Do People in Midlife Crisis Twist the Situation and the Blame?

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Have you ever heard of men flipping it around and after threatening to leave, now tell you that you will probably leave them? I am totally confused…

I’m going to add a few additional details from the questioner.

  • They still sleep in the same bed.
  • He loves her; he doesn’t lover her and Monsters.
  • He said he hates himself, doesn’t lover her—he loves no one.
  • She was seeing a therapist and he refused; he recently said he wants to see someone as well.
  • But none if it would matter because she would leave him anyway
  • They won’t be married at this time next year because he will do something that would make her leave.

So, to those of you who have been in this a few years, does that look a bit familiar? Okay, I admit I am asking that question with a bit of sarcasm—no offense, it’s a common question. O could simply answer this question with a large YES, but I will offer some explanations—though the articles offer even more detail; I’ve linked a few important ones in this post.

To the questioner and others who may not know: This is textbook MLC script—especially textbook Clinging Boomerang. I saw this in my own situation and it is typical of Clinging Boomerangs.

Yeah, I know it doesn’t make sense. He’s the one who is Monstering and confused and you are being steady and faithful, but he claims—and believes—you will be the one to leave him. But think about it from the MLCer’s point of view:

Some MLCers don’t want to be the bad guy; they want to get you to do the dirty work of ending the relationship and they may do this through a variety of conflict increasing behaviours—not all are
deliberate. An affair and Monstering are deliberate, but Depression and what it does to a person may not be and yet an MLCer may feel their negativity and believe no one would put up with it. Perhaps they believe they would not put up with it if your roles were reversed.

What do you do about this—how do you reassure or convince your MLCer that you won’t leave (abandon) them?
Well, telling them over and over that you won’t leave will do nothing; rather this often feels to them as though you are dismissing them and that you don’t get it. They’re probably right; you’re not in their crazy head and so you don’t get what it’s like in there. And maybe they’re right, plenty of people subtly set up situations for another person to take the action and plenty of men and women walk out on their midlife crisis spouse; how does your spouse know that you won’t be one of them. It’s the scorned issue; you don’t know how you will react or respond to a situation until you experience it. You can guess and if you are well-adjusted and stable you are more likely to be accurate, but everyone has a threshold; what if your MLCer crosses yours? Please do not go into this thinking that my spouse wouldn’t do that, where that may be typical MLC behaviours such as having an affair, leaving, spending their savings, Monstering, leaving the kids as well as you, drinking or turning to other destructive self-medications…

Establishing Reassurance takes time. Reassure by showing rather than telling. A week of steadfast faithfulness in the face of Monster is not going to be enough to convince anyone—especially since some MLCers Monster for 1-2 years which makes a week feel like almost nothing. Even if you don’t falter—and you probably will—it will take a few years for an MLCer to feel reassured. Initially they will test you by increasing their conflict behaviours in order to find your threshold. Paving the Way takes time and detaching is essential. In my situation it was about two years before Chuck really believed I would not give and leave him. During that time I did not waiver in my Stand; sure I blew up at him a few times—and he needed it! But I remained committed to him. Once he finally felt reassured we had a new issue: he felt he could do anything since I would not leave him. Cake-Eating often becomes an issue later in MLC with Clinging Boomerangs.