How to deal with wife's midlife crisis?
October 20, 2011 2:04 PM Subscribe
As a husband, how do I deal with my wife's midlife crisis?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I was very moved by a recent answer to an AMF question asking, "how do you find what you love doing?" That answer is here:
The answer succinctly encapsulates what I am feeling in my struggle in my relationship with my wife. We married at 31 (me) and 35 (she) and we are now respectively 44 and 48 years-old. We've had some difficulties and we've actually had some very productive couples therapy (no abuse or infidelity). Nevertheless, every couple of weeks/months something new always crops up. Examples:
1. After spending years telling me how wonderful I am considering the crappy childhood I had, her new assessment is that on the day after we married I "completely changed for the worse"
2. After explicitly discussing that she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom before we had babies (I was totally for it), that decision has now suddenly become a plot all along to not allow her to work.
3. Because of #2, we left a big expensive city (SF), to settle in the low(er) cost desert Southwest, because we knew we'd be on one income for a long while. Suddenly, she never wanted to move here and she hates it now and wants to move.
4. She suddenly wants to curtail a large amount of the extra curricular activities of our children (sports primarily), and considers it rude that so much of it falls on weekends. She feels like she wasting her life driving them around and attending their stuff and can't pursue any of her passions (Truth be told, I do the majority of this driving)
There unfortunately are many more....
Moving is an impossibility due to financial considerations. We talked about this, and she gets it, but it weighs very heavily on our marriage. To sum up, she said, "I'm going to be 50 soon and my mother told me not to make the same mistake she did." That mistake is move to a place of her choosing and spending the next 40 years of her life complaining why she hates where she lives. This is why the answer to the above referenced post is so meaningful to me. "loving what you find" is a so much better recipe for a happy life than "finding what you love". Something tells me, though, that just simply giving her the link to review that thread would not help matters because frankly, I don't get entirely where my wife is coming from.
How do I deal with the feelings she is having, as a husband? Women, what would you want to hear from me in her shoes? Women, if you've gone through this before, what helped? and maybe just as important, what should be avoided? I want to be supportive, empathetic, and encouraging. Please help.
tl;dr Wife in midlife crisis; husband wants to help and needs female perspective