Midlife Crisis or Life Change?

by Dodo
(Tennessee)

My almost 39 year old husband of 17 years has been angry, easily frustrated, cursing more often, condescending, and controlling for the last 2 years. I thought that our financial issues had him stressed and worried and that he was becoming depressed. He wouldn't communicate with me but when I would ask him if I'd done something to upset him or why he was so angry he would tell me that I was irrational or delusional.


I loved him and tried to support him and saw this as a "bump" in the road of our marriage and was confident that he loved me and our children more than anything. On the 4th of July he sat me down and told me that he had been miserable for years and that he was leaving me and going to have a relationship with a woman 9 years his junior that he had met nearly 2 years ago and spent almost all of his weekends camping/rock climbing with her and friends since.

He does not believe he is having an affair saying that he ended one relationship and began another, however he confessed his feelings to her on the 1st of July, spent the weekend climbing with her, and told me the 4th. We are of course still married and I didn't agree to any of this so don't even see us separated yet.

He believes that she has shown him what a true relationship could be and that they have everything in common. I've been told that this is her game and that she flirted outrageously and when he complained about me or his home life she told him everything he wanted to hear and created a persona that had the same interests as he. He initially said we would be separated, but she has been coaching him on law in our state and has convinced him that he must divorce me asap so they can be together.

He claims that he never loved me , that we married too young, that he's tired of supporting me and that I do nothing, and that it's all his money and he shouldn't have to ask to spend it. Our children are devastated as am I, he says she's a part of his life now and we'll just have to get used to it. he will be traveling out of state for several weeks every other month to "work" on his relationship with her but promises the kids that he will be in their life as much as ever.

He initially wanted us to remain in our home together to save money, so in essence have the best of both worlds. She texts, calls, messages him all day long and they skype for more than 4 hours every night. I believe it is an unhealthy obsession as when he is in our home he does not seem to be present and is detached.

An attorney told me that a divorce will bankrupt him, he wants me to file for irreconcilable differences and do it independently to "keep the peace" and remain friends for our children.

He has bought a new car, a new phone plan, etc. He swears this is not a midlife crisis and that it's something he's thought about for a while, he states that a midlife crisis can apply to any time a man makes a change in his life. His personality is so very different from the man I married and what he was even 2 years ago I am very worried for him.

Sadly his family supports him in finding happiness and he has them convinced that his hateful feelings for me are real and justified...that I'm a horrible person and he's not in midlife, so I feel like I can't save him from himself and that I've lost my extended family as well.

I never thought I'd be here, I never would have given up on my marriage, it happened so fast and it makes no sense. I have no idea what to think or what to do now.

Noel's response

It sounds as though he could well be in a midlife transition, and as is usual with men, is looking outside (to a younger woman) rather than inside himself. I don't know whether he would read my book A Harley or My Wife if you gave it to him, but you might benefit from reading it.

My suggestion is you refuse to file for irreconcilable differences, as you need to protect yourself financially in this situation. At least seek divorce mediation, or hire a lawyer.

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