DEAR ABBY: I am writing this in the hope that you may be able to help me. My husband of 20 years, "Rocky," has moved out of our home and into the apartment of his first love from 25 years ago. Because of some research I did on the Internet, as well as some conversations I had with a doctor, I think it's possible that he is going through a mid-life crisis.
Rocky is 43. I don't like the life he led all those years ago, and I'm afraid he is headed back in the same direction. He has changed, but she has not.
Rocky refuses to talk to me and hasn't spoken to the kids since he left. He says he is scared of what they will say to him and of how they must feel toward him. I am so hurt. I love my husband so much and miss him with all my heart. Do men who go through changes like this usually return to the families they left behind? Please help me. -- ROCKY'S WIFE IN MARYLAND
DEAR WIFE: Some straying husbands recognize that they have made a mistake, return to their families and make their marriages work. Others do not. Only time will tell into which category your husband will fall.
In the meantime, do nothing rash. Wait him out. Have the kids write to their father once a week, telling him how much they love him, miss him and need him. You should do the same, and enlist the help of your in-laws to see that the messages get through. While you're at it, assure him that you're willing to work on whatever issues drove a wedge between you in the first place.
I can't guarantee that this kind of campaign will work, but it's certainly worth a try. And in order to retain your sanity, stay active, in close touch with friends and family, and cultivate support systems of your own. And please know that I'm rooting for you.