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 it’s possible your marriage is about to get a bit rockier, at least for a while.
Ten signs to watch for:
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 most (if not 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 may happen at the same time that she strikes up a close friendship with a male friend.
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.”
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 may be time to have a good heart-to-heart with your wife.
Yet if things are currently too rocky to have that kind of talk, or if you’ve tried and failed, do NOT just give up. Get help – but be selective. Let me explain, because this is important.
It know that it can be hard for men to find quality help that they can access in a way that is comfortable for them. There’s a lot of “advice” online, although as a woman in middle age myself and into her third decade of marriage, I can tell you that some of the advice geared toward a man with your concerns isn’t just vapid, it can make things worse.
If you’re willing to actually invest the time in doing it right, I urge you to spend a few minutes looking into my Marriage SOS™ online crash course New You, Renewed Marriage // Improving Interactions & Intimacy. I’ve heard from many men in your situation who found its content was able to help them make a real change in their marriage and reconnect with their wife in a loving, affectionate and lasting way. It’s easy and private to use, too, since you can simply listen on your phone or other device.
And if there is a larger problem in your marriage, like an affair or brewing opposite-sex friendship, you may wish to review my other online crash courses as well. Good luck to you, and thanks for reading.
Debra Macleod, BA, JD, is the founder of MARRIAGE SOS™, a proven and no-nonsense way to save a sinking marriage. She has served as an expert resource for major media around the world, from The New York Times and Entrepreneur to ELLE and Men’s Health.
Visit her homepage to see all Marriage SOS™ Online Crash Courses or book a phone consult.