Tales From the Front: What looks like an affair may just be midlife crisis

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By Cheryl Lavin

There are some pretty good ways a man can tell if his wife is having an affair: She spends a lot of time on the phone or the computer, acts spacy, works out more, dresses up more, has less (or more) interest in sex and has new interests. You get phone hang-ups. Something doesn’t feel right.

Well, it seems there are women exhibiting all the warning signs of cheating who aren’t having an affair at all! What they’re having is a midlife crisis. Women, it seems, don’t usually deal with it by buying a little red sports car. They’re more likely to buy a little red bra …

MARNIE: A year ago I realized that I’d been doing everything for everyone in my family since childhood. In addition, for the last three years, I’ve had a very demanding job that included nights and weekends as well as days. I’m also the kind of person who tends to head up different voluntary committees as well.

I just couldn’t do it anymore, and I lost it! I started counseling to get some help. I came to the realization that I needed to take care of me and do what I’ve always wanted to do. Life is too short.

Thankfully, I was let go at work. I decided not to find a new job until I got my head on straight and started enjoying life. I started taking classes in things I’d been interested in: ballroom dancing, computers, wine tasting, cooking. All these classes took place in the evening. Not once did my husband attend with me.

I joined a bowling league. I got my motorcycle license. I went to the gym three times a week and lost 10 pounds. I started dressing up a little bit more. (Anything was an improvement from tennis shoes and T-shirts.)

My husband I have been married for 19 years. Our sex life has consisted of one position for most of that time. I started picking up Cosmo, Glamour, Women’s Health, etc., to get some ideas. (We’re still not having more or better sex. If I were my husband, I’d think I was having an affair. I’m not. I love my husband.)

If husbands wonder if their wives are having an affair, they should ask what’s going on. They might find out that they’re having a midlife crisis. Like me. By the way, my husband and I are finally taking a class together: badminton.

PAIGE: After 22 years of marriage and catering to the schedules and needs of a family, including extended family, I’m taking some well-deserved time for myself. I’ve made time to live a healthier lifestyle, work out regularly, dress up more, change my hairstyle, try new interests, talk on the phone and spend time on the computer learning about topics of the day and sometimes talking to people with whom I have common interests.

I’m excited to finally have the time to develop new interests in addition to the ones I have with my family. I don’t infringe on my husband’s guy time and he respects my girl time. I feel better about myself, and it’s had a positive effect on my marriage and family life.

How did you deal with a mid-life crisis? Send your tale, along with your questions and problems to cheryllavinrapp@gmail.com.

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