DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR: My 39 year old partner of 14 years has completely changed. He once was a very loving man but now he hates me. He told me that he doesn't love me and he doesn't think that he ever did. He has been so cruel to me. He told me that he was going to leave me which was nearly 13 weeks ago now but he's still living with me and our young toddler. He has moved into the spare room. He hasn't spoken to me since he said he was leaving. If he does ask me something in relation to our child, he barks at me. He can't seem to stand the sight of me. He always seems to be angry. He has started working out loads, as he was overweight. He has been out of work for over 2 years and he doesn't seem to be bothered looking for work anymore which is not like him. He is great with our child but he also has snapped at his parents for no reason. I love him so much but I don't know what to do for him. Some days he seems so sad and lonely. I tried talking to him a few weeks ago but he said that he doesn't want to hear me speak so he told me to shut up and he walked away. This is not the same man that I fell in love with. His sleep is gone to pot. He could be up all night on the computer, and in bed all day. He could be up all night on the computer, and in bed all day. I would love to help him but since he can't stand me being near him, I don't know what to do. I really think that he
has some form of depression. Could he be suffering from a midlife crisis?
I would really love to hear from you. I cry myself to sleep most nights worrying about him. Thank you. Lily
MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER: Hi Lily - thanks for writing in. Your partner could be experiencing either a midlife crisis or depression ... or both. It is extremely difficult for any of us to know for sure - because only he knows what is going on inside his own head.
I have several pieces of advice for you. The first is - you should recognize that you cannot control what is going on inside of his head ... and because of that, you should give him the space that he has asked for. If that means him moving out, then let him move out. [How will he afford his own place? You said he is unemployed, right?] It is possible that he is very frustrated over his employment (and likely his financial) situation at his age ... and that he is taking that out on you and your relationship. He may just need some time to himself to sort things through ... and then later he may (or may not) realize how important you are to him. Since you have a child together, I want to think that he would give your relationship a lot of serious consideration before terminating it.
Now it is also very possible that he has fallen completely out of love with you. I know it hurts to hear that - and I'm sorry ... but things like that do happen all the time. People grow apart ... sometimes suddenly ... sometimes gradually ... sometimes somewhere in between. It just happens, and it is part of life. This is probably the scenario you should plan for ... and if instead he comes back to you, then things will be that much easier. So really my second piece of advice is - start to deal with the idea that he really is gone forever emotionally, and start to take the necessary steps for your own recovery ... which honestly would be a lot easier if he does, in fact, move out. Remember - your own happiness is determined by YOU, and not by another person ... you should never give another person that much power.
So just to sum up my advice, it is:
1) Give him whatever space he needs and asks for.
2) If he moves out, then take that as your opportunity to really begin your own healing process ... and start moving forward with your life.
3) Encourage him to get some counseling ... either couples counseling, or at least one-on-one counseling with a psychologist. That way he'll have someone unbiased to help him work through his current issues.
4) Know that for you, better days are definitely ahead. Once you get through this - you will be that much stronger, and that much smarter about yourself. This is both a learning and a personal growth experience for you.
I'd also like to encourage you to read through the various sections of this website (such as Midlife Crisis, Midlife Dating). You might also check out some of the other ASK MIDLIFE BACHELOR questions and answers ... as there are a lot of people in the past who have gone through some pretty difficult situations. And finally, I'd really strongly suggest that you join our Midlife Forum here - the majority of the people there are our age, and have gone through the end of a long-term relationship ... and we basically bounce ideas and opinions off of one another. It can help to get male and female advice - definitely. Good luck - let me know how things progress, okay? Take care.