Dear John, I have been with my husband for 17 years. We met when I was 25 and he was 30.
He has been struggling recently with aging and his life not necessarily being what he thought it would be. I suppose it’s a bit of a mid-life crisis. We have built a great life together, but he quit his job without any warning and has been drinking heavily. He has changed so much and seems to be spiraling. He recently tried to take his life and has been hospitalized. I’m at a loss of what to do. I made vows that I intend to keep, but I’m really struggling with this new reality. It feels like our whole life just imploded.
-Kevin, St. Pete
Sometimes life feels like swaying in a summer breeze on a clothes line, and sometimes it feels like you’re in a dryer with a tennis ball, but the cycle does eventually come to an end, so hang in there. Aging is challenging, and many people struggle as they come to terms with being in a new phase of their lives. Mental health is sometimes like shooting a basketball in a dark gymnasium, but the important thing is that he is in the hands of professionals who can help him. You don’t need to fix him; you need to catch him. A marriage is about being a tether for the other person. When life spins you out of control like a rogue kite, your partner safely pulls you back to the ground, and that’s your job right now. Be the stable grounding space in his life to allow him the space he needs to get back down to earth. The dust will settle, and so will he, and when that time comes, you can both share what the next chapter looks like and move forward from there.
How do you trust, if you can’t trust yourself?
Trust is a choice. It’s a choice you make every day. In relationships, it’s about choosing each day to see the best in your partner. To decide not to self-sabotage a situation by being paranoid or creating things that don’t exist in reality. If you can’t trust yourself, then it may be that you’re worried that the world may do to you what you’ve done to others, but you can build trust in yourself and others by living by example. You build trust with others by being honest and upfront. You can build trust in yourself by holding yourself accountable. Therapy is a great space to work on these issues, and there is no shame in it. If you spend some time working on yourself, the fear and lack of trust in others will diminish.
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John Porter is an entrepreneur and founding partner at Oasis Asset Management. He has served as a political organizer and strategist within the Democratic Party, as well as serving as an executive board member for the Miami Yacht Club.
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.