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I‘m curious on your thoughts on Midlife Crisis vs Walk-Away Wife – do you think these are two separate things and if so how to categorize one vs the other.
Yes, they are separate, but I’m sure there are situations where both are at play—so if the woman were not having an MLC she would still be walking away.

Consider the differences.

Walk-Away Wife

  1. She starts out with pursuit-complaints because she does not feel her husband is attentive enough. Result: he withdraws.
  2. Eventually she switches to nagging or insulting-complaints rather than complaints about emotional distance or inattentiveness. Of course this causes him to withdraw even more.
  3. She gives up and begins to plan her escape.
    he walk-away wife's goodbyeWhat is confusing to her husband is that the plan may be contingent on a future event that could be years away such as the kids leaving home, so she does nothing.
    Giving up means she no longer nags since it didn’t work. To her husband this appears as though she is happy again and he thinks things are better. When she finally announces she is leaving, he is shocked.
    Just as it often is with an MLC Bomb Drop, this announcement works and the husband finally gets it and begins to make changes—too late for his wife.

Midlife Crisis (The Hero’s Spouse Definition)
A normal life event—midlife transition—that has escalated to crisis levels of emotional and mental turmoil. Denial and attempts to avoid the transition yield crisis which manifests through avoidance, regression and depression and in the context of a marriage often includes infidelity and separation. MLCers react overtly with outward destruction; whether intentional or not, an MLCer hurts other people in significant ways.

A Walk-Away Wife may not be doing anything destructive other than ending the marriage—which is, of course, terribly destructive for children and others.

Key Components of a Midlife Crisis Vs. Walk-Away Wife

  • Depression—covert & overt
    This could be at play with a Walk-Away Wife, but it is not a requirement
  • Avoidance of Self-Reflection
    With a Walk-Away Wife she may be open to self-reflection and perhaps has been doing a lot of it.
  • The urge to escape & abandon
    Does a Walk-Away Wife have an urge to escape or is it more that she felt so helpless in her efforts (complaining and nagging which don’t work) that she just got fed-up. An MLCer feels cooped up rather than fed-up.
  • Infidelity
    Sure, this could be an issue for either an MLCer or a Walk-Away Wife, but look for some differences. Though a Walk-Away Wife could have an MLC sort of emotionally-bonded affair, it is also likely that her affair would be an Exit Affair which is merely an affair of convenience.
    Watch out for affairs though; physical intimacy releases bonding hormones which can result in feelings that lead to emotional attachment and in-fatuation and an emotionally-bonded affair—a situation which may appear like MLC or it could tip a person who is close to MLC into it.
  • Blaming or projecting (denial of responsibility)
    A Walk-Away Wife may blame and since she may have given up on trying to change her husband (by nagging and complaining) years ago, her claims may go back several years, but if she is not also in MLC she will be more willing and able to self-reflect and accept how her actions or inactions also resulted in the present situation.
  • Cycling mood, personality and life decisions
    Though MLCers may at times appear to be able to rationalize their actions and sound convincing, often their irrationality is obvious. They may have volatile mood swings and go after their spouse with a blood thirsty vengeance. Walk-Away Wife’s, on the other hand, have well-thought-out reasons for their actions, they may be calmer and more clear-headed—though if their husband reacts with anger and retaliation, this could trigger her to become reactive and defensive as well.

Women are often more decisive than men, they plan their escape and once they put it into action, they are more resolute. This may be true for both MLCers and Walk-Away Wives, but given the confusion and cycling an MLCer is experiencing, she may be more susceptible to changing her mind later—when she is further along or through her midlife crisis. Or perhaps a Walk-Away Wife with a Standing spouse who responds to Bomb Drop with self-reflection and quick and genuine changes may be skeptical and yet curious; if we have not seen this to be the case in our divorce-happy culture, maybe there are not enough Standers to show what can be possible!


Walk-Away Wife Versus Midlife Crisis15 Comments

  1. What if your Mlc er has an affair (is it still over or are they reconnected again, Not sure ) : and he is still living at home. Telling you it never will come to reconciliation. Crazymaking. He says he won´t leave because of the kids. I even told him to go and live with her for 6 months or so, and whether he wants her for real. He doesn´t want to. But doesn´t leave either. Sometimes I guess living apart would be easier…..

  2. Although I know my spouse has mlc, the affair leaves me in panic and an outrageous anger. Bomb drop was 10 months ago I still feel devastated. My spouse lives also at home. He lost his job and sometimes I guess him only staying here because of money issues. The fact he isn't a W.A.S. but having MLC because he doesn't go to social events anymore and not seeing our friends anymore but made new ones, mostly like the allienator many years younger

  3. Call it MLC, W.A.S. or divorce happy culture the underlying issue in all three instances is an absence of faith. So it would be more accurately referred to as "a crisis of faith." In all three instances the poor behaviors are symptomatic of a heart condition. This condition can only be resolved by a change of heart (maturity) through love and commitment and a shift away from self centeredness to selflessness. This kind of selfless love is only possible through a reliant relationship with Jesus Christ as your strength and support. I know this because I survived my wife's walk away/midlife crisis-like behavior that included an ongoing, openly conducted affair while continuing to live at home. Eventually she would leave and file for divorce. We reconciled three years ago and continue to grow stronger day by day.

    • Thank you for your post. I agree that both MLC and WAS are "crises of faith" and symptomatic of a heart condition. I found your comments encouraging as I face a similar circumstances. How long did your ordeal last?

      • Hi Mark – the most intense portion of the crisis lasted about two years. From the discovery of my wife's affair to the time we reconciled and moved back in together. Before that we struggled most of our 12 years of marriage. Where are things at for you currently? You can find me on facebook if you prefer to send a private message.

          • HA! I didn't know I had a folder on FB. How about you try and "friend" me then you can private message me?

          • Joe, for some reason, I can't "friend" you on FB, so here's my question/ordeal:
            16 months ago my wife of 25-years asked me for a divorce. Her request shook me up and forced me to re-evaluate my life, particularly my relationship with God. I began making the needed changes in my life during this time. I conviced her to hang on, and we tried marriage counseling for about 4 months, but that only made things worse. During the past 3-months she has become increasingly obstinate, tells me "she's done," and she repeatedly tells me she’s pursuing a divorce (she even had an initial consultation with an attorney). Last week I uncovered evidence that she is having or is about to have an affair. My pain is intense. I expect to receive divorce papers soon.
            I don’t know if my situation is a MLC or WAS. Regardless, I see the biggest issue playing out in my marriage is my wife’s “crises of faith” as she no longer beleives marrriage

            A couple of questions:
            1. What brought your wife back to you (i.e., what convinced your wife to reconcile)?
            2. What marriage resources did you turn to help you through your difficult time?


          • Hi Mark,

            First, I'm really sorry to hear your news. I know all too well the pain you are experiencing. I imagine more so after 25 years of marriage and trying to save it!

            For anyone in your situation here is what I suggest:
            1) do anything and everything to stall the divorce process. Time is your friend in this. drag it out. Make certain she understand you do not agree with divorce. Get an attorney who understands your desire to save your marriage and will do his best to help you.
            2) with regard to your wife and interactions be remorseful and sorrowful for what has happened
            3) with great HUMILITY own your part in the problems
            4) try to steer clear of debating or criticizing her point of view – ONLY validate. Validate does not mean you agree
            5) simultaneous to owning your part generously you are not a doormat – an affair is not okay
            6) if you evidence of the affair is solid then I suggest you discuss it with her – that can be very sensitive, make certain your evidence is solid because she is going to deny it more than likely – that's okay you expect that and stay firm in your position
            7) next she will respond to the disclosure of her affair with anger and likely you'll get the divorce papers soon after – that's ok you've given her something to think about

            Persons who are cheating cant really be reasoned with. You present your side as truth and with love and then let it seep slowly. Don't expect an immediate good response.

            Here's my e-mail address:

            Send me an e-mail.

            I can give you more info.

            One of the best resources is the following:

            Joe Beam is a gentlemen and was was extremely helpful to me. I even met with him in person. He is Christian and has personal experience with affairs and reconciliation.

            Maybe you could convince your wife to do his seminar as a last ditch effort. At best it helps – at worst it is a good stall tactic.

            Please e-mail me – we'll talk more soon.

  4. The above article is garbage. Would a woman make the same distinction between a man in MLC and a man who just decides to leave his wife? Why is there a presumption that the man needs to change but the woman doesn't need to compromise in any way? Would a man who attempted to 'change' (!) his wife and decided it wasn't worth the effort be treated with such courtesy and consideration? Of course he wouldn't. He'd be a faithless ratbag wouldn't he? He'd have the kind of machismo attitude so detested when directed AT women directed towards him BY women, i.e he's needs to man up and take responsibility, he can't take it, he's a wimp etc etc etc. But that's ok when it a woman doing it isn't it? It's these sorts of double standards that leads men to generally ignore so much that women have to say to and about them unfortunately. You can't have your cake and eat it ladies.

  5. In my case I had no arguments or complaints about lack of attention, two weeks before bomb drop she suddenly and dramatically told me she loved me to bits and I thanked her as she had not said that to me for at least a decade. Yes she could have planned it for years around the children leaving homes it occurred around the time line. If that is the case I've been in an emotionally manipulative relationship and that scares me. Who knows what's she's done over the years. She's having a tough time since divorce. Her parents are both victims of her replay shames , her strait laced mom is bedridden with strokes, she was fine before this happened and so was her dad who now has dementia . Her family hate her for this, she's split another 33yearr marriage up and indeed has affaired down with a bar fly who cheated on his former wife before so let's see what the future brings in her new relationship. As for me I'm terrified of another relationship this has been so painful and even after nearly three years is on my mind daily and affects my work and relationships with women in general . I hope I will recover in time and my children will not suffer in their relationships in the future as the example their mom has set may cause emotional damage to them long term .

    • Sorry didn’t see all the comments until after I posted this. Can a W.A.S marriage be salvaged, my husband couldn’t approach me about certain topics as I would get angry (really angry about a certain friendship with another woman – she acted like she was our friend and he sees her like a sister) he would hide that he’d seen her from me because he didn’t want to hurt me, then I would find out and get angry……it got worse because he then couldn’t tell me because I would angry…..ragy bitch angry. I was screaming for his attention and he was building a wall and just gave up and I wasn’t listening so he told me there was someone else who he’d fallen for but she didn’t know???……..I still don’t know if things have happened but I assume something has…….I’m going to anger management, I’ve done a lot of soul searching, I haven’t reacted to things I maybe should have. I just am so confused if it’s MLC or if he just really gave up? I think his feelings for someone else has clouded his judgement but does that mean my feelings have clouded mine?

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