If you’re married to someone who is in the throes of a Midlife Crisis, I have a huge hug for you. It’s not easy and you probably have pulled out your own hair while spending many sleepless nights finding out as much as you could via the internet. Poor baby. I know. I’ve been there. You are not alone.
Husband #1 was nice enough to go through his midlife crisis while we were both in our 30’s. I appreciate him for starting it early so that I could get on with my life without him. At least he gave me a decade’s head start.
I think Husband #2 is in a midlife crisis of sorts right now. I hear the same type of statements from him as I did from Husband #1, even down to the career change to a menial job. Talk of not being able to live his own life, never loving again, being true to himself, etc.
Here’s my advice to anyone who is caught up in the confusion and turmoil that accompanies a midlife crisis:
- Work on yourself
- Separate your finances
- Find supportive friends
- Cut all contact
These are hard things to consider, especially if you’ve built a lifetime together. But right now the person that you are married to is no longer the person that you used to know. Consider them a stranger that will have an affair, drain your bank account, and walk all over you at every turn. Your primary goal is self-preservation and that means drawing some lines in the sand.
Work on yourself
It may sound selfish but now is the time for you to concentrate on YOU. Do some things that you weren’t able to do prior to the meltdown. Take a cooking class, paint a room a color you always wanted, learn a language. Do anything you can to discover your authentic self and keep your mind off of your spouse’s antics. When you fill your life up with fun for you and lots of self-love, you’ll find that their actions don’t hurt you as much. You’ll learn to be your own person and love who you are. And that means not relying on their approval for your measure of worthiness.
Separate your finances
Your midlife crisis spouse will do things that you would have never imagined them doing. This includes quitting jobs, draining bank accounts, taking on new debt, and cashing in retirement funds. If you are going to have a chance in surviving the financial fall-out, you need to get your name off of anything joint that will drag you down. It’s imperative that you separate your finances. Credit cards in both your names? Yes, you can see the flowers he’s buying for his new fling, but then you’ll end up being responsible for the payment. He starts writing bad checks or taking out loads of money from the ATM? Don’t let his bad decisions ruin your credit. If your state recognizes them, get a separation agreement in place outlining who is responsible for what and also any support payments that are to take place.
Find supportive friends
I don’t mean that every person on the block needs to know you’re story. You should identify 1-3 friends that are worthy of hearing your woes. They are the level-headed empathizers who will tell you when you’re on the right path and who will also smack you on the nose when you’re on the wrong path. Avoid people who simply want to badmouth your spouse. Instead, find people who genuinely care and are great problem solvers. You need support…not a bunch of negative talk.
Cut all contact
As much as you might still love your midlife crisis spouse, they are not good for you right now. Cutting contact allows you to get a little breathing room between you and the barrage of fault-finding that your spouse is hitting you with on a daily (if not hourly) basis. In my experience I can tell you two things with certainty:
Don’t take on more blame than you deserve. If they don’t have you to rebel against, they will find another target. Remember, in their eyes, the life they had is responsible for all of their unhappiness. If you take yourself out of the mix, the unhappiness remains. it’s just that you’re not causing it anymore.
My heart goes out to anyone in this position. it’s a confusing time and it feels as if your whole world is falling apart. The bad news is, things can’t get any worse. The good news is, things can only go up from here. You are stronger than you know.