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My husband has left me after 18 years

by Ali

My husband has left me after being together for 18 yrs, married for 13 (he is 47 I am 45). He says he has felt unfulfilled and not as happy as he should for a few years. He has been chopping and changing his mind as to whether to come back for the last 7 months and has finally made the decision not to.

I also found some texts during this time to another woman, he told me it was nothing and that they were just flirty texts. I have since found out that he is thinking of 'giving it a go' with her! As you can imagine I am absolutely heartbroken. We have an 11 year old son and it is also hard for him.

My husbands mother died in February last year and I wonder if that has played a part in things. He said he had been looking at his life and where it is going and with our son being less dependent on us - what was there going to be in the future for us.

I printed out an article about '14 signs your midlife crisis is destroying your marriage' for him to read and his response to it was - wow that is spookily accurate. Do you think it sounds like a midlife crisis and if so what can I do. Shall I just give up hope that he will ever come back to us and regret what he has done.

He has mentioned to a few people that whatever decision he makes will be the wrong one and that he may well live to regret it.

He has told me (not so recently since his final decision) that he still loves me and cares about me but is not 'in love with me'.

Noel's response

He certainly sounds as though he is in a midlife transition. I imagine his mother's death caused him to realize he is aging, and time seems to be passing much more quickly.

His telling you he loves you but is not in love with you is what a lot of men in midlife transitions tell their wives, when I think what they really mean is they love you, but they are looking for a "Helen" (as in the Helen of Troy metaphor - an idealized lover) to be with. They will not find this person, but often think they have in the initial stages of a new relationship.

I have a chapter on this in A Harley or My Wife, which you, or he, might find useful.

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