Of course! It is a midlife crisis.

by barb
(orland, illinois)

Question


For just about a year I have researched, watched, listened, cried and just about died inside over and over due to my husband's crisis.

I am a protector by nature and he is an introvert by nature. His dependence on me has caused him to blame me for everything he is not. He left for some months but was always coming around, then back, then gone again, and now has been back for three months.

I know deep inside he is lost. He was involved in an emotional affair with an out-of-state woman, and although he only physically saw her a few times, he has done exactly what you say: act as though she is somehow mystical to him. It almost seems like an addiction.

He is in counselling, but does not want to go to counseling with me.

He says things that make me cry and then he gets nervous and upset at my tears.

I see the fear and anxiety, but he won't let me partner with him on this journey. He says he is not sure of his feelings for me, but yet he holds me and acts loving to me when he needs love.

He fears my moving on, almost does not want me to, and is jealous of me changing for the better.

Our kids are 21, 19, 16 and are baffled by his behaviour. He always says one thing, usually negative, then does the opposite, such as showing that he does not want to lose me.

What more can I do? I know to keep myself protected, but how long will this take?

Noel's response]

You cannot change him, but you might make the situation easier on yourself, and possibly him as well.

You mention that you are a 'protector' by nature. That may be a clue as to your part in this scenario. I am guessing that you have often 'spoken for him' or looked after him in ways you thought he needed, whether he asked or not.

With that assumption in mind (and I may well be wrong here), your best course of action might be to simply back off, and let him fend for himself. I am guessing part of his ambiguity about what he feels for you is due to your possible over-involvement in his life.

You also mention that he fears, and even is jealous of, your changing for the better, which implies to me that you are also involved in some kind of personal growth. I encourage you to keep up with whatever you are doing, as I believe personal growth is always good, as our task in this life is to become 'more fully human and more fully alive'.

Your 'change for the better' may be causing your husband some anxiety, but that doesn't mean you should put your life on hold just so he won't feel uncomfortable.

As for how long it will take, I do not have and answer, except to say this too shall pass.

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