Is your mid-life crisis ruining your marriage?
Are you having a mid-life crisis? However clichéd it sounds, it’s an experience that many people go through. Not only can this sharp reassessment of your life’s goals and priorities have a profound influence on the course of your own life, it will affect your relationship with others too. And if you’re married or in a long-term relationship, reviewing your commitment to your other half may be part and parcel of this often painful process.
How does a mid-life crisis manifest?
A ‘classic’ mid-life crisis can be triggered by all sorts of things, and it doesn’t necessarily have to occur when you reach the middle of your life. It could be an anniversary of a significant life event, getting to a certain point in your career, experiencing the loss of a family member or friend, or living through the COVID-9 pandemic.
What all these experiences have in common is that they bring a sudden realisation of your age along with a growing sense of anxiety about the amount of time you have left to live. Faced with a greater awareness of your own mortality, you may be questioning whether you are content with the life you are living, and whether the decisions you’ve made to get to this point have been the right ones. Perhaps you are wondering whether life is passing you by without the chance of doing all the things you still want to do before it is too late.
At KlearMinds, our professional team of psychotherapists, counsellors and life coaches are highly experienced in dealing with mid-life crises. We see many clients who are struggling to figure out the path ahead, and can provide the right therapeutic environment to help you see the bigger picture and decide on what the next steps should be. If you feel that it would help to speak to a trained therapist, please don’t hesitate to book an online video or telephone appointment to find out how we can help you.
What effect does your mid-life crisis have on your marriage?
You may have started to question the nature of your relationship and whether you are as happy as you could be. Maybe you and your partner have developed entrenched patterns of behaviour over the years and you are now wondering if ‘this is it’, or whether there could be more? Many separations and divorces are the result of a mid-life crisis being experienced by of one of the partners, though splitting up doesn’t have to be the outcome.
What’s more, being faced with a sense of getting (and looking) older can also take its toll on the relationship. We’ve all heard of the old cliché of a middle-aged person seeking out a much younger partner in older to feel young again themselves, suddenly dressing more youthfully or adopting new hobbies to help recapture a lost youth.
If there are children present in the relationship, reaching mid-life can throw into sharp relief the contrast between your current life and their teenage experiences, and you may wonder where the time has gone. Many mid-life crises happen around the time when grown-up children move out, leaving the parent to readjust to the empty nest. Can you remember how to be a couple again without the now long-established roles as Mum and Dad getting in the way? Is there still a spark?
Can you get through a mid-life crisis and stay together?
The good news is that not all couples split up when one partner has a mid-life crisis. If you can take the obvious challenges and turn them into opportunities to grow and adapt together, you can in fact become stronger as a couple. At KlearMinds, we offer counselling for relationship and marriage problems to help you understand why things are not working and what you can do to make them better.
Staying connected and communicating together as a couple is key. It may be natural to consider things in terms of what they mean for you personally, but try to reframe them in terms of your relationship. Be honest with your partner about what you are finding difficult, even if these thoughts are uncomfortable for your other half to hear. Conversations that require you to be truly vulnerable with each other, really hearing what the other person has to say, are often the biggest relationship test. You may not be able to find immediate solutions but by communicating as a couple, you are demonstrating your commitment to each other to try and find a way forward together.
Another key requirement for the relationship to move forward is for both partners to be open to change and willing to adapt. Life happens and people change – successful marriages manage to take this in their stride, staying in touch with each other and staying on the same team while facing whatever experiences life throws at you together.
Finally, don’t forget the element of fun. One of the feelings experienced during a mid-life crisis is that the fun has gone out of life. Just as important as having meaningful conversations with your spouse is to take time out and have fun together. You may find that it makes a bigger difference than you think.
At KlearMinds, our experienced relationship counsellors can help you identify what is causing problems in the relationship and show you simple steps to take to improve your marriage. We use a powerful combination of relationship counselling and coaching, advice and active strategies you can put into practice to achieve the improvements you want.