Even before the discovery of his affair I had come to realize that my husband was having a “mid-life crisis”. He talked about getting a new sports car (we have more cars than the average family). He complained about his health (the aches and pains as the body ages and the years of not exercising and eating right were catching up with him). Several of his co-workers had been retiring (his original plan was to retire at 55 and although we save and invest there was no real plan). He had known three men who recently passed away (one a very close friend who died from sleep apnea, (something he suffers from but won’t sleep with the c-pap). Our boys still live at home (even though both are out of school and do work), and continue to be a major expense in our budget. Due to the economy, our finances not as solid as before. Our marriage had been unhappy (for us both) for sometime, even though I thought we had finally reached a point that we were working on improving it. Then I discovered that text message which changed my life forever.
Mid-life, getting older, it is unavoidable. It happens to us all, both men and women. It can be described as a period of transition or crisis. You realize the years of your youth are past. You begin the second half of your life. Some people accept the inevitable, and transition gracefully. More often, this period is met with denial. Refusing to accept a fact of life. They fight against the realization that time is unstoppable. We are getting older and someday we will no longer exist. I know my husband was feeling this way about his life but I never realized how much so. And due to the years of emotional abuse I lived with, I was unable or unwilling to be supportive of him. Like I imagine a partner in a healthy marriage would do. (I still think he doesn’t get WHY I WASNT THERE FOR HIM.) Feeling overworked and unloved I imagine is when his affair began. I wonder if he thinks this solved his problems? (maybe a feel good band-aid). In my opinion, this did NOT solve his problems, only add to them.
So is mid-life crisis an excuse for having an affair? Some would say yes. Some would say no. I think there is more to it. As our bodies produce less and less of hormones needed to remain balanced. For women the primary indicator is the cessation of menstrual cycle. No more periods. Some are never affected by the loss of these hormones. Others experience many uncomfortable symptoms, and take hormones to make their bodies function better.
But what about men and their process of aging? Obviously they don’t have periods, so how do men know? For many men the most obvious symptom is in their penis. Sex has less intensity, they may no longer get that rock hard erection of their youth. Also they are more irritable, restless, they look at their life, their family, their spouse and begin to wonder, is this it? Feeling lost and unhappy they question their existence. Why haven’t I accomplished more? What about my dreams? Maybe they realize their life didn’t turn out the way they had planned, feel defeated. (Maybe they actually have a good marriage/life but due to these hormonal changes experience many similar feelings.) The years have slipped by and what do you have to show for it? They look for someone to blame, most likely their spouse. They grasp at what they feel is their last chance to hold onto their youth. Maybe they buy a sports car, have an affair, or even abandon their families. Most don’t have a clue about what is going on within their bodies because doctors only address the erection part of it and fail to educate about the other symptoms. For men, this period of transition is much longer than a women’s, It takes men 10-15 years to complete. It’s called andropause.
The effects of hormones “pausing”, in both men and women, can lead to the types of behavior mentioned above. Hormone therapy is readily available to help women, and for men if they discuss with their doctors. Men generally don’t like to acknowledge a lack of testosterone If. But it’s so much more than not being able to get/keep an erection. Both the physical and mental/emotional changes can have traumatic effects on his life without an understanding of what’s happening it is very possible that these effects can be a significant cause of why (some) seemingly happy, successful men seek affairs or commit suicide.
So the term “midlife crisis” may be appropriate, simply because they are in denial about the aging process. However it is not an excuse to have an affair, people know right from wrong. But these changes can skew their thinking process, make them rationalize inappropriate behavior. Knowing this helps me understand, how despite us making a lot of progress in our relationship, husband sometimes doesn’t seem “present”. My mind instantly thinks that his thoughts are of his AP, and maybe that may not be the case at all. He is stuck in the dilemma that his body is out of balance- leaving him in that hormone fog I spoke of earlier. This is a serious medical issue. Without information to assess this properly, many just feel too overwhelmed , stuck and unable to do anything to help themselves and some end their lives. Or they have an affair thinking this will make them feel better. For most it does not, it only makes them feel worse, and increases the chaos in their life.
If your husband (or if you are a guy that is reading this) has any of the symptoms listed below you may want to check out this website by Dr. Jed Diamond (MEN ALIVE) It is filled with information aimed to assist those who are in crises, and those that love them. It is ultimately up to each man to seek what they need. Not all who have an affair have hormones out of whack. Some are just infidels. Don’t let them use this as an excuse. That would be a disservice to those who actually have reached mid-life and transitioned gracefully. Or those who with medical assistance have finally found peace, love and happiness in the second half of their lives. I pray my husband falls into that category, with me.
Despite his narcissistic tendancies, I believe these hormonal changes play a big part in his behavior. Making an attempt to do the right thing, even while it doesn’t feel totally right. I believe that is why his actions don’t seem genuine to me. He is still in a fog, not an affair fog but a hormonal one. And he has to address this, before he will see significant improvements. I can’t make him change. If he wants to feel better it is something HE will have to do, because I am not the cause of all his problems. I don’t control his body or what he does. If he refuses to do anything about it I cannot force him to address the problem. It may sound as if I am trying to control him but He is the one who shares with me his aches and pains and worries with me and asked me for help. (Wow it just dawned on me that he is SHARING feelings and concerns with me – that’s a step in the right direction for sure.)
So no sports car or hair transplants for my guy, hopefully some hormones will bring us even closer to really healing after that affair. Damned mid-life!!!
MOST COMMON SIGNS OF ANDROPAUSE
1.reduced libido or sex drive
2.reduced potency or ability to maintain erection
3.fatigue, loss of vitality
4.irritability and “grumpiness”
5.aches, pains and stiffness increase
6.depression which manifests as anger or boredom
7.night sweats (or day), hot flashes
8.dryness and thinning of skin
9.restlessness and a longing to “break free”
10.weight gain acquiring a “pot belly”
ANOTHER WEBSITE THAT HAS A LOT OF ARTICLES ABOUT MEN AND MID-LIFE