MIDDLE AGE – ‘THE MALE PREDICAMENT’

Although obsessed with his new partner, he may feel guilty particularly if he retains affection for his wife, as he sees the damage the new relationship is causing. Even so, the obsession may be so strong that he is prepared to sacrifice everything – the years of marriage, his wife’s needs, his position, and his possessions, to be with his new love. It may work out well; but for many, the passion passes, the fantasy fades, and reality returns in a year or two, when it may be too late to repair the broken bridges. It is of little help for the man to be told that he is making a fool of himself – he may be, but he will not recognize it, and in his emotional instability, the charge diminishes his self-esteem even more. It may also be unhelpful if his wife reacts fiercely, as Doris Odium writes in The Male Predicament

A great deal will depend on the attitude that the wife adopts to the situation. The man is completely unreasonable and in many cases prepared to sacrifice his wife, his job and all his future security. If she is in an unstable state herself and going through the menopause, or if the marriage has previously been unsatisfactory, she is likely to react with hysterical outbursts, nagging and jealousy. She may discuss her husband with her friends or even inform his employer. In some cases she demands a separation or starts proceedings for a divorce. On the other hand if she is stable and mature she may treat the situation with understanding or forbearance and if his infatuation diminishes and he begins to see reason the marriage may even be strengthened and their mutual affection and understanding increased.

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