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$2,360 pledged of $20,000 goal
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By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf
$2,360 pledged of $20,000 goal
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About

The Hero's Spouse is a guide and support through the trauma of a spouse's midlife crisis (MLC) with infidelity and abandonment. The end goal of my personal mission is to prevent divorce and facilitate rebuilding a greater marriage and to enable not only surviving, but thriving whether a marriage ends with divorce or not. Though there are no guarantees, a marriage may not be doomed when one partner wants out.  Many people, including counseling professionals, do not believe this.

My Story

In 2005 I got what is called the Bomb Drop when my husband told me he wanted out of our marriage--he avoided the word divorce and told me that he had changed his mind about having children. Within a few weeks, I learned he was having an emotional affair with a coworker and he was planning for it to become physical once he moved out.

Before he moved out I had what I call an intuitive Knowing that our marriage would (eventually) make it through this crisis. This was a unique turning point for me and gave me confidence in my Stand and I was able to detach and focus on myself more quickly than is typical.

He moved out about 6 weeks after Bomb Drop and 4 weeks later his relationship with the other woman (alienator) became physical and he moved in with her. He became a multiple returner, moving home and leaving again 8 times in total—though a few of those were only a few days, most were a few months in duration. Most MLCers leave and stay away for long periods—though they may return briefly within the first days or weeks after Bomb Drop. He filed for divorce during his first leave and we stopped it soon after; he never filed again. After that, he used divorce as a threat to get what he wanted and I quickly learned it was empty and called his bluff—often he immediately called off the bluff and admitted he hadn’t meant it.

In October 2008 he left the alienator for the final time, but I had told him if he left home again he would not be allowed to return to our marriage for a full year, and that he could not return directly from the alienator's house. We couldn’t afford two residences and he refused to stay with friends or family, so when he left the alienator, I moved in with my mother 100 miles away to help care for my grandma and he moved into our home. I returned home for a couple of days every few weeks during which we worked on rebuilding gradually. I returned home to stay in August of 2009.

What is a Midlife Crisis?

A normal life event—midlife transition—that has escalated to crisis levels of emotional and mental turmoil. Denial and attempts to avoid the transition yield crisis which manifests through avoidance, regression and depression and in the context of a marriage often includes infidelity and separation. MLCers react overtly with outward destruction; whether intentional or not, an MLCer hurts other people in significant ways.

Key Components of a Midlife Crisis

  • Depression—covert & overt
  • Avoidance of Self-Reflection
  • The urge to escape & abandon
  • Infidelity
  • Blaming or projecting (denial of responsibility)
  • Cycling mood, personality and life decisions  

The Book

The Hero's Spouse is a guide and support for staying married amidst the trauma of midlife crisis with infidelity and abandonment. It is divided into three sections.

  • Midlife Crisis (MLC)
    It defines and explains the psychology of midlife crisis and infidelity. This understanding provides the foundation for acceptance and self-healing as well as for generating the strength to deal directly with an MLCer.  
  • Paving the Way & Mirror-Work (Relationship with Self)
    Concepts such as forgiveness and agapé (unconditional love) are important in Standing. I define the terms and guide readers through the process toward these states. Without blaming, this section leads the reader to look in the mirror and re-discover themselves—many no longer know who they are after many years of identifying themselves as someone's spouse or parent.
  • Standing Actions (Relationship with Spouse)
    This is a training guide for interacting with a spouse in midlife crisis. It applies the information of Section I and self-focus and growth achieved through Section II toward interacting with a spouse in midlife crisis.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1 Standing Isn’t Still

Part I Midlife Crisis

Chapter 2 Midlife Crisis: Beautiful Crazy Agony

Chapter 3 Separation

Chapter 4 Liminality

Chapter 5 Rebirth & Integration

Chapter 6 Turmoil & Chaos: The Clash of the Conscious and Subconscious

Chapter 7 Understanding Love & Infidelity

Chapter 8 Affairs and Midlife Crisis Personality Dynamics

Part II Paving the Way & Mirror-Work

Chapter 9 The Unconditionals – Grace, Agapé & Forgiveness

Chapter 10 The Assurances: Hope & Trust

Chapter 11 The Releasers

Chapter 12 Who Are You?

Chapter 13 Choose Joy

Chapter 14 Redirecting and Reprogramming Thoughts and Beliefs

Part III Standing Strategies

Chapter 15 Balancing Love

Chapter 16 Progress

Chapter 17 Contact & Communication

Chapter 18 Cake-Eating

Chapter 19 Planting Seeds to Build Trust

Chapter 20 Betrayed: Dealing with Infidelity

Chapter 21 Coming and Going

The Hero's Spouse Web-Family

I started The Hero's Spouse website in 2008 when I began writing the book and it is a rough draft of the book; you may read the rough draft as articles in series there. I also have a blog, LoveAnyway, where I post more recent articles and a community forum of several thousand where Left Behind Spouses (LBSs) find friends and peer support.

Testimonials

Kenda-Ruth Stumpf throws a life-line to Left Behind Spouses (LBSs) swimming in the potentially drowning seas of MLC! She unravels some of the complexities of the Mid Life Crisis Journey, whilst simultaneously offering the LBS her own personal wisdom and encouragement that the LBS could find herself out swimming her MLCer to Victory, and thus removing her LBS label!
Kenda-Ruth's brilliant articles carry such strength; there isn't anything quite like her revolutionary information anywhere on the net.
- Gigi

I have been trying to understand my wife's separating from me - the contradictions, the emotional rollercoaster. The midlife crisis (MLC) insights you have written about have truly been on target with understanding my wife and the mistakes I have made in my attempts to get her to see the light. I wish I read your blog a year ago. My past attempts only resulted in my wife feeling judged and caused more resentment. If you are new to dealing with an MLC spouse you should trust that your strength and letting-go—as difficult as it is—is crucial if you want your spouse back.
- Matt

This online resource by Kenda-Ruth Stumpf is the most informative, comprehensive, understandable and helpful array of insightful articles I could hope to find on MLC. Each individual experience of the MLCer is unique to another, yet the common denominators of thinking, feelings and resulting actions seem to merge. The traits of dysfunction displayed by the MLCer during the depressive spiral are characteristics no LBS is prepared to navigate without insight and awareness of the origin of internal strife. ...The advice, recommendations, assistance and sound practical wisdom presented in all areas are priceless!
- LoveIsPatient

I would like to thank you for your excellent site. I spent many lonely days and nights feeling hopeless and your coaching and your site gave me comfort and insight and I felt I had a friend out there who understood me and just got it when it came to how he was behaving and how I was feeling. It's been 15 months since he left but he is still coming and going from our home and I regularly return to your site and reread all your articles. I am much stronger emotionally and I now understand what it means when you talk about detachment and getting a life. It happens slowly with time.
- FiftySomething

Why is this Important and Why By Me?

Midlife Crisis and Infidelity are not new topics. But when I was a Left Behind Spouse (LBS) I found there was a lack of information combining infidelity, midlife crisis and realizing the desire to stay married (what I call Standing). LBSs want hope and they want to hear about marital success stories. There are a few personal memoirs written by reconciled couples or one of the partners, but most focus on religion and are not written by professional writers.

I have heard so many people say that they have learned so much that they could or should write a book, but writing a book takes more than going through the experience or being a trained professional; writing is a talent and skill that I have honed. I earn the trust of my readers because I am one of them, and because my MFA in creative writing provides me with the writing skills of a professional voice supported by research on midlife crisis and infidelity.  

Where is the Money Going?

I am not raising funds to write the book; it is completed and I am raising funds to finance the publishing process--which includes editorial stages, design and marketing.

I take book creation very seriously and do not want to skimp on quality in order to have a book with my name on it. I believe in creating a professional product.

I am contracting with a full-service professional publisher; the breakdown for their service is listed below.

 

The total to complete the project is more than the funding goal and includes Kickstarter fees, taxes, shipping fees, fulfillment fees... I have budgeted to cover the additional costs if I do not raise the funds to cover them, but would prefer to raise beyond my funding goal to cover more of the project costs. Rough estimates for the project total are $30,000 - $35, 000 with shipping, payment processing and Kickstarter fees.

 

Risks and challenges

I am a mom/foster mom of five who are five and under. My challenge is creating, stealing and begging for the time to do my work.
Fortunately, I have completed the manuscript and will simply need to budget time to make editorial revisions as my editors see fit.

My husband and I are going through the process to adopt our 17-month old foster daughter and hoping to follow up her adoption with a later adoption of her 5-month old brother. This involves a fair amount of paperwork and includes a lot of caseworker meetings.

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- (30 days)