MIDLIFE CRISIS CHEATER SEEKS REDEMPTION
DEAR MIDLIFE BACHELOR::
I realize I won't garner any sympathy from you or from your members, but from having read through many parts of your site, I believe I may be in the midst of having a midlife crisis and need some help. I will try, to keep this short as possible and give the abbreviated synopsis of the past six months.
I'm in my late thirties, and have been married for nearly fifteen years. I have a loving wife, three absolutely beautiful children whom I love deeply. My wife and I do not always get along - we fight quite a bit ... and over the years, our relationship has turned more into a friendship/roommate situation. I eventually made a friendship with someone whom I met through a training class, and we hit it off. We are both in our thirties, I'm more towards the older end and she just entered them. We have, had, many, many things in common whereas my wife and I did not - looking back. Our friendship soon turned sexual - romantic and further feelings began to emerge that
had not been present or felt previously, by me for my wife, and her, for her husband. Yes, two married people cheating on their families. Absolutely horrific, I know, I get that and am NOT proud of it.
So, as these things apparently go, I've done this one other time, and so has she. She was eventually outted on our relationship and things turned sour quite quickly between us. Needless to say, as the story goes, we are not together anymore. In the mean time, my wife has moved out, and we are in the midst of separating. What I'm coming to realize is, that I may be having a midlife crisis, a burning desire for something new, I dont know, I thought it was TRUE LOVE and all that romantic stuff.
Anyway - it looks like the majority of your information is geared to those who have been on the ugly receiving end of this, but, is there anything on trying to get my head out of the sand and back into reality? I know just writing this is stupid, and I am a low life for having done these things, but I'm trying to establish a difference between letting my mind win the fight that I have a family, children, and many years of a marriage and possible good times ahead, or the devil on my shoulder that I deserve to experience happiness (whatever that may be) these days now, whereas I was not happy before ... and neither was my wife ... but now, EVERYONE IS UNHAPPY and I'm having serious issues, crisis issues of the heart and mind. I'm struggling with what to do, how to gain perspective, outlook - the whole bit. Please, help if you can or point me to some information that may help. I know I need help, my wife does not know about the affairs and I'm trying my best to gain a clear sense of everything. There is much more to this, but this is the shortest version I could get out. Please help if you can before I completely lose my mind.
MIDLIFE BACHELOR ANSWER:Thanks for writing in! You are definitely in the right place - and yes, you are correct that the majority of the people that write in to me are actually on the receiving side of a midlife crisis affair ... but that certainly does NOT mean that your issue is anything less important. In fact, I am very glad you wrote in because your side has not been properly addressed by me in the past ... and I will definitely give you some of my thoughts.
First of all - don't beat yourself up too badly. For whatever reason, this thing happened and you now need to deal with it. Sure, you have regrets ... but you need to start looking FORWARD (not backward) in order to get yourself on track and heal yourself properly. Part of this is acknowledging your error ... which you have done ... and that is good. But recognize there is (most likely) no going back now ... so the best things you can do are:
1) Be fair toward your ex-wife with respect to asset allocation, and everything else, too.
2) Be good to your children - this means paying child support, and being there for them as a father.
3) Be nice to your ex-wife, even if she is mean as hell to you. Just keep the karma as good as possible at all times.
4) Focus on moving forward with your life. There are a lot of suggestions in the article, How to Deal with a Midlife Crisis Affair and Divorce ... and yes, that article is written for someone on the receiving end, but a lot of what it says still applies to you and your healing process. So ADAPT, don't ADOPT everything in that article to you and your situation.
5) I assume you also read the section called Your Midlife Crisis? One of the main ideas in that section is that midlife crises happen for a reason ... that they are an "agent of change", and even though they can be ugly - they do happen for a reason. In your case, your marriage had turned into more of a room-mate situation, and your affair was the mechanism you used to effect drastic change in your life. Understanding just that is important - it doesn't let you off the hook as far as guilt goes, but it does at least give you some logical reason for why you did this.
6) Join our Midlife Forum. I think I saw that you already did - so I look forward to hearing from you there. We have a lot of good people (both men and women) there who can give you their perspective ... as I am just one voice.
Okay - good luck. Take care, Brother - you are on the path toward recovery right this very moment.