ssMidlife Crisis for Men?

Updated on March 10, 2014
M.M. asks from Berkeley, CA
14 answers

Dear mamas,
I have always heard thìs expression in a funny way, but never thought I could be serious, until today.
My loving husband, a father of two beautiful children (17and14 y old) just announced that he wants to divorce, as he put it really kindly that he doesn't love me any more. That he has been stuck with me for more more than 20years, and doesn't want to be stuck for longer. We met each other very young, he was 19 and I was 22 in college. My husband will turn 40 this year. We have been always happily married, as I know. I work full time, and believe to be myself a devoted wife and mother. He also says that to me. I love him with an junconditional love, and always thought how lucky I am. My husband had some depression/ anxiety issues in the past, and I wonder if this is related. His demand for the divorce coincides also with his plan to change job, which will be oversea.he says he is really sorry to inflict so much pain, as he knows how much I love him, but he could never love me back, and he doesnt think it would work to keep going. I was dumstruck as i didn't see it coming, not at all. May be I was so blindly in love. He has always been faithful, so no extra marital issues here. I am devastated. I try not to loose hope that he would reconsider, or try something else and realize that I am his true love. It's still really fresh, so the pain is indescribable. I took an appointment with his doctor to discuss with him. Last year, my husband went through an episode of panic attack and anxiety, then he got better and we (rather me, as he pointed out) have never been so happy. He thinks may be my overbearing love make he feels imprisoned and all he wants is out. He is actually a brilliant person, professional wise, and a very nice personality. I still wonder if it's a nightmare and I could wake up soon. Anyone has gone through this?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

I feel so blessed for all the wonderful advice and input here. I just spent the day to meet with our doctor and counselor also talking to friends, things become clearer. He is going through midlife crisis, it's really cliche. I will have him go to counseling with me, at the same time keep calm until he will be reasonable. A friend sent me an article that really hits home. Please share with all women on earth, young or old, married or not :) :
My husband is actually a wonderful father and husband (yes, I recognize it sounds rosy and cheesy) with some mental illness so I think this is more related to his state of mind, I will try to give him a chance to stop his tantrum as I am going to duck.

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answers from Richland on

I hate when people call this midlife crisis. That seemed so reasonable a label when I was young but as I got older and saw friends go through this, that just isn't what it usually is.

You fake it until you can break it. You have young kids, you stay together for them, you smile, you do what you must because you are not happy. Then when they get older, when you see a time to break away, you do.

I know you want hope he will come back but I think it is best to understand what he said is that this has been a long time coming. This is not a midlife crisis, this is not a guy who thinks the grass is greener. He sees the point where he can end it and he is.

12 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

I agree with Doris -- get a lawyer. And I also agree with Julie S. Reread Julie's response.

Midlife crisis is real -- I and some friends are currently going through it -- but don't kid yourself that your husband wants a divorce solely because of midlife crisis. Based on what he said, you should not hold out hope that he is going to come back.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. I went through it with my last husband, but we had only been together three years when he unceremoniously dumped me, not twenty. It did hurt, though.

You are going to hurt for a while. You are going to feel like you can never love anyone else. But you can, and you will. It will just take time. '

p.s. -- Once you get over feeling shattered, remember one of my favorite sayings: "Living well is the best revenge." Live well.


11 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Thank God I've never gone through this, but I want to tell you that if he IS indeed going through a mid-life crisis, then what YOU need to do is show him in no uncertain terms WHAT his mid-life crisis is going to cost him. You have been married a long time. You need to take him to the cleaners. Get a VERY good lawyer NOW and make sure you find all the assets. When he realizes this, he might think twice about divorcing. You two can go to marriage counseling and maybe work this out. BUT, being nice to him financially will do NOTHING to help you in ANY way, shape or form.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Myers on

I have never gone through this, but I know people that have. Hire a good lawyer to protect you & your children. If he has decided that he doesn't want to be married anymore, you never know what else he has decided. He may think that the grass is greener on the other side (or overseas), but he may be surprised. He is not 22 anymore. I know that you love him, but do you really want this kind of relationship ? Be strong & keep your eyes open. He may be back before you know it. Good luck

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Ugh. I'm sorry.
No I've not gone through this, but at 50, I've seen it happen to a few.
I think there IS such a thing as a men's mid life crisis. They realize their life is half over and they've never climbed a mountain, bought a motorcycle, etc. etc. etc.
The fact is--I think VERY FEW women "see it coming." Women think they've (marriage wise) made it through the tough years-the sleepless puking kid nights, the lean, low earning years, the house buying, the career building...and they're looking to a solid future with the msn they've lived for years...then the man punks out.
Anyway, my advise? Lawyer up.
Do you want to devote any more energy to a man who would hurt you to this extent, even if he took it all back tomorrow?
So go for the gusto. Get what's rightly yours.
I'm sorry.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I agree with everyone else who says 'get a lawyer'. So sorry this is happening. My husband and I know a couple who are dealing with something similar and our thinking is that a person has to be happy with who they are before they can be happy in any relationship. This is likely very much about *him* and less about you, but in any case, we'd advise our friend to get a lawyer to protect themselves, and you should do the same. It's hard when someone puts it on you, but you are NOT responsible for his unhappiness. I know you don't want to give up on the relationship, but protecting yourself legally is the most important thing you can do right now. Getting a lawyer is not going to make him leave-- he's already decided to leave. Now it's time to move forward with this knowledge and take care of yourself and your kids. So very, very sorry.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Holy cow, honey you guys are so young. I'm so sorry this is happening, but you are in a GREAT position here. Some people would be much older after 20 years of marriage. I'm 44 and divorced after a 13 year relationship-9 years married. And the nice thing? I have my whole life ahead of me. I met a nice guy I'm seeing, my age, and he's hot! And youthful. And I'm a mature independent woman who doesn't need to put all my psychological and physical energy into supporting a man like I did my ex. So I can date and settle with a nicer man-or not! Whatever!

You were blindly in love you say. While that is admirable, it's also not good to be blind. Maybe he hasn't been so great with his issues. Maybe he hasn't put you and your relationship first and you just got used to it. Maybe he has taken you for granted. This is NOT UNCOMMON.

He feels "trapped" by you overbearing love? This sounds like you are constantly warm and affectionate and loving (after 20 years that is quite rare!) and he be alone or to be with someone colder...?..Here is where therapy could be interesting to see where the void is between how you've been regarding the relationship vs how he has been..

All the ladies here are right. Get your legal ducks in a row. Leaving you is doable, but you will be PAID for the years of your life you did your job faithfully. My husband is paying full support and I have full custody of our kids. And I'm still young. And so are you.

Your husband can't appreciate what he had in you until he goes out in the world and finds himself. It's not fair to you, but there is nothing you can do about his frame of mind. If you had KNOWN there was a problem years ago, maybe you BOTH could have steered things differently, but he didn't give you that chance.

I like Wild Woman's idea of demanding therapy because you are blind-sided. If you feel you want some clarity, and want him to have some, this may be a good thing to do. But if you rest with yourself and look deep inside and realize you and he will not be staying together, you may want to skip that. Every couple is different, only you know if you and he should try to work anything out before splitting.

I do sort of marvel at people who marry so young and actually stay together. Only half do. Some young couples I know are so used to having good spouses, they take it for granted and want something "else" by the time they're 40. All they've known since 20 is "family life". Who can blame them for wondering what else is out there? Most happy couples I know are divorced or got married later in life. You will survive and you will be better one day, Im so sorry for the pain now.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It happens. I hate to say it, but it doesn't even involve having kids and the like.

My brother left his wife of 20 years when he hit 41. She had no idea things were bad. She thought they were happy. They were even trying for a kid!

They divorced, she took every thing but the house and his expensive knives.

Within a year of divorcing my brother, she met a great guy and now is married to someone she shares more in common with. She is much happier, though I know the pain of my brother leaving her still lingers.

Look forwards, not backwards. This is your chance too to have a different life.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I agree with other posters, get a lawyer. I would be shocked too, so it might be best that you reach out to family/friends that you trust to help. I'm sure it is hard to think straight so have someone you trust to help you find a lawyer and GO WITH you to the meetings so you have a second set of ears.

Get those bank accounts under your control

See who friends/family can recommend, have them ask their friends.

You need a good support system by your side. Call them now and tell them how to help you. Have them read these posts. You retread these posts as much as you need to.

You will get through this, know this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I've got to say that I feel this way but in reverse. It's a bit different though.

I haven't felt connected to my husband in a LONG time. Haven't been happy and have basically been a single mom (to first my son and then our daughter) for most of our marriage. Don't get me wrong, he is/was good to them both but I did all the heavy lifting for everything. He was completely happy because he did what he wanted when he wanted. When I felt that I had had enough, I stopped caring. Then two and a half years ago, I was ready to call it quits. He was completely blindsided because he was oblivious to how unhappy I was. Not because I hadn't said anything before but because he ignored me, didn't listen, or simply dismissed me.

Since then, he has made strides to be a partner but I really feel like partner or not, our marriage is over.

My point is to give you some insight on the other side of things and to tell you that it may not be a mid-life crisis (although it could be).

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New London on

My heart is breaking for you ! I have a friend who lives down the street who is going through the same situation. Even her own sister-in-laws are livid. He def has depression.
From knowing him for yrs, I see a man who has a low self-esteem and always needs to be on a "high"(not w/ drugs). He loves to have attention from kids, other adults, etc......and when he is home he sleeps (not a ton), but, more than the avg person.
My friend is seeing a therapist now. She is having a hard time. He was invited to the sessions. I hope he decides to go.
I hope your husband will go to some sessions with you.

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answers from Denver on

I am so sorry you are going through this. My only advice is that you only know and can control what you feel and do (not him). SO, I would go to counseling for YOU to work through this and take care of you. You can let him know how you feel, then he'll do what he wants to. At the end of the day, no one necessarily does anything wrong when relationships end.. people just change. Focus on you and your emotional health. Take it one day at a time. I wish you the best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Ouch. This sucks. Yes, men get mid-life crisis'.

I would obtain a lawyer and find out what your rights are and what will happen.

I would tell my husband - "Okay. Here's the deal. We can divorce, however, we need to go to marriage counseling so that we can actually figure out what went wrong since I'm totally caught off guard with this news..."

Nope. Can't say I've gone through this. I've seen two couples that were married (one for 45 years and the other 50 years) divorce. Everyone was surprised, even the kids. The 50 year marriage - she was total high maintenance and something was the last straw and he said he'd had enough and was done.

Good luck!

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answers from Boca Raton on

get a shark for a lawyer. if this is his decision, let him have it. i don't believe in midlife crisis so no help there.

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