Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder if my wife is having some kind of midlife crisis?” Maybe her behavior has suddenly changed and she’s acting in uncharacteristic or dramatically different ways. Or maybe this has been building up for a while, and you’re starting to get worried.
Either way, here’s a quick checklist to run through. It’s by no means definitive or exhaustive, but if you find yourself saying “yes” more than “no,” then there’s a good chance your marriage is about to get a bit rockier.
1. She’s between 30 and 55 years of age.
2. She is withdrawing from the marriage. She may also be withdrawing from the family unit, even her own children. Yet at the same time, she may be socializing more with other people.
3. She is re-writing your history. No matter how many times you to try remind her of the good times, she only remembers the bad. She may say things like, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been happy…maybe we got married for the wrong reasons,” or something along those lines.
4. She blames you for any and all problems in the marriage, and maybe even for her own unhappiness.
5. She is immersing herself in new ideas, interests and lifestyle choices, perhaps reading more self-help books or learning about new spiritual systems.
6. She’s less interested in intimacy. Despite this, she is taking steps to improve her appearance. This may mean working out more or even getting plastic surgery.
7. She is self-indulgent and self-focused. More and more, she seems to only think of herself and her own happiness. She may spend more time and more money on herself.
8. She is more critical of you. She is quick to anger and lose her patience with you and even her kids.
9. She is more secretive, particularly with her phone. She may change her passwords and delete her text history, often accusing you of being “paranoid” or “controlling” if you express concern about this. This often happens at the same time that she strikes up a very close friendship with a male friend, someone she says she has a special bond with.
10. She expresses confusion about her feelings for you or uncertainty about her commitment to the marriage. She may say things like, “I love you but I’m not in love with you,” or “I don’t know what I want…I need space to figure it out.” Again, this behavior often accompanies an increasingly intimate friendship with another man, or an outright affair.
Of course, this is just a general, oversimplified checklist of behaviors and there can be many reasons behind them. Nonetheless, if more than a few seem familiar to you, it’s probably best that you handle what’s happening with clarity, compassion and confidence.
My instant-access audio/video online program, Conquer Her Midlife Crisis // Strategies for Husbands, can help – and you can start listening (and learning) right now, from whatever device you’re on. I’ve worked with many men over my years in practice, and I designed this program to be as relevant and straightforward as it is user-friendly. These qualities are particularly important when it comes to providing relationship help to men.
Remember that midlife crisis behavior on the part of women can be sincere, but it can also be self-serving. Either way, you need to handle things properly. You need objective, assertive advice if your marriage is going to survive. Unfortunately, too many men assume “it’ll pass,” so they simply sit back and wait it out. Don’t make that mistake. Prove to your wife, and to yourself, that your marriage means more to you than that.