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Approaching his mid-50ies, my husband declared in February that
he no longer has passion for me, although he loves me deeply and
tells me that I am very attractive and interesting person. I am
more than a decade younger, we have been married for 15 years.
There are plenty of reasons in his life that are beyond his
control that could have that sort of effect on his libido. He
is very focused on everything that is not right for him or in
the world and 90% of these issues are beyond his control. He
does not seek help from books, nor would he ever seek
counseling, or take anything to increase his libido, nor get a
cortisone shot for his chronic tendenitis. He openly (he feels
very good about his integrity) had a short encounter with a
woman 10 years younger than I am, which tore me and her to
pieces. Although I never met her, she was suffering from severe
pain in her uterus too. My husband on the quest ''to follow his
heart'' realized that simply doing that, does not make things
Since then I have read ''Passages'' and ''Forgive for Good'' and
have learned a lot from friends. We have a wonderful child to
raise, a nice house, and I love him and hope he is able to make
a new shift to being grateful for what he's got, including me
(something beyond appreciation).
For the sake of my own health (that I am still struggling with
right now) I have decided and communicated to him that what he
calls a physical separation (no sex, but I am his best friend
and we live together) will become a straightforward divorce if
he takes up with another woman again. Although I make more money
than he does, we do not have enough for our family living in
So, what am I asking for? Any couple out there who made it
through a midlife crisis? He is searching for that burning ''in-
love'' feeling. Sex for me means to express the love I feel. Is
it possible for men to make that shift when they've muddled
through their crisis? Anyone out there with success stories?
Also, if things were to go downhill from here (we are still
having great family outings together and I do get hugs and
kisses on my cheek), any advice on how to pay someone half of
the house, so I can keep it for me and my child or any tips for
affordable divorce lawyers?
You have probably considered marriage counseling already but if
you haven't, I strongly recommend Gilbert Neuman 841-9230. We
were on the verge of divorce and I was absolutely clear that I
was no longer in love with/attracted to my partner and never
would be again. I was, and still am, very skeptical about
therapists in general but agreed to go through it because I
felt that I needed to try everything for the sake of the kids.
Gil is very smart, very perceptive and a straight shooter. He
can cut through the noise and get to the heart of the issue
quickly. He will tell you exactly what he thinks, including
whether he thinks your marriage can be saved. He really helped
us through an extremely difficult time.
To the woman who posted about her husband's mid-life crisis.
My heart goes out to you. It's very difficult to make it
through a mid-life crisis. Fortunately there is help
available. You are right to try to save the marriage.
Check the divorcebusting web site -- there's a section on mid-
I suggest reading ''10 Stupid Things Couples Do to Mess Up Their
Relationships'' by Dr.Laura Schlessinger. What you are going
through is discussed in the book because it isn't uncommon,
Your husband makes me so mad I want to come over there and slap
him myself! But you ask about how to buy one partner out of your
house if you do divorce (yes yes yes, dump him!)
My ex husband and I owned our home together when we decided to
divorce. Fortunately our divorce was amicable and we came up
with the following arrangement.
Before I could afford to buy him out, but after we separated, he
paid half the house payment, and I paid him ''rent'' for living in
his half of the house. Example: house payment $2200. Rent for a
house of our caliber was, at the time, around $1400. He owed
$1100 for the house payment, minus $700 rent I owed him, for a
net contribution on his part of $400 a month. He also paid half
of insurance, tax and repair bills for this period. He continued
to be entitled to half the equity in the house.
About six months later, I had my finances in order to buy him
out. I went about refinancing the home in my own name. This
transferred title to me only, which my ex husband had to sign
for because we were still legally married. The refi also gave me
an appraisal value I could use for the ''buy out'' price. I
subtracted 6% from the appraised value to account for realtor
commissions I'd eventually have to pay when selling the house to
get the actual equity. He was entitled to half this net equity.
I signed a promissory note to him and began making him payments
with interest - I used my new mortgage rate for the interest
rate. A few months later, once the new mortgage was in place, I
took out a home equity line of credit and paid him off. A
slightly higher interest rate, but tax deductible, and the
monkey off my back.
This slow process worked for us because my ex husband was not
prepared to buy a new house right away. But I believe you could
jump right to the refinancing/home equity loan if you are in a
Best of luck to you.
Personally, I think I'd get a no-obligation estimate of value
from a couple of Realtors, so you know what it's worth, then go
to a reputable loan broker, get pre-approved for a refi to buy
the guy out of the house, and then drop a reality check bomb on
him in the form of divorce papers. Who needs someone who is
going to be a wallowing, self-pitying bad example to your
child , stinking up the place. I think you've taken enough.
TC in Berkeley
There is hope, people(I/we)survive the betrayal and hurt of this
magnitude. But even if your partner does not seek therapy(which
he desperately needs), you absolutely should. You will need the
tools that therapy can bestow regarding how to move on, how to
honor yourself and the family. The one thing that seemed to be
the pivital point in my situation was talking over and finally
giving an ultimatum regarding staying in the family/house. I was
willing to take that risk because I knew and discussed with him
that the fantasy life awaiting him would not be the free and easy
life of his youth. Instead it would be stress filled finacially
strapped life of 2 adults providing for children under 2 roofs.
When would there be time for romance, and how would the children
be affected by this split? Would they, like he, end up with self
esteem issues that they would battle through out their lives? It
has been a hard road, but we are struggling thru together, with
the help of a good therapist. I also should add that it is never
a one sided story. I definately was responsible on some level for
my husbands seeking solace elsewhere, but at the time I was
blinded by fatique, sleep deprivation and bad habits.
We have also learned the hard way that our children, no matter
how young have scars that relate to this time, so what ever you
do, please shield your child. Her imagination can be her worst
enemy with stuff like this, and her trust will be alot harder to
build than yours.
I wish you all the best of luck.
Your message really touched me because I could have written it
myself several years ago. I read several questions buried in
your post, and can appreciate you are probably feeling
overwhelmed by all that's going on in your life, and the
potential changes that are involutarily being thrust upon you.
When this happened to me, I was furious, depressed, immobilized,
humiliated and scared. I also had an incredible network of
friends who helped me see the situation was not a reflection of
my worth, but a messy, yucky bi-product of human relationships.
There are emotional, philosophical and practical issues to deal
with. First, you ask about whether couples recover from similar
crises. I'm sure you'll find a range of answers, but it's
important to note a couple of things: one, that while the crisis
itself may pass, the triggers that led your husband to make
certain decisions probably are more deeply rooted and would need
to be seriously looked at, assuming he has a desire not to
repeat a painful situation. I understand he's not willingly
going to therapy, and there isn't much you can do about that.
Hopefully, he'll get there soon. But you can, and should, go for
yourself--both to manage the stress and scariness of the
situation, and to understand your own reactions and triggers.
You also need to be prepared, if you stay together, that things
will not magically go back to the way they were before. In fact,
pretending that they could is a big mistake, and in order for
you all to heal and get through it, a lot must be acknowledged
about what has happened on both of your behalves. This sort of
experience is profound and indelibly marks everyone involved.
Think about whether your feelings of trust and respect are still
present, or will be (and these are not necessarily the same as
loving him. You can love him, but decide his actions are or are
not acceptable to you for your partnership or that they are not
sufficiently respectful of your relationship.) Many couples
survive affairs, many don't; I personally know several people
whose marriages broke up as a result of them, and who went on to
find great happiness in solo lives in other relationships. My
partner and I stuck it out--it's been incredibly difficult and
painful, and there have been many times when I think I'm
absolutely nuts to have even tried. I'm pretty convinced it'd
have been easier to quit. Then there are plenty of other times
when I feel grounded that it's been the right decision for me,
for us, and feel confident we can weather just about any storm
(and a few others have occured, unrelated to fidelity. There
should be quotas on how much bad stuff happens, but there
aren't.) A really good book on this is ''After the Affair'' which
was still in print last time I checked.
Next, you seem to want to assure yourself that he is still
affectionate, attracted to you, etc. I'm sure that can be true,
and that is what makes this so darn hard. Feelings can be
sincere and ambivalent at the same time. However, you seem
particularly focused on how he feels, not on how you feel. I
think it'd be really good to try to focus on what you want, and
what you need. Maybe you need to take some distance, or maybe
you actually do need to take care of him to feel good about how
you're responding, or to feel that you're doing everything
humanly (or super humanly) possible to save your relationshp.
Just be clear about why you're doing it. If you're suppressing
your needs to address his, and expect him to wake up one day and
have profound and demonstrable appreciation for all you've done,
you might be disappointed. If anything is common about a mid
life crises, it's that it's a time of narcissism. If you can
just accept that, great. If you can't, take good care of
Last about legal/financial issues. Go see an attorney, and
discuss your situation for how you might position yourself to
best protect yourself or keep your options open. You don't have
to hire them in a permanent way and doing so doesn't mean you're
on the road to a divorce--but a couple hours of counseling may
ease your stress, or make you aware of other areas you should
focus on. This newsletter had a recent posting with suggestions
for divorce lawyers/mediators. You might want to split your
funds, separate credit cards and financial responsibilities, and
take a few non-permanent steps that will make a later separation
a little easier. If you have separate property (non-community
property, such as an inheritance or assets that clearly were
yours prior to marriage), you should try to establish their
source (documents, records, etc.) or set it up that future
separate property isn't intermingled with your post-marriage
assets. Nolo Press puts out a few good books on divorce in CA;
one on financial issues particularly (and another on child
custody, although you didn't ask.) It might be good for you to
read them, both to be prepared and start thinking about things,
and also to bring down the level of fear you might
(understandably) have about all the unknowns.
Last, a separation now does not have to be a divorce, and
doesn't have to be permanent. It might help you to have some
time on your own to sort out your own feelings. Perhaps one of
you could find a summer sublet (many available now around
campus) so you can get a bit of perspective, without dealing
with a total move-out or disrupting your child's life more than
you have to. I think it always helps to confront huge
challenges by breaking them down into bite size pieces. What
you're going through is really, terribly hard. But you're not
alone. Good luck.
obviously anonymous, too
My very deepest sympathy. We went through something similar about
three years ago and it was the roughest thing I have ever been
through. Counseling (individual or couples) did not work for us.
We tried everybody in town (only a slight exageration). But your
mileage may vary. For the last five months though, I would say I
am at one of the happiest periods of my life and feel very good
about our relationship. My husband goes up and down still but on
the whole he seems the happiest I have ever seen HIM. I credit
reading ''To Love Is To Be Happy With'' or anything by the author
Neil Kaufman for turning things around. Ultimately I believe my
hub was self-medicating his chronic unhappiness with romance, a
common enough habit. After reading Kaufman's book I just fixated
on being happy no matter what and that has made all the
difference for me, for my kids for my hubby too. Also check out a
book, ''Divorce Remedy''. It was pretty helpful on some practical
ideas. Another book by Weiner, ''Why Smart People Do Stupid
Things'' (not sure about title) explained the seeming idiocy of my
hub's behavior and my reaction to it. But moment by moment doing
whatever it took to be happy turned out to be what really worked
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