Dear Annie

I have been married for 15 years and I have been completely happy and secure in my marriage with my partner. However, a couple months ago my husband accused me of having an affair with our neighbour!

For a whole month before that he was making these deductions in his own head without asking or confronting me about this. He chose to confront the neighbour and I at the same time, while having a braai together, at our house!

Now, aside from the embarrassment (because it was absolutely not true) I feel like I don’t know my husband anymore.

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I was so secure and confident in our relationship and marriage that I knew we were in it for the long run. Now, because this issue was sitting on his mind for a whole month before it blew up in my face, it makes me wonder how he could still have had sexual relations with me while thinking this all the time?

How could he think of me doing that to him, after I had reassured him time after time that he was my soul mate, that I love only him and that I would love him forever?

How could he think of me doing that to him, after I had reassured him time after time that he was my soul mate, that I love only him and that I would love him forever?

I am so shaken by this whole incident that I am now afraid to invite friends home, especially guy friends, acquaintances, etc. I own my own business, so I get invited to many networking functions, meetings, etc. and now I always feel I have to justify all the functions I attend and I am expected to relay minute by minute details of the event I attend.

I now feel nervous, unsure of my relationship with my husband, smothered and out of my depth, because I’ve been thrown a curveball that’s taken the wind out my sails.

Any advice on how to move forward?

Liz

Dear Liz

Thank you for your letter. Having been married for 15 years, I am guessing that both you and your husband are around the 40-year-old mark. It is common to experience a midlife crisis around this age.

The psychiatrist, Carl Jung coined this phrase, even before men traded in their station wagons and lumpy wives for the flashy red sports car and younger, pre-wrinkle trophy wives.

Jung said that most people came through the process smoothly, without necessarily making major life changes. Interesting theory coming from a man who was a renowned womaniser!

It is true that a midlife crisis looks very different for men and women

Stereotypically, a man re-evaluates his success and achievements, while a woman, who tends to get more validation through relationships, tends to re-evaluate her role as a wife and mother.

Assuming that your husband is not the one contemplating an affair, and that he has not been inhaling lead fumes on a regular basis, a midlife crisis could be a possible explanation for your husbandâ??s sudden, if not somewhat paranoid, insecurity.

Low self-esteem and stress could also make one more susceptible to being paranoid.

You seem to have been happy and secure in your relationship for 15 years

It is worth remembering that, statistically, you have passed the seven-year itch twice over and so have clearly successfully weathered storms together before. Could you go for counselling together to safely unpack what has caused his suspicions? You will also have the opportunity to express how betrayed and hurt you feel, without possibly choking on your burnt chops.

Rather than signalling the end of your relationship, with supportive counselling and a safe place for vulnerability and honesty, both you and your husband have the opportunity to grow stronger in your understanding of each other and your relationship.

You are beautiful!

Love and blessings
Annie