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The disappearing man

Community Member

Now that I am almost 60 life has lost meaning for me. It has been coming on for years and now here it is.

Some years back my wife had a year long affair with a younger executive type work colleague - she was 45 then and he was a bit younger. Like us he was married with children. I decided to stay for the kids and because of the huge amount still owing to the bank.

This horrible experience brought much insight and self examination - a hell of a lot of reading and some counseling. I learned that I had been depressed and anxious since I was a young teen. Back then I didn't question my high and low days - stiff upper lip, carry on. But this state was at the core of all my relationship failures and contributed to the affair. I had became overweight and resentful of her. Sex became a rare thing. It didn't help that I had taken on the role of Mr Mum and only worked part time. We grew apart and ultimately she took the bait.

I did pull my weight though - housework, meals etc. I take that seriously. To top it of I spent the best part of 6 months getting our home up to scratch before it went on the market. We moved into our new home and a month later I discovered, by accident, what she had been up to. It was shattering.

So here we are 5 yrs later and all the promises from early on about re-building and re-bonding etc. have come to nought. The fights are over, sex is a distant memory. Now I exist here with my beaut kids and this other person who is some type of 'companion'. Even though I now have 30 hrs of work each week I simply cannot afford to move and both kids are well established in High School and in this neighborhood.

All of this has sent me into a spiral and I have been on anti depressants for 18 months. I just seem to drift through work and home/family life. Often I think about checking out. I cannot seem to connect with other women - clearly I come across as a bit desperate IMO, or my personality gives of an awkward vibe. I'm not sure. Obviously I have lost confidence but age is also a factor.

I get on OK with men, mostly via sport etc but I'm much more comfortable with the females - it's just that no one is looking for a nearly 60 yr old and I don't feel like I fully have the energy anyway if something did happen. I guess the fact that I need to be around a woman who needs me might be an issue (dependency?)

Anyway - I'm caught in this daily revolving door; just not enjoying life but with many family and financial responsibilities.

Thank you

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Phoenix 2222,

Sorry to read you are in such a tough place right now. Hope you don't mind me asking you a few questions: Do you and your wife share the same room or do you have separate rooms? Do you go out as a couple at all or as a family? Are you invited out as a couple to family events?

You mentioned looking for another female. Does that mean you and your wife are just in the same house but live separate lives?

Do you have hobbies and interests that give you pleasure and satisfaction?

Are there clubs or groups in your region you could join?

Do your children play sport? If so, do you chat with the other parents at the games?

Don't think that no one out there is looking for an almost 60 year old guy. You are not old at all. When you are 100 then you will be old. Ha. Ha I'm not making light of your situation, I realise how you desire your life to be different right now.

If you do become very depressed and do start to think about "checking out" then please use a phone help line like the one here at Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Life Line. People are there to listen to you, to offer you advice and encourage you.

Many times in my life I had thought that checking out was the only answer. I am so pleased that I did not go on with those thoughts. Life is not always easy, there are some really rough days, some days are wonderful as well.

Think about things you would like to do. Make a list. You might not ever achieve all of them or half of them, starting a list may inspire and encourage you.

I do so hope some of this helps and also hope you do seek help and assistance if you start to feel too depressed.

You sound like a thoughtful and caring person.

Cheers for now from Mrs. Dools

Thank you Doolhof,

Yes we share the same room. I initially moved into the guest room but it was not comfortable (smallish single bed) plus I thought, why should I move out. She refused to vacate the master bedroom - after a few weeks I was back.

Yes, we do family stuff from time to time and for all intents and purposes are still a couple. I did not reveal anything about this to my broader family - just a handful of her friends are aware. Our children know about it.

To be honest I have spent much of these last 5 years reliving what happened - despite the fact that I gave myself a make over. I was privy to much of the detail contained in their emails and texts, plus I confronted her lover early on and he told me a mountain - where, when and what. Shocking; but I am one of those people who needs to know.

So, even though I have pursued some interests, I am still caught in this emotional bind. Not forgetting that our children come first. In some ways it is the perfect trap. Don't want to leave and can't afford to leave.

I understand I must press on and I have been doing that to some degree - I just do not like this idea that we are a couple when there is zero intimacy and nothing has been done to progress. Yet it appears that my wife thinks all is OK - she's happy to co-exist. Sheer madness. I need intimacy in my life.

Look, I love deep conversations & connecting but here in the suburbs it is not readily available. It's the land of the family out here and parents are generally just too busy and have their own issues anyway. Probably I need to try a bit harder - but I get bored with small talk after a while. However I will do more, I am not a lost cause, just still damaged by this betrayal.

As i alluded to before I am a bit concerned that I think the company of a female will help me or is some kind of answer - though life without affection is a tough road. Love is a verb not just a noun.

I really appreciate your kind words - again, thank you !