Middle age is a seriously dangerous time for marriages. Men and women are shocked to hear their spouse say “I love you but I’m not in love with you” as they head out the door. Some spouses leave home alone. Others have someone waiting for them.

> Bill had been married for 19 years when his wife broke the news she would be staying married only until their sons were grown and gone. Counselors told him to focus on his needs and those of his sons and wait.

> Don, too, was married 19 years when his wife announced she was leaving home. She said she needed time alone from him and their daughter. When he found out she was having an affair, he filed for divorce.

> After 20 years of living a fairly carefree life, Molly’s husband decided he wanted to develop stronger ties with his family. Molly, who calls herself a “gypsy,” isn’t ready to settle down nor does she think she ever would be. Their marriage is at stake.

> Tami is a stay-at-home mom of three small children. After 19 years of marriage, her husband moved into his own apartment but still attends family functions. So far, counseling isn’t helping to strengthen their marriage.

> After Theresa’s husband moved to another state over a year ago, she returned to college and got her degree. Neither of them have filed for divorce yet but she’d rather divorce than return to the marriage as it was.

> Linda and her husband had been married for 23 years when he began an affair with a coworker. Even though the affair ended more than a year ago, she’s not sure she can cope with the pain of betrayal. Their three teen children are the reason she hasn’t filed for divorce.

> Peter’s wife of 15 years has “feelings” for another man and, if it wasn’t for their three kids, she would have left home years ago. Meanwhile, she says she needs “her space.” He doesn’t know what to do except wait.

> Robert’s 36-year old wife says she needs more freedom than she has in their 11-year marriage. Their counselor says to give her space and be supportive. He’s worried their marriage is going to end.

> Pauline’s husband of 15 years left home to live with his mistress. He says he doesn’t want a divorce and Pauline is holding out hope that he’ll come home.

> Linda is 50, her kids are grown, and her husband is boring. She’s grieving the recent end of an affair with a younger man. She’s seeing a therapist but says therapy isn’t helping.

© Pat Gaudette. All rights reserved.