Dear Amy:

My husband of 20 years is in the middle of a major midlife crisis. He is unsatisfied with his job, our home and his life in general.

Things he used to enjoy have been pushed aside. He complains about everything, and has decided that he has been unhappy being married to me for the last 15 years.

He has a woman friend who suddenly has become his "right arm," and they have lunch together daily and spend hours on the phone.

He claims they are just friends, but he also told me he has fallen in love with her. She is married and supposedly has no intention of leaving her husband, but she knows how my husband feels about her and encourages their relationship.

My husband is on the fence about whether or not he should stay married, given the situation. He says he still loves me, but he's just not in love with me.

I, on the other hand, am miserable because I desperately love him and want us to work things out. He is cycling in and out of depression, and he flip-flops back and forth about staying together.

- Hurting

Dear Hurting:

You and your husband need a third party to help sort out his global dissatisfaction - and no, I'm not talking about his "lady friend," who is providing a diversion and an emotional smoke screen for him to hide behind.

He needs a therapist. His waffling isn't fair to you, and each time he changes direction, it weakens your union. He also needs to be screened for depression.

A book you might find helpful is

How to Survive Your Husband's Midlife Crisis: Strategies and Stories From the Midlife Wives Club,

by Gay Courter and Pat Gaudette (2003, Perigee).

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