Men and midlife crisis...?
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|Tue, 09-14-2010 - 3:07pm|
I'm not sure how or where to start this....without leaving out too many details.
I've been married to a wonderful, confident, secure man for the past 21 years (no children - our decision). We've always shared the same thoughts and ideas in life. We've had our ups and downs (like any couple) but made it through and came out stronger together because of it. There were many years (more than 1/2 our marriage) when I supported us (money-wise) but due to the recent economy it is the other way around right now. But things changed around the beginning of this year and I don't know how to handle it.
My husband is 48 and I'll be 45 before year end. VERY long story short - he recently got back together with his old high school group of friends (pub crawl in January). Since then, he has made a big effort to keep in touch with the old gang (one ex-gf in particular - but that's part of the problem). He constantly checks Facebook for updates on who is doing what and is trying to reconnect with old friends. His ex-gf / friend (who he saw again for the 1st time in 25+ yrs) has now become a BIG part of his life and they text each other constantly (daily). This emotional attachment to her is a big part of our problem (he doesn't think there is any problem with it no matter how much I try to discuss it with him). He / we have gotten together with his HS friends a few times over the past few months. He did admit to me (just the other day - after I had to coax it out of him) he is feeling very very upset because he has learned that the majority of their group has remained friends over the years (just not necessarily with him) - but it seems they have welcomed him back into it again quite easily (especially the ex). He said he doesn't have any close friends - shouldn't he be allowed to have some? Yet he is the one that has told me over the years he really didn't care if he saw these people again (nothing in common anymore) and he'd much rather have 1-2 close friends than a bunch of acquaintances.
Now - since January - he is suddenly unsure of himself (constantly makes remarks like "I don't know anything any more"). We have started bickering over silly things and snapping at each other - some days I'm afraid to say something because he takes it as a personal attack against him (I'm "accusing" him of something). Just this past year he has noticed his "staying power" in bed has decreased and has had the occasional time where he had problems maintaining (ahem). Yet we have had more fun and frequent sex over the past year than ever (physical problems aside). He has made comments lately about how he feels he hasn't gone anywhere with his life in the past 5 years (he is self-employed, working with his brother in the repair / remodeling business). The market has hurt my business drastically (I'm a realtor for the past 9 yrs - nothing more need be said about THAT - work just SUCKS). We have no savings put aside (what we did have was spent a few years ago trying to keep us afloat at the time) and no health insurance (can't afford it right now). We are able to pay our bills (barely). We've been through this before and can do it again - just more difficult (and scary) at this age.
My husband's connection to his ex-gf has become an emotional attachment (and vice versa). She is married (to a controlling man from what we hear) and is not happy but won't leave him (she's afraid he'll fall apart if she leaves and she feels bad). They text constantly because she can't talk on the phone at work or at home (he checks her phone bill) so according to him this is the only way they can talk. He tells me it is just normal, every day stuff they go back and forth with, but to me it is extreme. I have met her and have tried to be warm and friendly. She is not comfortable around me but has finally started to loosen up (after 6 months). If I ask my husband about their texts, sometimes he is willing to relay a conversation but sometimes he gets very defensive and asks why I have to know everything all the time - don't I trust him? Why do I have to know every little detail?
He has never had anything that private that he couldn't share it with me before, yet now it is like pulling teeth to get him to open up to me. He is insulted that I even ask sometimes. My defense mechanism (when I'm scared to tell something) is to cry - his is to get defensive and angry - so I know when there is something he doesn't want to tell me or share with me. He says it is because I'm constantly asking him what he's doing or who he's calling or who he's texting. But I ask because he DOESN'T share things with me anymore. He says why shouldn't he be allowed to have private conversations with people - I say what is so private that you can't share with your wife? And it all revolves around the connection to this ex of his.
He has changed - I don't know what he's thinking anymore or what he's feeling. Every time I try to get him to try and talk about things he either clams up, raises his voice and argues that I'm accusing him of things and he's ALWAYS wrong or just doesn't want to talk about it at all. He doesn't see where we have a problem either between us or with his involvement with the ex (that's a whole 'nother story there).
I'm starting to think this is his mid-life crisis. It is killing me that we can't connect anymore. I find myself getting that horrible anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever his phone beeps because it is a text from her. If he is on FB at night, they will chat for over an hour. I'm not ashamed to say I have sat next to him on occasion and watched their conversation, but he is very guarded with his words by the way he types and keeps it short.
Why does he have to suddenly have a "private" friendship with this woman? He doesn't see where she is becoming emotionally attached (and quite possibly vice versa). I have asked him to lessen his contact with her but was glared at and asked why he's not allowed to have any friends. Most of his HS friends (and some current ones) are female. I will also admit most of my friends are male (I can't take all the catty women stuff - drives me nuts).
Is this a mid-life crisis? How do i get through this without crying every day and wondering what is going on with him?? HELP!!! Any advice on how to deal with this will be wonderful. But don't suggest counseling - I can't get him to talk to me, let alone someone else.