Wondering what’s happened to your wife? Is she spending more time away from home,
either at the office or shopping with friends? Has her wardrobe changed significantly,
dressing more like your teenage daughter than a 45-year-old woman? Does she appear
deep in thought? Does she provoke fights over seemingly insignificant issues? Does
she spend hours online chatting with her friends on Facebook? Is she forever texting and
guarding her phone like a mother lion guards her cub?
You may be the unwilling victim of a marital affair. If you suspect this already, you may
have checked the phone records and observed a certain number popping up multiple
times a day. Or maybe you’ve already noticed that something seems “not quite right”
when your wife has to work late or she has yoga class that lasts well past the time
when the yoga studio closes. Her explanation may be that she “went out with friends”
afterwards or a co-worker of hers “needed to talk” and, of course, they’re “just friends.”
The fact is that she’s lying to you and, when you confront her about it, she insists that
she was just trying to “protect you” because she knew “you wouldn’t understand.”
Or, perhaps, she outright accuses you of being too controlling. But what you know
instinctively is that, whether or not your wife is having sex with another man, she’s
sharing emotionally with someone else what she should be sharing with you, her
This is emotional infidelity and hurts just as much, if not more, than a sexual affair. It’s
also much harder for a woman to break free from because the behaviors related to it have
become addictive. Just like an alcoholic needs a drink, or a heroin addict needs a fix, she
believes that she needs that high she gets from being with this other person. Stopping the
addiction is difficult, but not impossible to do. However, the pain from having an affair
has to be greater than the escape they experience. Otherwise, they continue to believe
the fantasy – the illusion that this person is their “soul mate” when in reality it’s another
needy person looking to meet their own needs.
Unlike men, who frequently turn to affairs due to lack of sex in the marriage, women
primarily turn to affairs due to lack of emotional needs being met in the marriage.
Does that mean that you’re to blame for her infidelity? Absolutely not! However, your
immediate attempts to suddenly be the man she’s always wanted won’t typically be
greeted with open arms. In fact, it’s not uncommon for women to get angry with their
spouses for addressing the issues she’s been nagging about for years because you’ve just
taken away her justification (in her mind) for cheating on you!
If your wife has a secret life she’s unwilling to share with you, you have a rocky road
ahead. However, your marriage can recover from this betrayal if the affair is viewed as
a symptom of the underlying problems – insecurity, lack of emotional intimacy in the
marriage, discontentment with life, feeling insignificant, or a fear of getting older. If she
faces the root cause, your marriage will be stronger because of it. The scars will never go
away, but the pain will eventually subside.
Survive Your Wife’s Midlife Crisis
Your guide to recognizing the signs of a midlife crisis, learning what actions to take and which ones to avoid, how to identify an affair and respond to a request for a separation or divorce, and determine how and when to reconcile – while staying sane through the process.
Author: Christine Schaap