My Story

Hello and welcome. I'm Kenda-Ruth. My husband, Chuck, had a midlife crisis from 2005 to 2008. He had an affair and left me for her—multiple times. We reconciled and then built our family through adoption. That's the good news; now for or the part you don't want to hear.

Chuck was a multiple returner, moving home and leaving again 8 times in total--though a few of those were only a few days, most were a few months in duration. Most MLCers leave and stay away for long periods--though they may return briefly within the first days or weeks after bomb drop. Chuck was a Clinging Boomerang. He filed for divorce during his first leave and we stopped it soon after; he never filed again. After that he used divorce as a threat to get what he wanted and I quickly learned it was empty and called his bluff--often he immediately called off the bluff and admitted he had not meant it.

Before I go on, I thought it might help to see where I was in those first weeks after Bomb Drop on 20 March 2005. Below is my first forum post. I've added notes in two places. My post is in purple, with my notes in black.

Thread Title: New: Please Help 
Date: 15 April 2005

Please help. 3.5 weeks ago I brought up the baby issue and my husband dropped the bomb. For a few days he let me think the issue was that he refused to have children--any. Then he let me know--after letting his family and friends know first--that it was over. I'm still reeling in shock.

We've lived together 9.5 years, married 6.5. I'm 32.5, he's 39.5. No kids, 1 dog, 2 cats.

I've done the begging and pleading. Tuesday eve - Fridays have been good, weekends so-so and Mon - Tues awful. I just found out it is because he has a crush on a client at the gym--he's a trainer. He's been meeting her for lunch for the past five Saturdays. Until last Friday, this poor woman didn't even know his intentions. He admitted his crush to her then. 
[I later learned that the alienator was the pursuer and they worked together at his full-time position at a Retirement Home where he was the Fitness Director and she was the Certified Nursing Assistant; she was not a client at the Gym. But at this stage it was more true that it was a crush--actually an Emotional Affair, but I had not yet learned that term.]

He is moving out the first weekend of May. He's renting a friend's condo. His mail will continue to come to our house, and he will keep his toys here--the toys are not recent/MLC purchases. He also plans to come and do yard work, and we will go running together on Tuesdays after work.

I'm being very strong. He's confused, sending mixed messages. I understand them--in fact he lets me hear them--tells me one thing and lets me hear him tell another thing to someone on the phone a minute later. We then discuss this sometimes. I'm making an effort to help my father and a few others understand what he's going through--so that they will not judge too harshly.

He wants to file, but told me he doesn't want me to sign. Why? The crush may require that he file before she dates him. [At some point, she may or may not have told him this. He was afraid she would not have sex with him if he did not file, his fear was only a fear, but I think she planted it. He was raised with a lot of Catholic guilt and she understood that and used it.] He can then tell her he's filed, but the process will be long because I won't sign. When we talked the other day, after I read the MLC chapter in Divorcebusting, he expressed belief that we could make it. In the next breath he said that he didn't want a counselor to know that--he would say that it's hopeless and he didn't want it saved. He told me this like it's our little secret.

He's placing no blame on me and our relationship has in many ways been better than ever. We're talking more and the sex is like it's never been. So many stories show couples not talking and tension. It's not like that. I'm scared and confused. Why are we getting along so well through this? I lost 5 lbs in the last five days. I don't know what to feel. And I'm VERY tired of being called naïve for having hope.

Please help and reassure me.

The divorce pressure always originated from the alienator who resorted to desperate actions--faked a pregnancy, threatened indirect suicide, trespassing in our yard where the police found her--when he left or threatened to leave her. He originally moved into an apartment and moved in with the alienator once the relationship became physical; from that time on he always moved to her house when he left home.

On most occasions Chuck taunted me with his infidelity to get me to kick him out; on these occasions I refused to be the bad guy. It was clear he would eventually leave, but he needed to make the choice. He was home for an entire year in the midst of his crisis, when I discovered he was still seeing the alienator secretly, I kicked him out. I initiated his leaving on this occasion because he was cake-eating by keeping his affair secret and trying to play the part of a recovering MLCer.

Chuck initiated his returns, but I often would not allow him to return until he left the OW's house and met conditions. In my situation Chuck was the beg-and-pleader. It was in this area that I caved too early and often. Money was tight and we had no funds for him to have an apartment--his first apartment had been a friend's condominium and was no longer available, we had also changed jobs and our income had decreased significantly since Bomb Drop. When he first returned I told him he could not come home and we arranged for him to stay with a friend in our neighborhood. He soon threatened to return to the alienator unless I let him move home. I caved and he left for the alienator's within a couple of days anyway.

In the first year he went into a three month cycle where he was home and away for three month increments. In order to break the pattern I refused to allow him home until it felt right. After six months he moved home--that was when he was home for a year. After I kicked him out, I again let him move home too soon. Big mistake. Chuck rarely entered Monster, but that mistake sent him into the Monster I'd dealt with a few years earlier right after Bomb Drop. He told me how he was going to take everything from me in a divorce, he called the alienator from our home phone while I worked because he knew it would bother me since I had access to the call logs--he admitted this later.

During Monster or cycling behavior such as this it became obvious when he was preparing to leave, so I told him that if he left again he would not be allowed to return to our marriage for a full year, and that he could not return directly from the alienator's house. We had broken his three month cycle and upon leaving he immediately (on one occasion he told me that he wanted home within three days, and he said it was within three hours on another occasion) left Monster and wanted to come home, but he also refused to move anywhere other than home--the march of his refrain. Eventually he agreed to move in to the spare room of the same friend who offered him a place in the beginning of the crisis; but he told the friend it would only be for a few weeks. It was at this time that our blessing arrived. My grandmother was living with my mother, but she needed more care than my mother could offer alone. I'd just been laid off and was available. I moved in with them, 100 miles from Chuck and home. This meant Chuck could move into our house. We had 8 months left before the one year was up and I told my mother and grandma that I could stay no longer than that. During that time I returned home for a couple of days every few weeks during which we worked on rebuilding gradually. I returned home in August of 2009. Chuck spent most of his crisis living at home or in contact with me--attempting contact during No Contacts. I was used to having him around; the transition toward living together will be more dramatic for those of you whose spouses have been more distant during the crisis and is often dramatic even for those of you with spouses who are Clinging Boomerangs.

Do you feel like a deer about two seconds after seeing the headlights?

You know you’ve gotta stop crying, panicking or asking your spouse ANYTHING. And you know you should let-go and give space so that you can learn to respond and communicate with your spouse from a place of calm rather than emotional hurt.

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