Longing for a New Life

Q: I have been married to my husband for a long time. He is a wonderful father and a good provider but I don't love him. We married very young and I raised my beautiful children. But now I want out and to be free. As old as I am, I don't feel my age. What holds me back is my children, as it would really hurt them. Is it wrong to want to have my turn at life? -- Linda, 58

Dr. Susan: What you want is a turn at a new and different sort of life, free of spending time with your very familiar husband. If all that's holding you back is the thought of hurting your grown children, I would have a serious talk with them and let them know what's going on in your life. They may be able to understand that you're miserable and see no alternative route to happiness. But aside from that, are you sure you have to leave everything behind to begin a new life? We all go through at least one, often more than one, midlife crisis. What often happens is we can't see how to change our lives without ditching those who know us all too well. Starting over is one option, though I have to warn you that it doesn't work out as gloriously as people expect. If you think a new mate is going to fulfill your unmet needs, you could be deluding yourself. In fact, those couples who have transcended such crises together can be happier than ever before. Before taking any irrevocable steps (and I'm not saying you shouldn't), use all your powers of creativity and persuasion to see if you can't get your current mate to join you in remaking your lives together. Perhaps a new location, new job, new activities, more separate time, reaching out for new friends? Do let him know what you're considering. It's only fair.

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