If you're fed up with life, questioning whether you should stay married or thinking you might be better off with someone else, marital therapist Andrew G. Marshall has a radical idea to help you move from the first half to the second of your life without messing everything up: it's not a midlife crisis, it's an opportunity. He explains in part one:
If it's your partner who has turned grumpy, critical and blames you for everything, you will be feeling alone and full of despair. Don't worry, in part two of this compassionate book, Andrew G. Marshall explains:
Together you will learn three new skills that will either change your marriage into the connected, fulfilling and loving relationship of which you've always dreamed or help you separate amicably and be great coparents together.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Is your relationship in crisis or rapidly heading that way? Does it feel like you and your partner have stopped listening to each other and you're either walking on eggshells or exploding with anger? Have you reached the point that you see things so differently you wonder whether it's even worth trying to explain your feelings?
If that doesn't sound bad enough, there's something about being forty- or fifty-something that makes the situation even worse. First of all, the stakes are higher at this stage in your life than at any other. You may have young or adolescent children and you don't want them caught in the crossfireso you bite your lip and soldier on. Second, your parents are getting old and statistically either you or your partner is likely to have lost one of them. You might even be actively caring for a parent. This is a stark reminder that you are not immortal and, therefore, time is running out. Third, our society is terrified of aging and goes to great lengths to deny it's happening. For example, I appeared on a radio phone-in recently where the host proclaimed that fifty was the new thirty.
So not only is there no road map ahead for the forty- or fifty-somethings among us, but the few signposts that exist are controversial and likely to get you and your partner at each other's throats. I am talking, of course, about the so-called midlife crisisthe logical explanation if your partner has turned into a stranger (and a highly critical one at that), but if you're the one who is questioning your life (and feeling dissatisfied) the term midlife crisis will probably put your back up or make you feel blamed. Whichever side of the debate you stand, I have a radical idea: it's not a midlife crisis, it's an opportunity (by which I mean a chance to learn, grow, and transform your life for the better).
I am writing this book from personal and professional experience. I'm fifty-seven and the past twenty years have been, by a long distance, the toughest. However, despite coping with my mother's dementia, my father's frailty, and yesterday catching sight of what at first appeared to be an old man's body in the changing-room mirror of a clothes store, I can honestly say that I have never felt more content, fulfilled, or excited about the future.
Over the course of this book, I will be drawing on my mistakesembarrassingly manymy setbacks and my heartaches, because I think it is important that you know I've trodden the same path as you rather than having magically arrived at a good place. I will also be drawing on thirty years of experience as a marital therapist helping couples where one partner (and sometimes both) have gone off the rails in their forties or fiftiesand done immense damage to themselves and their partner (and often their children too). Fortunately, I have accumulated countless success stories from people who started off in the abyss but returned with a more connected, more satisfying, and more loving relationship. (I have changed names, some of the details and occasionally merged couples to protect identities.)
In each chapter, I will cover a different aspect of being middle-agedlike career issues, depression, affairs, and agingto explain what is really going on; share relevant scientific research and current psychological and philosophical ideas on the topic; introduce exercises to help you cope better; and teach you new skills to move forward.
The book is divided into three sections. The first is written for people questioning their life, their relationship, and everything. The second is for their partners who are coping with the fallout. Whichever side you're on, please read both parts as this will help you understand your partner better and that's an important ingredient for breaking the deadlock. In part three, there is advice about negotiating a way through any differences between you and your partner. I will also introduce three key concepts which will either change your marriage into the connected, fulfilling, and loving relationship of which you've always dreamed or allow you to separate amicably and be great co-parents together.
If you have read my other books the first two concepts will be familiar, but the third I can only teach at this point in your life. Without the necessary life experience, the concept simply goes over people's heads or they go 'Yes, but …' Fortunately, if you have reached forty- or fifty-something, you're ready to be initiated. So please read on …
Andrew G. Marshall
©2017 Andrew G. Marshall. All rights reserved. Reprinted from It's NOT a Midlife Crisis It's an Opportunity: How to be Forty-or Fifty-Something without Going Off the Rails. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
Table of Contents
Part 1 How to flourish at forty- or fifty-something and beyond
Chapter 1 The big choice 7
Chapter 2 How did I get here? 29
Chapter 3 Dealing with depression 59
Chapter 4 Affairs, the great other and the danger of shortcuts 95
Chapter 5 Turning your life around 127
Part 2 My partner is having a midlife crisis
Chapter 6 How to stay sane in an insane situation 173
Chapter 7 Dealing with depression and affairs 199
Chapter 8 A new approach 219
Part 3 Breaking the deadlock
Chapter 9 Coming together 247
Further reading 254
About the author 264