How can I see that my husband's MC is ending?

by Anonymous
(Brussels, Belgium)

Question

My husband is 42 years (me 41), we have a daughter of 5 and we are married for 15 years.

He started to act strangely 18 months ago. He was irritable to everyone, he started to avoid me. He often had a far away look. Was unhappy with his body, his life, me.

It was all my fault. He had a colleague with whom he could talk and liked her company. Of course a woman of 35 years (cohabits with partner and has 2 children).

He always told me he had never betrayed me (he is still saying this).

Because I lost all confidence in him, I started to control him. He always hides his cell phone. Because I controlled him, he felt suffocated.

In December he left us. He slept for a couple of weeks in the army (he is a militair) and then he changed his address and moved in with his parents. Now he has rented a studio till next May.

Everybody says that this isn't him anymore, that he changed 180°. He started to lose weight and he bought new clothes and a flat screen tv. But he was still unhappy. In May he said to me that he was depressed. Recognition! In my eyes it is a midlife crisis.

All the symptoms are there and he follows truly all the stages of midlife crisis (denial, anger, replay, depression, withdrawal and acceptance). He told me he felt very bad and he would like to come home (be a father and a husband again), but he asks for patience.

He wants first to get rid of his depression. He is still seeing her, saying she is just a friend. But he does everything for her. And she takes advantage of him. He wants us to do it slowly but surely. He is still hiding his cell phone.

For the moment he is on a trip (alone?). He sent me a message, saying that this trip is good therapy and that he realizes that he misses us. He is still very secretive, slovenly and sleeps a lot (because of antidepressive pills). He comes when he likes to, has no time knowledge. He cuddles his daughter, but does show any affection, nor intimacy to me.

He doesn't want to talk about us. The only answer I get is, everything will be alright, give us some time, slowly but surely. What do you think? Is he in his withdrawal stage or in the acceptance stage? Is the end near? And very important: how must I behave to him?

Noel's reply

I do not know what stage he is at. The depression will likely pass in time, as will the midlife transition.

I suspect his secretiveness is at least partly due to your wanting to control what he does.

My only suggestion is that you act around him as any normal adult would. If he drops in whenever he feels like it, and that does not suit you, let him know that he must call ahead and arrange to drop by. After all, he does not live there at the moment. Being secretive is his business. He is an independent adult not living with you, so he can be secretive if he wants.

But you also have rights. Set some boundaries around his interaction with you, and also give some thought to what you want your relationship to be like when he does return home. You need not simply be the little woman waiting at home. Get on with your own life.

Comments for How can I see that my husband's MC is ending?

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Dec 14, 2011
Enough already?
by: Anonymous

Honestly, what a load of rubbish this male midlife tip-toeing around can sometimes appear to be. Does anyone imagine men would be similarly sensitive, cautious and endlessly self-sacrificing for their wife's menopause? I am finding it increasingly ridiculous that we women have to tolerate this second adolescence in this way. Either men are in need of medication/counseling, or they are indulging their moods. If it's hurting their partner, then they should take action and seek to remedy the situation. Or am I missing something? Oh dear, yes, sorry . . . they are confused . . .

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