Husband In Mid-life Crisis?

I have been with my husband for 15 years and it has had its ups and downs. Currently he's in a self-proclaimed "funk", which I think could be a depression. He's not sure about our future, he's "not wired" like everyone else, could easily be alone or left alone indefinitely, and says he always sees himself alone in the end. We have 2 sons together and have a seemingly perfect marriage....get along, active social lives, no financial worries, satisfied sex life, no fights.
I don't know how much space I should give him; don't want to be naive or a doormat. This popped up almost 2 years ago, we almost separated. We made some lifestyle adjustments and things were great and right on track. I feel like its a pattern now, and there's nothing more I can give or change. I just fear it might be a repeating pattern that will eventually lead him to "having his cake and eating it too".
Lily01 Lily01
41-45, F
8 Responses Feb 28, 2012

Your story is so ringing true to mine....I listen and get him but if I comment or want to say "really " he wants to be independant and he has not lived by himself ever ..well for 3 months only ...but that was his choice to live with roomates and then with me....I want to say "you are 42 and have 3 children who may want to live with you not me if you leave"...GROW up is what I want to say

I have been dealing with my husband of 15 years and lover for 22 years reporting his doubt in every choice he has made. He had an emotional affair with co-worker for 3 months and caught by me but then has committed to not "cheat" but since being caught he has bought a sports car , trading in our 2nd family has been 3 weeks I have pushed and pulled a forced conversation last night he was like " I feel like I have had so space"...yet today he made love to me and invited me to come to car wash to wash both of our cars and have lunch. AUGH!! I have a written self talk sc<x>ript to guide me to being patient but REALLY

My question for you is does he truly feel safe (not just with you, but with himself to truly talk). You allow your husband amazing freedoms, but that does not necessarily mean he is truly free. Your situation stikes a chord. I am not happy in my marriage. I have worked god damned hard for a decade to figure things out. That does not mean that time has been wasted since I am still in the same place. On the contrary, I learned so much about myself and life's meanings, that I can still look at the time with gratitude.<br />
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the real point is that I now know I can not truly talk to my wife about what it is I want. I am not necessarily in need of another woman or a particularly kinky act in our sex life, but I am in need of the freedom of going there if I want to, and her being there to go where I need to. I also need her with me when I want her. To me these are part of a bond of exclusivity.

I would like to think he feels safe in talking with me, but there's always the possibility he's holding back. I know what you mean about being "truly free", but I do not own him and he is certainly free to leave at any time. But, we have been together a long time and have children unless he wants to be a deserter, he will always have a responsibility to his children.

Sometimes I can see his point of view and want to work with him in any way I can..other times I just see it as complete selfishness and utter immaturity.

I have 3 sons, my oldest (21) with my first husband and 2 (12 and 10) with my current husband....none of them were planned, and I cried everytime the pregnancy test was positive. Don't get me wrong, I love my boys and they are heart, but it was what I wanted. I could never, ever fathom thinking (and certainly never openly discussing) about walking away because I want the freedom to do what I when when I want. Life is hardly ever what any of us dreamed about, but it is what we make of it.

If we had a bad relationship or thought for a second that all of us would be better off if mom and dad were not a couple, I would certainly end the marriage. That is not the case. He openly admits that he is not miserable and that his life is great and he should be happy as a clam....I honestly think his issue is within his own mind. I think he does have self-esteem issues that he covers up by being generous with friends, the quintessential knight in shining armour for damsels in distress, and his bull in a china shop attitude toward decision making.

He is a good man, great father, and wonderful husband....its these times of self-doubt that shake me to my core, because I need the safety and security. I always tell him I would stand by him for anything and always give me all, but when its me he wants to run from....

I whole-heartedly feel that alcohol plays a big role for his position. Saturday night was his talk again, but the focus was his past and how it will catch up with him, and someday someone will exact revenge on him and take him from us. He doesn't want us to get hurt in the process. Overall, he doesn't feel worthy of any happiness because he was evil in his younger days. And, again his biggest gripe was always being put in charge. He really needs life to back off for a while, but he constantly takes on more and more.

Sorry for the rant....just on a roll letting it out.

Does any of this still jive with how you feel?

EDIT - the line about being pregnant = I did not want to be pregnant any of the times.

I am a counsellor and honestly if he doesn't want to try anti d's then He needs to talk to someone neutral and talk until he works out for himself what he needs so he can tell you. Counselling works. Here in australia it does tent to be medication centred but I am wholistic counsellor and we believe in other methods first. So maybe look in your area for a wholistic councellor? Sounds to me like he has fear based on decisions made in his youth and isn't being fully honest. That being said he may not yet even know for himself why he is feeling so stressed about the situation until it is unbottled in a safe dumping ground. You get hurt everytime he 'dumps' his emotions it may be time to have him see someone as an alternative to Anti d's - ultimatium style? one or the other... that never works on my husband but then everyone is different.

Good luck.

I'm sorry, you sound like you've done much to keep it working, given him space and time and flexibility.<br />
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If you're available, we have an opening in our relationship for such a hard working dedicated loving being ;-) My partner is polyamorous, and I'm learning to be. She also explained the difference between private and secret information. If it doesn't affect her safety or security, then it's none of her business. I have no secrets from her - she's made it easy to be honest and to hear anything I have to say to her (even "I'm leaving" early in our time together).<br />
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Patience and tolerance need to go along with being clear and clearly expressing your needs and "not negotiables", or you will come to resent him getting all his needs met at your expense.<br />
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Keep building the connection, but encourage him to put in his share - to try some anti-depressants for a few months. I was similarly worried about taking medication when I really should have. If I had it may have saved my sanity and marriage.<br />
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In the long run, my marriage dissolved, my family broke up, I had the worst 10 years, and have re-built myself and my life with a new partner. I now understand much better the costs of not dealing with mental health issues like depression earlier. It crept up on me when I wasn't looking, and I didn't respect it as an enemy should be. I didn't deal realistically with my wife or the depression.<br />
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I suspect you and your hubby will do better.<br />
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Good luck.<br />
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Happy to hear more details privately if you want.

Wow, your response makes it a whole new situation. I am stumped. I wish I had some words of encouragement for you but it seems to me you are doing more than your share so I am at a loss for words. I wish my wife was as understanding and cooperative as you are.

yeah, he says that too.....there's no reason why he shouldn't be happy with me or our situation. I also don't *****, nag, or over spend.

maybe some professional therapy would be benificial for him and help him identify whatever it is deep inside him and then deal with it.

I doubt he will. I wish he would, I certainly would if the shoe was on the other foot. Sadly, I feel like this will not end the way I want it to. I don't want to always be waiting for the the other shoe to drop.....I don't know that I can ever fully trust him to be committed. I need the security; someone to grow old with - a true partner in life.

I understand what you mean and I hope he will respond positively somehow. My wife and I had some serious issues until she got on some depression medication. We now get along just fine, we just hardly ever have sex. Her medication has been a negative in the bedroom. I suppose living in peace is the price I pay for not getting a piece ............. :)
None of us have a perfect relationship but we just keep on keeping on hoping somehow with enough time things will improve.

I'm sorry for your situation too, it must be hard.

Thank you. It does get difficult at times, needing that physical interaction. I do have a good imagination and pretty good at fantsizing but that can't replace the physical touch one needs. Maybe something positive will happen down the road, who knows.

I guess what i can't figure out is it seems like your mate has about everything most men fantasize about so if he is still not contnet that is scary .......

Could I suggest your GP keeps trying different medications. My partner and son have been on antidepressants, and they all have different side effects. My partner's current one (Pristiq) has lifted her moods, and her sex drive remarkably.

5 More Responses

He could be going through what many men experience around his age. Some people call it mid-life crisis. I think it just means he should stop focusing on his younger days and stay focused on today and the furture. Men can make some serious mistakes during those trying times. It is a time we have no explanation for our thoughts and actions and begin to confuse our priorities. His two sons and you should be his priority but somehow we get temporarily blinded at times. I suggest you attempt to remain as patient and undestanding as is possible, get creative and try to figure out how to spice up your love life. Your sex life may be just fine for you but at this time in his life he may be desiring more than you realize. Try to get him to talk to you but don't wait on him to make suggestions, this is a time when you need to take the lead and make sure he knows full well what he would be missing without you and the boys in his life.

When I said we made lifestyle changes 2 years ago...let me clarify. We started swinging, it doesn't happen with extreme frequency....but it does happen. It is also a lot of work, as neither of us just lays down with anyone that is interested.
He says he has thoughts of just pulling off the road in some random town and start a new life....other times he says he just needs time alone...and all the time he says that he needs privacy and doesn't feel the need to share every detail of his life with me (or anyone). Mind you, I NEVER stop him from doing what he wants (takes weekends to visit with friends out of state, takes mancations with the guys for golf, each summer I take the boys to my brothers house for a a week long vacation) I never grill him on what he's said or done, nor do I call or text with any kind of overkill. If anything, in all of those situations, he will reach out to me. I always state my opinion on the difference between privavcy and secrecy....I do not need to know everything or expect to, but anything that I cannot know about or would be harmful to me is not acceptable.

I just wish I could make heads or tails about it. If it is a depression, I will work with him. BUT, if he's being selfish and trying to have the best of both worlds I need to cut him loose.

It's hard because I do love him...we have a great time together and we've built a wonderful life with our family.

He should see a doctor. Depression medications don't alter your sense of being-- they give you a chance to be yourself. I wish you well in this.... it is not a good time for either of you.

He even recognizes that it could be, but says he doesn't want to be medicated and alter his sense of being. He thinks his feelings are ba<x>sed on his younger, free days when he had no responsibility to anything or anyone other than himself. <br />
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Quite the pickle :(