While all affairs are heartbreaking, there is one type of affair that can be particularly devastating for a wife – the kind that involves her husband having an affair with a younger woman.
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As a marriage author and conflict specialist whose practice primarily focuses on affairs, I can tell you that I’ve often heard that edge of desperation in a woman’s voice: “My 45 year old husband is having an affair with a 24 year old co-worker. Help!”
Talk about adding insult to injury.
We already live in a world where a woman’s worth is often falsely and unfairly determined by two things: her attractiveness and her age; however, when it hits home in the form of a husband’s midlife crisis related affair, it’s even worse. The sense of shock and betrayal is compounded by a common fear: “How can I possibly compete with HER?”
It’s a situation that can take a heavy toll on a woman’s sense of identity and self-worth. It can also lead to a loss of power, both in the marriage and in her life in a larger sense.
Your age is NOT a disadvantage.
A wife who discovers her midlife husband’s affair with a younger woman may feel she’s at a disadvantage because of her age. That may lead her to think that only her husband has the power to decide whether or not the marriage continues. It may lead her to think that her happiness and future hinge on his choice – will he choose her or his younger girlfriend?
To make matters worse, a man who is doing this kind of thing is very good at clouding the waters with such things as blame and mixed messages. It can be hard to see what’s really happening and that confusion also contributes to a feeling of powerlessness.
Don’t be fooled – you CAN take your power back.
If this is happening to you, take heart. There are ways to take your power back. Your personal power – that is, a sense of control over your own life, marriage and future. Your future is not dependent on your husband’s, and that realization is often the first step toward a better life AND a better marriage…at any age.
If you need some help handling what is happening, be sure to visit the homepage to see what resources are there for you. I wish you all the best and thank you for reading.
• Debra Macleod, B.A., LL.B. can help you now, not weeks from now. See her Marriage SOS instant-access marriage recovery programs.