Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Sarah

Subject: Back to the start–Sarah

Hi Sarah, 🙂
Dear HB,
Thank you for all that you have done for all of us here. Like many others, I’m
confused where my husband is in this process and fear that he may never come out.

BD was 18 months ago when I found out about OW (only 2 months into their PA) and he
cycled back and forth quickly. He lived at home but stayed away 3-4 days, then he
would stay home for weeks and we would connect, then he would cycle away again. In
January he reconnected and I saw the old H again for a few months (we had a
wonderful Valentine’s Day!), but he slipped up and saw ow again. He admitted it,
didn’t try and hide it, but I was devastated and overreacted and basically kicked
him out and told him I hated him. When I told him to leave I said that he needed to
live with ow and make it public to kill the fantasy. So, last month he moved in
with OW and is pushing for a divorce. He has introduced her to his kids and now
their affair is public. He did everything to keep it hidden before I kicked him
out.


**Well, honey, first of all, he’s in, and is still within the stage of Replay. You found out about his affair partner, and he woke up to himself and what he was doing out of the fear that he would lose you.

When he came home, he was going through the processing of his affair, moving forward within his time of further awakening to himself (evidenced by changing back to the man you once knew), but when he saw the other woman again, this ‘reset’ his clock within his affair processing. However, when he was honest about having seen her, you reacted in deep anger, and inadvertently pushed him right into her arms.

As a side note, I truly understand how you feel–what he’d done had put you through a lot of different negative emotions, and I know how hard it’s been on you to deal with a man who has committed adultery.

However, most left-behind spouses don’t understand that when this tightrope is being walked, you can’t pressure the mid-life spouse who is seriously struggling NOT to go down this road again.

I always advise showing a soft landing, showing them love and acceptance, because their emotional state is extremely fragile during this time of affair breakdown.

I don’t advise the above because I’m “shooting in the dark”–I KNOW what I’m doing when I advise in the ways that I do. What looks like doormat behavior on the part of the left-behind spouse now, will serve one well down the road, as the mid-life spouse does remember how they were treated while within their most rebellious time of emotional crisis.

People have said I was crazy, wrong, didn’t know what I was talking about, etc…but too many other people have taken the same advice, saw it work, and know for sure that it does work–it’s the only option one would have in order to try and navigate the situation forward until such a time when the mid-life spouse’s emotional state becomes better able to take the pressure of boundary-setting.

The mid-life affair is not a “normal” type of affair–when emotional pressure is applied, and the mid-life spouse isn’t ready, nor strong enough to take it, they will immediately take the road of least resistance, as what you did backfired.

Instead of what should have happened within a “normal” situation of infidelity–affair made public, and killed the fantasy, bringing him back toward you, he decided she was his best option, because at that particular time, she wasn’t emotionally pressuring him like you were.

I’m not saying that what he did was right, but it’s how mid-life spouses emotionally think–since their decisions are emotionally-based, his logical thinking just wasn’t there.

For now, he’s decided he will have her, and push you for a divorce, PLUS, since you have now blown this out into the open, there’s no reason to hide anymore. So, he feels entitled to have what he wants, regardless of what you think.

Now, I believe he didn’t have any intention of keeping her in the first place, and he kept his affair hidden, partly for the thrill of the secrecy, but more to make it easier for him to eventually return to you, because somewhere in his heart at that time, he knew she wouldn’t last forever.

However, what’s done is done, and now the affair will take a longer road of time–the other woman will have to eventually “overplay” her hand, and he will have to realize that she really isn’t what he thought she was–a better option than you.

You can’t do one thing but wait this out, if you choose to do it…but while you’re waiting this out, you’ve a journey to take for yourself, that will help you to change, grow, and become what God means for you to be.

You would have had to take this journey anyway, and if you had made a significant amount of changes, you would not have reacted as you did..but again, what’s done is done, and cannot be redone.

OW is half his age –she is 25, he is 50. She also used to report to him at work,
but they were found out and he was basically demoted and humiliated but still has
his job even though he is basically banned from ever being a manager again. (I just
recently found out that OW actually ratted him out because she claims that I was
calling her at work and was afraid she would lose her job — I never called her.
Just goes to show how manipulative she is, but H steadfastly defends her.) He was
moved to another department but still works with ow. His formal reprimand (a week
leave w/o pay) still has not been handed down but his supervisor holds it over his
head. The work situation has been gone on for over a year now. He had a mini
awakening last April when the affair came out at work. He has been with the company
for over 25 years and his work was very important to him. He and ow have broken up
repeatedly, mostly her doing I believe. H’s daughter told me that ow has been
driving him crazy and has serious issues. H told me soon after BD that his
relationship with ow was volatile and that she was immature.


**As you can see, the affair partner he was involved in is as broken, if not more broken than he is. Her life is filled with contradictions, drama, and no affair partner knows how to live in peace.

The majority of these illicit relationships exist within emotional turmoil, times of trouble, constant fighting, and they’re like teenagers who don’t know how to maintain a stable relationship.

There is NO mid-life spouse I have ever seen who could begin and maintain any relationship for any length of time. They don’t have it in them–this is a learned aspect, and when a mid-life spouse begins an affair, it’s usually to try and settle a parental-type issue, as the other woman/other man is just like the mid-life spouse, and just like the parent(s) that raised them.

I look for the constant drama, etc. to eventually spell the end of their affair, the only question would be when this would happen. However, all you can do is go on with your life, leave this alone, and see what happens in the future, because you have NO control over what he does–you can only control what you do.

He has never really blamed me except at the beginning. Mostly he said it was his
fault and that was being self-destructive but could ‘t stop. He even said that he
need to hit rock bottom before he could move on. He was drinking a lot too. He is
very self-aware and said things implying he wants to be with me and will return.
Though that has changed recently too and as he said that I need to move on and make
plans to live without him. Right now the only communication we have is an
occasional text. Up until now we had nearly daily communication, even if it was
just a single text, but now many days go by without any contact. The first two
times I saw him after moving out, it didn’t go well and I pushed him too far. The
last time I was very friendly and he seemed sad rather than angry when he left.

**You can’t control what he does, you can only control your actions and reactions. Also, I would suggest you STOP pushing him, every time you get a chance to see him, or you may lose him completely.

He still has feelings for you, or he wouldn’t return at all, even to see you.
Regardless of how deep a mid-life spouse goes into their crisis, they KNOW it’s them-but because they have problems facing themselves, they’ll run as far as away as they can, to avoid facing what they know they’ve done to tear their families apart.

Once they awaken to themselves, they cannot retreat back into the deep fog they were in before they went through this awakening..so yes, his awareness would be there, although, there would still be times of fogged thinking and doing.
—–

He has shown deep depression throughout and then would move into a manic phase and
disappear. This cycling has slowed down now that he is gone as far as I can tell.
That’s what frightens me. I feel like he is seeing that I was the problem now
rather than the other way around.


**Depression is present throughout the mid-life crisis until the first phase of the final stage of Acceptance, where he would go through his second awakening-where the “veil” of the mid-life crisis “fog” would fully lift, showing him everything he’s done in the way of damage. It would be at this time that his awareness would become very clear. However he’s not there, yet. This would happen IF he makes it that far–he’s still a long way away from this time, and he still has quite a long road to walk.

He may not have spoken blame to you, but he blames you for what he cannot face for himself. It’s convenient for them to do that. All of them have to have a “scapegoat” to shift their blame on, whether they speak it, or not.

Some are more vocal in their blaming, some don’t speak, but their actions are clear, as they continue trying to run away from their problems, and themselves. Since they cannot look within, at this phase of their emotional redevelopment, they keep searching for outside solutions to try and resolve their inside problems.

Of course this never works, but you can’t tell them that-they must figure this out for themselves.

If he didn’t blame you at all, he would be there with you. However, to be very clear, you didn’t cause this, because you didn’t break him-therefore you cannot fix him, you never could.


Because he seems to be so aware of what is
happening but unable to stop and move on, I’m afraid he will be one of those stuck
in the tunnel. He had a similar “quarter life crisis” before I met him that led to
his divorce from his first wife. He tells me our circumstances are different,
though. I don’t know.


**Whether he becomes stuck in the mid-life tunnel or not, is something he would have to figure out for himself. There is always hope as long as you still love him.

It’s apparent that he had issues during that quarter-life crisis, and he must have settled a few of them, because a lot of what he’s said reflects the fact that he does know what he’s facing this time. However, he’s still running away, and that’s not good on him.

Are any of these cycles looking familiar to you in any way? Experiencing déjà vu–been here before? If so, you would need to search yourself to see what needs to be done differently to help move him forward.

Things have a tendency to cycle until something missed has been done correctly, a particular issue would need to be settled in full.

The fact he is telling you that these circumstances are different would tell you that he’s somewhat aware of what he’s doing at this time.

Thank you in advance for any insight you can shed on my situation.

**Everything you’re describing is Replay behavior, and it’s apparent he’s still riding some of the “highs” of Replay…but what goes up, must come down, given time, and hitting rock bottom doesn’t come until he goes into the next stage–however, it will be a gradual slide downward…and many things must come to pass before this begins to happen.

First, he would need to finish his second foray into his affair, and this would take longer than the first one did, because you would need to make some changes for yourself.

After what’s happened before, he doesn’t “trust” you to not blow up at him–and though the other woman is extremely unstable, he feels that she is “safer” than you are at this time–and somehow, some way, you would need to begin reversing this perception on his part of you..…but whatever changes you make cannot be temporary, they must be permanent on your part.

Otherwise, only time will tell what will happen next. You don’t have control over this situation–he is the only one who can figure out what he will do.

The only thing you can do is focus on yourself, and keep moving forward within your own life, while he continues to self-destruct.

I hope this helps.

((hugs))

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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5 thoughts on “Mid-Life Crisis Q&A-Sarah

  1. HB, thank you! I’ve read so many conflicting accounts about how to respond to him (the whole cake eating issue), but your response sheds tremendous light. Yes, I do need to work on myself still which was evident with my reaction. I’m fearful I’ve lost him for good.

    You said “After what’s happened before, he doesn’t “trust” you to not blow up at him–and though the other woman is extremely unstable, he feels that she is “safer” than you are at this time–and somehow, some way, you would need to begin reversing this perception on his part of you..…but whatever changes you make cannot be temporary, they must be permanent on your part.”
    I get that and I am working on myself, but in the meantime, do I completely let him be and wait for him to contact me (if he does) or can I send him occasional friendly, light-hearted messages? Last time I saw him I was friendly and things were much better but because he is in so deep now and we have such little contact it frightens me. So do I just completely sit back and let go or do I try to maintain some thread of attachment?

    1. HeartsBlessing says:

      Hi Sarah, 🙂
      do I completely let him be and wait for him to contact me (if he does) or can I send him occasional friendly, light-hearted messages? Last time I saw him I was friendly and things were much better but because he is in so deep now and we have such little contact it frightens me. So do I just completely sit back and let go or do I try to maintain some thread of attachment?

      If you can occasionally contact him without having expectations, you can test the waters at any time you like. However, in light of recent happenings, I think I would just wait a while before I contacted him. It was obvious he returned to you before, because the other woman had “overplayed” her hand on him, and if she did it once, it stands to reason, she’d do it again.

      If you contact him too often, then he gets to ride the fence, because he would have no real incentive to try and get back with you…but, when you see him/contact him, make sure your attitude is like you say, a light one, a happy one, as you would be trying to bridge a gap between yourself and him, it would be necessary as you would try once more to become a ‘draw’ for him in order to attract him away from her–I know, this is teenage behavior, but for now, it’s necessary…..

      And if the other woman throws a fit on him, and we HOPE she DOES, and then tries to “bait” you in any way, do NOT contact her, speak to her, or otherwise acknowledge her. She is nothing in the greater scheme of things, and all she could do was try and draw you into a fight that’s not even worth your time.

      Other women are notorious for trying to drive a wedge between the mid-life spouse, and the left-behind spouse, and quite honestly, she really isn’t worth your head-space or even the energy needed to deal with her–she’s HIS problem, not yours….and so, leave her in her little corner of insecurity,(the MORE insecure, she is, the better off the situation would be, because her insecurities would eventually increase the pressure on him, and we would hope he would realize once more why he left her, and came back to you in the first place) while you begin building necessary self-confidence as you learn to understand that what he’s doing has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him.

      Honey, you are the WIFE..therefore you have Power that the OWs of this world will NEVER have. 🙂

      Hang tough, and keep me posted. 🙂 Remember the work you do on yourself, is beneficial for you. 🙂

      ((hugs))

  2. Thank you so much for your sage advice. You are such a wonderful resource for people going through this trauma.

    I have exchanged a couple of friendly texts with H and was actually feeling like a bit of a sigh of relief when he hit me this morning with a text about selling the house. It had been over a month since he brought it up.so we went from nice Father’s Day text yesterday to this brutal awakening. It’s been two months to the day that he moved out and I’m sure money is getting tight for him and possible that ow is putting pressure on him. I was calm in my response and said that I’d like to talk about it and that I still don’t want a divorce.

    I have been doing such a great job of detaching and trying to just let go, but now I feel as though I should just give up and move on. Since you have seen so many others in my position, perhaps you have some idea of where this is going. Is this just signs of him moving through the tunnel or is it signs of our marriage being truly over? I know you don’t have a crystal ball, but just when I was starting to feel a bit hopeful, he knocks me down again.

    1. HeartsBlessing says:

      Hi Sarah, 🙂
      If I did not want to sell the house, then I would not sell my house. Why sell your house to help finance HIS affair? I’m sure money’s getting tight for him, because he’s spending a lot on his paramour, and she might be behind it, but don’t cave because he wants it. If you want to sell it, then by all means do, but if you don’t, DON’T.

      Your husband has gotten himself in this mess, and he will have to figure out how to get himself out of it. You didn’t twist his arm, and make him decide to have an affair. That was HIS decision, that he made on his own. You made your mistakes, but you didn’t do this “to” him–he has done it to himself.

      Since you have seen so many others in my position, perhaps you have some idea of where this is going. Is this just signs of him moving through the tunnel or is it signs of our marriage being truly over?

      Let me ask YOU a question–do you love this man? Do you still have hope for a possibly restored marriage? If the answer is yes to both questions, don’t give up! Keep standing, but continue your journey, get your focus off of him, and start getting it onto yourself. Back off, and let him fall flat on his face. He knocks you down, because you still think this is about you–it is NOT about you–this about HIM.

      Learn not to take his actions personally, they are seriously NOT about you at all, they are about HIM. He wants to control the situation in any way he can, and you need to let him go, let God handle this man, and let him self-destruct on his own.

      It isn’t over until you say it’s over, when we’re talking about choosing to stand for your marriage. You’re getting discouraged, because you seem to think he is turning around, then because your expectations come up, true to form, within the crisis he is still in, he throws you for a loop.

      Remember he’s within his affair, and it’s going to take time to break down, just like I told you in my first message.

      Let him go to self-destruct, if you don’t want to sell the house, tell him you don’t want to sell. You’ve already told him you don’t want a divorce, so the ball is within his court. OK, so in his mind, you don’t want a divorce, so he’ll try to scare you by speaking of selling the house–don’t let him scare you in any way–understand you have choices, too…he’s not the only one who has choices in this matter.

      Hang tough, sister, this road is about to get rougher–but you’ll need back off of him, let him go, get your focus on you, walk your journey forward, and trust God for the future.

      I hope this helps.

      ((hugs))

      1. Thank you again. Your advice is right on target. I made a proposal for the house and put the ball back into his “divorce court” so to speak. He claims I’m dragging my feet on the divorce, so if that’s what he really wants, his move now. I’ve done a tremendous job of backing off and detaching and now feel as though something is changing. I’m not expecting anything good to happen, but our text exchanges have been friendlier so that makes me less anxious. I try not to think about the situation, but to be honest, I’m not sure how much love there is between us anymore. These are the darkest days of his MLC as far as amount of contact and I wonder if he isn’t just getting accustomed to life without me. I’m completely in the dark about ow and his state of mind. I guess this is normal, right? If there is such a thing as normal in MLC.

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