Over the past couple of years my world has tilted on its axis. My wife and kids are everything to me so I have abandoned friends and even my extended family to be there for them over the years. My wife is not overly fond of my family. She feels they are not as well educated or wealthy as her parents. To add onto that, she has no siblings so she was spoiled as a child. She also has a terrible time delaying gratification or being generous to others, including me. I have reluctantly agreed to little contact with my parents and siblings. I have also dropped all my friends as I work longer hours to buy the things my wife demands.
Our life before:
She was so smart and beautiful when I met her back in college I guess I just lost my head. I was nearly failing, ready to drop out of school because of lack of focus and partying. Luckily, she took interest in me and encouraged me to shape up and complete my degree. When we first met I may have looked like quite a catch. I was tall and athletic, not playing college hockey only because of some ill-timed injuries. Even with everything that is going on currently I do appreciate that she made me see how important it was to break out of a self-destructive pattern.
My wife’s midlife crisis:
Unfortunately she is now turning into the bad habit I may need to kick. Our children are growing up. But my wife seems to be taking aging, the minor wrinkles and gray hairs we all sprout, really hard. She has grown very cold and distant, contemptuous of me and my wants and desires. She seems to be trying to reinvent herself, having a mid-life crisis that she is salving with expensive purchases just for her and ignoring that she even has three children who need her attention. The kids dress in clothes from the thrift store while she collects looks of women half her age in spendy boutiques.
Fewer and fewer evenings find her home. She frequently attends what she calls “girls weekends” with her friends, leaving me on my own with our girls. Our sex life is non-existent and I have moved into a bedroom in the basement while she remodels our master suite into her dream domain.
Even as beaten down as I have been with all this my sense that something is not quite right has been tingling. I checked out our joint checking account for a few of those weekends she supposedly spent our of town with her girlfriends and found a lot of purchases in restaurants and art galleries right here in town.
I hate to admit it but the next weekend she left home for a spa with her buddies I drove to one of the restaurants our joint account indicated had received our business without remembering what I had ordered. Right around the corner I found her car and then out of the door of the bistro came my wife, arm in arm with a man I vaguely recognized from our our daughter’s dance school.
Blown away I slunk home and hung with the kids in shock for the rest of the weekend. I endured her happy reunion with our girls Sunday night and tossed and turned all night in the basement. Once the kids were on the school bus the next morning I confronted her.
She batted not an eye and shrugged. Briefly she reported this guy was her current obsession, and that he made her feel young again. I insisted she stop seeing him when she dropped the next bombshell. Sadly, she demanded I “give it time” because all her other extramarital flings in the past have eventually fizzled out. She gave my shoulder a little squeeze as she stalked out of the room to get ready for work and told me “we will get through this.”
Now what? Divorce? Counseling? Or bite the bullet and “get through this” and wait for her next boy toy?
My kids are my world and if I end up leaving or kicking her out they will crumble. My self-esteem is shot. Everything I thought was true appears false as I contemplate my next step.
Wish me luck.
[Story by a reader, Christopher Thompson]