“And they lived happily ever after…” Well, that’s not exactly how all marriages transpire. Once the ‘honeymoon phase’ is done and dusted, the ‘kids’ phase’ is just round the corner, leaving the couple strapped for time to spend with each other. The joys of knowing each other, as a spouse and parent starts reaching its fag end. That’s when the midlife crisis starts it takes off in the mid 40s and goes on well into the fifties when there is a sense of “life is passing by and I am not doing anything meaningful.” When it comes to midlife crisis and marriage if a partner is going through a midlife crisis it does have an effect on the marriage.
There is no doubt familiarity breeds contempt and when a midlife crisis hits a marriage people are usually married for two decades or more and have the been there done that attitude and rarely have anything to look forward to together. People who keep working on the marriage can survive a midlife crisis but if there are fissures in the marriage already then there is a possibility that a midlife crisis would pull two people further apart.
What Is Midlife Crisis?
A midlife crisis hits you when you look back at life and suddenly feel that what you have done so far is not enough. You feel looking at the future is futile and you start hating yourself and everyone around you, including your spouse, for the life you have. People make sudden changes in their appearance and lifestyle when they feel that boredom is getting to them. They want to feel young, keep young company get rash and hedonistic and even get into affairs.
5 Ways Midlife Crisis Affects Your Marriage
When a person’s personality and behaviour gets altered so suddenly it is inevitable that midlife crisis would affect the marriage. A spouse could find it hard to deal with a partner’s midlife crisis and sometimes they have to seek counselling to tide over the situation. But how does midlife crisis really effect a marriage? We tell you 5 ways in which it could.
1. The blame game
“She’s busy with kids and has no time for me!” “He’s more interested in cricket matches than me…” The blame game never stops. She thinks perhaps she never really loved him. She wants her singlehood back and hangs out a lot more with her friends. All of a sudden, they go from being the person they wanted to grow old with to the person they no longer know.
The smallest thing that was brushed aside earlier becomes a big issue and what was resolved with a simple “sorry“very quickly, festers for days. A couple does not see eye-to-eye and suddenly the person going through the midlife crisis finds their spouse totally intolerable. They absolutely loathe the life they have and want to start afresh. The marriage takes a big jolt because there is no agreement on anything and the relationship suffers from constant blame game because of midlife crisis.
2) The tell-tale signs of an affair
The signs, though obvious, take time to sink in. One of them starts working out and switches to healthy nutrition, guards the cell phone as fiercely as a dog and a bone, and often buys new and fashionable attire. Ignoring these signs is like the ostrich defense mechanism.
When a person is going through a midlife crisis he or she wants to feel attractive to others and that’s when an affair takes off. When people are hitting 45 they feel that they are not young anymore but being with a young person is a great ego bosster so both men and women fall for younger people and have stormy affairs that could rock the marriage but usually the affairs do not last.
So beware of the signs of an extra marital affair and deal with it accordingly.
Read more: Reasons why men have extramarital affairs
3) Feeling depressed and lethargic
There is little or no energy left do the things that your spouse wants you to do. Keeping up with your kids often feels like a burden for either or both of them. Sex takes a back seat, often a tedious task. The practice of going to bed late or early, definitely at a different time from your spouse becomes a ritual.
Sometimes you are also grappling with the Empty Nest Syndrome when the children have flown the nest and the silences with your spouse at the dinner table is not helping. Midlife crisis does affect a marriage adversely at a point like this and sometimes therapy or re-aligning your life are the only options left.
4) Painting a different picture in front of in-laws
Despite the marriage hitting rock bottom, couples in a joint family often keep the fumes of marital discord within the confines of their bedroom. The ‘perfect couple’ act is something that has become commonplace in almost every family. The realisation that midlife crisis is a ticking bomb waiting to explode, comes in much later.
While a marriage might be hit by a midlife crisis but keeping that front of a “happy couple” becomes stressful. People do not usually talk about the issues their marriage is going through but keep grappling with it. The forced effort to paint a happy picture affects the marriage as well.
5) Over-familiarity breeds contempt
The mood swings, preferences, turn-ons, turn-offs, bedroom secrets, home truths, office talks – everything starts sounding too familiar. Boredom looms large, especially when the kids grow up and couples realise that there’s nothing new about each other to discover. And then one fine day, either of the spouses contemplates divorce so that they can be together with someone who fascinates them or even to stay on their own as a single.
But divorce is not really connected to midlife crisis. A research in America shows that most couples divorce before 45 so divorce is not connected to midlife crisis. But it could be definitely one of the causes when a marriage is effected by midlife crisis.
Read more: Is the 7-year itch in a relationship real?
Midlife crisis has been a key reason for couples going separate ways even after staying together for 30 years. Before any of the spouses utters those fateful words, “We need to talk,” they must consider the cascading effect midlife crisis can have on the children, especially the teenagers.
You might think, “Ah! That’s never going to happen to us!” While somewhere deep inside, you might be battling those midlife crisis woes. The first step to prevent the midlife crisis ruining one’s marriage is to accept it first, stare it in the face rather than putting up the façade of a ‘perfect couple’. Let’s admit it, there are no perfect relationships and there are no perfect couples.