My husband is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts...he's been acting very differently and seems more restless and uncomfortable than usual. He's been going out drinking a couple nights a week with his co-workers, buying expensive electronic equipment, and he even got a new hairstyle...just to give you a few examples.
I don't know if anyone else goes though this with their HIV+ partner, but my husband has a difficult time realizing when he is uncomfortable. For example, sometimes he doesn't realize that he's hungry. Or he'll be sitting in an odd position and doesn't realize its painful to him to sit that way. I've always been more in tune with his body and emotions than he has been with himself. Its like he doesn't want to acknowledge anything about his physical body, if it requires some sort of attention.
It was always puzzling to me. I finally came up with a theory. He doesn't want to acknowledge his physical needs, because it would mean acknowledging that he has HIV. He just doesn't want to confront his condition.
So I asked him if my theory was correct and he told me that I might be on to something. End of conversation.
A couple days later, he told me that he was thinking about his recent actions and realized that he is going through a variation of a mid-life crisis. He turned 39 in March, and with 40 looming on the horizon, he realized that he had never made plans to live this long.
He has to re-orient himself with new possibilities. He has questions..."How much longer do I have"...."Will I make it to 50"...."How long until I get sick"...."What are my hopes and dreams for this future"...."Should I even have hopes and dreams for this future"....
And there is a part of him that is bitter. Bitter because he thought he would be dead by now, and if he had known (or accepted) that he'd still be alive, he would have made different choices along the way. He would have invested longer in going to school. He would have pursued a different career path. He would have tried to have children sooner. He would have saved more money. He would have taken better care of himself. And on and on.
I want to be as supportive as possible because I can't even imagine how difficult this has to be for him. He is having to face the emotional realities of his condition, and decide how to confront the uncertain future, and make peace with his past.
Yes, he has new possibilities....but also new regrets.