Moisturizing, drinking a daily probiotic drink, buying an expensive bicycle, joining Twitter, dieting, and inquiring about hair pieces…
Are, unfortunately, not the only “symptoms” of the male midlife crisis.
The male midlife crisis affair may still be a cliché, but it’s real. It happens all the time, and though you still can’t believe it, it has happened in your marriage.
Did you ever imagine this could happen in your marriage?
Did you ever think that some day you’ll wake up next to your forty/fifty year old husband and discover he is dating a woman half his age or his ex girlfriend from high school – behind your back?
Your whole life seems to be falling apart, peace by peace.
- Why and how did he start his “midlife affair”?
- What does his age have to do with it?
- Will it last?
- How long will it last?
Will he leave you for or has already left you and you still hope that it’s just a “phase” he’s going through?
In this post I’ll try to answer all of these questions and maybe convince you that this doesn’t mean your marriage has to be over.
But first, what’s different about the male midlife crisis affair?
What’s Unique about the Midlife Crisis Affair?
Some researchers believe that the male midlife crisis is hardwired and biological. The male version of menopause if you’d like (You probably won’t…)
But it definitely seems like men start hitting the gym more often, buying an expensive bicycle and fantasizing about pretty young things – while women become depressed, go through hot flashes and gain weight.
There are dozens of midlife crisis “symptoms”, but the one that is most connected to the male midlife affair is the attempt to recapture youth.
Recapturing youth for men includes a rediscovered worry about appearance, contacting ex girlfriends on Facebook and becoming excessively nostalgic (among other things).
And what’s the most obvious (and exciting) way to recapture your youth?
A thrilling, exhilarating, action-packed, stimulating and intoxicating new love affair.
Preferably with a woman half his age.
(But this doesn’t mean he has planned this in any way!)
Keep in mind, though, that a midlife crisis is, whether biological or cultural, a real deal:
Your husband’s (and your) hormonal changes and life jitters can morph into problems in the bedroom:
And, midlife men often “turn tender” and start to focus more on people and feelings, but ironically this makes them more easily drawn into an affair.
In any case, your husband’s midlife crisis affair is in no way your fault.
HE chose to break his vowels. Not you.
Will His Midlife Affair LAST (And How Long??)
In my experience, most women try to ignore their husband’s midlife crisis.
(After all, they have their own midlife stuff to deal with)
They hope that it’s just temporary and soon enough, it will go away on its own.
But a midlife crisis affair can hardly be ignored. Right?
Your broken heart screams “run away! Leave him! Now!
But your mind interferes and reminds you of a lifetime of friendship, kids raised together, mutual friends, a life you built together as a family.
Deep inside you hope that his midlife affair is just temporary. Soon he’ll realize the huge mistake he has made, leave her and beg for you to take him back.
Will it last? How long will it last? Could he be really on love with that woman? Is it worth ending the marriage over?
To help you answer this question, here are the 3 stages of the marital affair, and how to predict the outcome in your marriage:
The 3 Stages of the Midlife Affair
Affairs in general tend to follow a general pattern, and the male midlife crisis affair is no different.
1. Secretive Excitement
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to start a new love story after all these years? The excitement, the hot flashes, the fantasizing and day dreaming?
The sense that there’s someone new admiring your looks, your sense of humor, your smile. Someone who understands you (without knowing your weaknesses), who thinks you’re the best person on earth?
I’m sure you can imagine it, so now you know how the first stage of an affair feels like, and why it’s so hard to let it go, no matter what it compromises and who it hurts.
It’s a sharp contrast to the pressures and stress of daily life. It’s addicting.
2. The Routine
Then the affair settles onto a second phase – routine meetings, emails, texting/sexting and phone calls.
At this point, the focus shifts towards the affair partner. After all she’s new. He doesn’t know her flaws yet. The heat and passion of a new love affair can make anything else look dull and lifeless.
Your husband (mistakenly) thinks that this is the best relationship he has ever had.
To support this thought, he will rewrite history and may convince himself that he never really loved you and that he never wanted to get married.
At the same time, he knows that if he stays with this woman, he will lose living with his children, mutual friends, and some extremely needed cooking, laundering and cleaning “services” provided by you.
Plus, he could be rejected by his extended family and face anger and resentment from his children.
At this point he will decide whether to end it or to choose the “cake eater” route.
He genuinely desires to be with both of you. The other woman provides some needs, and you provide others. And he wants it all.
The “cake eater” can stay in this phase for years, until you find out.
When you find out, he is forced to make a decision: end the affair and heal his marriage, or leave everything behind for the other woman.
3. Heavy Confusion
If the affair lasts long enough without you finding out about it, the cheating spouse enters the heavy confusion phase.
The guilt feelings (yes, he has those) about destroying his marriage, the constant lies and betrayal starts to take a toll on him.
Not only does he lead a secret life, but now he starts to get demands from the other woman. She wants more and more. She may threaten to tell you everything.
He feels an urging need to make a decision: end the affair, come clean and try to salvage his marriage? Or leave you and his children for a woman he can’t imagine living without?
And the guilt keeps grinding. Emotionally and physically.
This phase usually determines the outcome of your husband’s midlife affair. It will determine how long it will last and if it will last, and whether he will leave you for her – or not.
If you think about it, the longer the affair goes on without you knowing about it, the more chances he’ll eventually end it and beg for your forgiveness.
How to Cope with Your Husband’s Midlife Crisis Affair
Coping with your husband’s midlife affair depends, of course, on your current situation.
1. If your husband/partner has already left you for the other women, do not assume that it’s the end of your marriage. Even if he said he has never loved you (which is complete nonsense!)
A temporary separation, handled in a smart way, can actually save your marriage rather than end it.
(Like a naughty kid who comes back to his mother, he’ll come back to his wife, if she gets her own life together and becomes un-dependant of him.)
2. If your husband still lives with you and refuses to make a decision (asking you to wait for him to decide) – Do not beg and plead.
You don’t want him to choose you and your family only because you begged for it. His decision won’t be real and won’t keep for long.
If you had a rough marriage before his affair, the midlife affair could be the final blow. But it doesn’t have to happen.
If he can’t decide, I would decide for him.
3. If he begs for your forgiveness and ends the affair – if your husband shows real and true remorse, ends the affair immediately (in front of you) and begs for your forgiveness – there’s a chance that his midlife crisis affair is really over.
In this case, chances are he is returning to earth with a hard landing.
It may seem weird to you, but a smart women would focus on herself at this point. Put all your energy into you.
Get new clothes, get a massage, go out with your friends, discover yourself again, and find your calm and balance. It’s a critical step in saving a marriage after an affair.
Then, go on to deal with your marriage crisis. I would start with restoring your trust in him through the post-affair agreement.
The male midlife crisis usually happens to people between the ages of 35 to 50 who have a very stressful life, with too much responsibility and too little fun and leisure time.
And it is NOT your fault.
I believe that the way you cope with it will determine whether his midlife affair will end your marriage, or surprisingly make it stronger in the long run.
If you can lift yourself up, and not let the anger, frustration, and sadness take over you, your marriage can make it out of the storm and possibly become better than it ever was.
I believe in it. Do you?
What do you think?