Which is good for me I believe, because he trusts their perspective.
    I told him I am changing as well, and look forward to knowing him and his interests as he changes, and I have been changing too. We were both homebodies and now we like to go out and be more social.
    Is this going in a positive direction? In some ways I feel yes, but I also feel like if he feels “rushed into” figuring things out because of therapy advice, he might get underneath the “wall” he put up and say maybe the feelings he shares are friendship and not romantic. He still says things like, “I can’t promise anything, but I will try.” He admits he does have love for me, but can’t feel it sometimes and feels numb. He admitted to me some things that are bothering him about me, and I know it’s projection, but I agree it’s annoying behavior so I adknowledge it.
    Is it a “protective measure” for him to “wall up” against me like he admits to doing? Therapist asked if he is purposely putting up the “funeral face” (i called it that when I was angry one day) to me, but noone else. He said yes, “I can have fun everywhere but home.” I told therapist, “I have been giving him space and everything he wants and he walks in the door like this after having a fun day with friend. I want to have fun times out and about like he does with friends too.” Therapist looked at me and said, “Hang in there, this isn’t about you- you get that right? These are existential questions he is talking about.” He said to spouse, “Separation is not the answer, Julie not giving a backrub lke you ask for yrs is a SMALL problem which is very solvable. Your solution of separation is drastic and doesn’t address the issues.” Luckily spouse is listening intently and trusts the advice. Can I consider that things are going well, or having therapy going to feel like its “forcing the marriage” to move forward, when he keep saying he doesn’t know what he wants…..

    1. HeartsBlessing says:

      Hi Julie! 🙂

      Your husband is thinking about leaving, and in this thinking, he’s trying to find a way to justify it. However, you must not be “feeding” his justifications, (which is good) so he’s just talking. Keep doing what you’re doing in this area, and understand that silence is golden. The less you say, the less he could take onboard to justify his apparent need to run away. That’s what he’d be doing if he left, was running away, but he wants you to validate that in such a way that he could leave without feeling guilty about it.

      Keep listening, but try not to worry about anything he says–remember this is still about him, and he has to figure this out for himself. Don’t argue with him, and don’t worry about the relationship. If you get impatient, he’ll only act out more and more, so keep leaving him alone like you’ve been doing. You’re doing fine. 🙂

      Looks like counseling is quite productive, although the counselor is putting some pressure on him. However, the counselor is also walking a fine tightrope, and balancing things well between the two of you, causing your husband to do some serious thinking about why he feels the way he does, while reminding you that this is not about you at all. The advice to hang in there is right on the money. 🙂

      It all takes time, Julie-he didn’t go into this on a dime, and he’s not going to come out on a dime. Continue your own personal counseling, and continue to do the work for yourself. 🙂

      What your husband feels is real, however he’s not run away, regardless of what he’s said. In his statements, it’s obvious that he thinks he’s missed something–when honestly, he hasn’t missed a thing, but it’s up to him to figure this out for himself. He’s still talking, so that’s a good thing. Getting things out on the proverbial table will often give them a different look. People have tendency to blow things up a whole lot bigger in their minds than what they do when they put stuff out on the table to be looked at..and then, things don’t look quite as bad as before.

      You, my dear, need to calm down and stop worrying so much. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I think he still loves you, and I think he will sort himself out in time. It’s going to take a while, but things are going to be all right, Julie. ((hugs))

      Things will work out, and I would suggest that you stop focusing so deeply on what he’s doing, and redirect that energy all the way back into Julie–look at what Julie wants, who Julie is–and don’t base all these things on your marriage.
      You were someone before you got married-where did you lose the Julie you were? How are you planning on finding her? What dreams, goals and aspirations did you have before you got married? These are things to think about. 🙂

      Continue separating yourself from him, don’t pursue, and keep allowing him space and time to figure himself out. There’s not much else you can do in this area, except get the focus OFF him, and onto yourself.

      Things look fine at this time, Julie. The only real problem is you’re worrying about things you can’t control in the first place, and you’re taking all of the negative things he says to heart, when again, they’re not about you, never were about you, and never will be about you.

      It’s all about him. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. 🙂

      ((HUGS))

      Love,
      HB

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