“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.
Welcome to midlife crisis and here’s how it affects modern-day marriage:
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 single-hood 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.
2) The tell-tale signs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.