Though MLC is a clear state of dis-ease, it is not a disease. Though MLC is not a state of true mental illness, I find that it is often helpful for the Left-Behind-Spouse (LBS) to view the behavior in this manner. It is a coping mechanism; a metaphor that can help us to understand. The balance is in not using it as an excuse as true insanity may be used.
You are to blame. You were controlling and manipulative, weak, too fat, too skinny, withheld affection, too much public displays of affection, worked too much, didn't work enough, used sex as a negotiating tool, forgot to floss on the second Tuesday after your wedding...
Though no one is perfect, in the beginning you will search your own behavior for what went wrong. Since the MLCer often offers a long list of your transgressions, it is not a difficult search. In the beginning, many LBS's accept this blame, using it as the excuse for the bad marriage. For many experiencing this crisis in their marriage, there was no bad marriage. Though nothing is perfect, many problems were not significant enough to warrant danger. The problem is the Midlife Crisis. Some of the MLCer complaints are valid. Listen, validate and affirm, and then filter what feels valid to you. This crisis is not your fault; it would have happened regardless of your behavior.
In Brief, MLC is about unresolved issues from childhood or adolescence. The MLCer must now resolve these issues and reintegrate the fragmented portions of the Self. Since these are issues of a younger person, they need to be resolved by that younger Self--thus the MLCer will regress in age.
Maybe you were too controlling, complained all the time, addicted to sex, porn, alcohol etc. Look within yourself and change for yourself. But please understand that no matter how great or small your flaws and transgressions, they are not the cause of someone else's Midlife Crisis.
If MLC is about unresolved issues from childhood or adolescence, who better than someone from the past to be a part of the process. Often the Old Flame is also going through an MLC. Not all alienators are Old Flames, but it is not uncommon. It is not a special case that decreases reconciliation odds or increases odds for a successful relationship from the affair. The Old Flame is a convenient resource that facilitates a return to youth--just as younger alienators may also do.
MLCers affair down. This does not mean that the alienator is better or worse than you. They may be in MLC--and thus your MLC spouse is also an alienator and their alienator is also affairing down. Yet you know there is a real person inside the crisis. Consider that the same is true for the alienator.
"What can I do to prevent...?"
"...all else has failed."
This is a common question from a Beginner. It is often asked by an LBS who has not yet read MLC books and resources or had other feedback, or by an LBS who has not accepted or believed the books, resources, stories and feedback. Just as with MLC, Acceptance of the processes of MLC takes TIME.
There is no failure; there is also no prevention. There is impatience and the inability to accept the process of MLC. Regardless of what is healthiest, of what is best, of what you or anyone wants--MLCer included--a Midlife Crisis cannot be prevented. It can be prolonged by an unaccepting LBS. Acceptance can ease it. But once it has begun, the crisis must continue to completion; it is a journey to go through, not get over.
Not all MLCers have affairs, but most do. Not all MLCers leave (or coerce the LBS into leaving), but most do. Not all file for divorce. Do most? Some do; often the LBS initiates the process either because this is what she believes a person is supposed to do when her spouse acts and speaks this way, because she is giving in to his request--though he is not initiating, or because she's fed-up with Standing and she needs to take this step.
MLC begins with a shock, cycles--confusing the spouse with interest and disinterest. It then gets worse. It gets worse regardless of your behaviour. Please take this as additional evidence that this crisis was never about you. You cannot stop it. MLC must be gone THROUGH not skipped OVER. It is a necessary journey so that the MLCer can face his/her demons and reintegrate those lost, feared and shamed fragments of Self. It is a process of rebirth to a higher self. Unfortunately the process is painful and because of this, MLC is a CRISIS. The MLCer is unaware of the purpose and gifts of the journey, and will thus attempt to avoid reintegration. This is why...
Fighting For Your Marriage...
Is like trying to attain peace with violence.
I'm Standing for my marriage
By kneeling down to pray