Taking Care Of Yourself During Your Spouse's Midlife Crisis

Midlife Crisis Self-Care
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The one thing that is common amongst people whose spouses are going through a midlife crisis is the need to control what is happening to them. If your spouse is having a midlife crisis, I feel sure you are spending a lot of time trying to understand his/her behavior.

Maybe you are blaming yourself for things that aren’t your responsibility. Maybe you are ignoring your needs and the needs of your children…doing back flips trying to make your spouse happy.

Maybe you are suffering depression and anxiety over the lack of control you have over the marital problems his/her midlife crisis has caused.

The advice I’m about to give you will be hard to put into practice. It takes will power and the ability to stand back from the situation and see it for what it really is. Most of us are action people. When faced with a problem we want to take some action that is going to solve the problem.

If your spouse is having a midlife crisis, there is no action you can take. You are in a situation where taking no action at all is the best way to respond. You may not be able to save your spouse from his/her midlife crisis but there are actions you can take that will save you and your children from being drawn into his/her crisis.

Focus on Your Behavior, Not His Behavior:

  • You will have to force yourself to stop thinking about his/her behavior. Do not think about what your spouse is doing or whom he/she is doing it with. Accept that you have no control over anyone’s behaviors but your own.

     

  • Let go of the need to “do something.” You can’t do anything for a spouse who is suffering from a midlife crisis unless they come to you for help. If they do not come to you for help, do not offer help or advice. Help yourself because you can bet the last thing on your spouse’s mind is helping or advising you in anyway.

     

  • Do not allow his/her behavior to cause conflict in your life. Set boundaries with what kind of behavior you will accept and stick to those boundaries. No long, drawn out conversations about what you will not put up with. Lovingly tell your spouse what is and isn’t acceptable and what you will do if they behave in unacceptable ways.

     

  • Learn how to process your emotions in a healthy way. You are dealing with an irrational spouse, it is important that you be able to remain calm and centered…for your sake and those of your children.

     

  • Work on building good self-esteem. If all you can focus on nothing but what he/she is doing then you’ve got self-esteem issues. You need to learn that regardless of what your spouse does, you will be fine.

     

  • Stay active and engaged in life. Go out at least once a week with friends. Remain involved in church. Take an art class. Do SOMETHING you find pleasure in and fills you up spiritually and emotionally.

     

  • If you and your spouse are separated, do not call him/her. Do not initiate conversations about the problems in the marriage. Do not tell your spouse how much you love them and want them to come home. DO NOT appear needy to your midlife crisis spouse. The more they believe you need them and can’t do without them the more comfortable they are in pulling away from you.

     

  • If you and your spouse are still living in the same home, be courteous but don’t spend time in the same room unless he/she requests your company. Busy yourself in a different part of the home. The less contact you have with the person causing you emotional harm the better you will feel.

     

  • DO NOT make plans that include your spouse. If he/she has shown you through their behavior that they no longer want to act “married” then don’t expect him/her to want to engage in family outings or catch a movie with you. Live your life with your children as if you are single.

     

  • If he is having problems with his relationship with the children, it is not your responsibility to fix those problems. Your spouse may see any help you offer as interference. Your midlife crisis spouse is looking for any reason to be angry with you and blame you. Stay out of the middle of the relationship with his/her children and that will be one less thing to blame on you.

     

  • DO NOT defend yourself against any accusations your spouse makes. Pushing your buttons and putting you on the defensive is exactly what your spouse wants. If he/she makes an outrageous accusation say, “whatever” and remove yourself from the conversation. They will soon learn that your buttons can’t be pushed.

     

  • DO NOT suggest marital therapy but if he/she makes the suggestion be willing to attend. Take it from me, if you are going to talk issues with someone going through a midlife crisis it is best to do so in front of a trained marital counselor.

     

  • If you, at any time feel you are unable to handle the situation emotionally seek help from your physician. It is not uncommon for the spouse of someone going through a midlife crisis to sink into a depression. If this is the case, get help and medication if needed.

     

  • Focus on what is good in your life. In the midst of problems, it can be hard to stay aware that we are blessed in so many ways. Stop daily, look around you, and count your blessings. If you will pay close attention, you will see that, regardless of your spouse’s crisis, you have many thinks to be thankful for.

     

  • Take action when you are feeling powerless. When your spouse is making choices that have a negative affect on your life and your children’s lives you have options. You can always take legal action that will protect yourself, your children and your marital assets. Protecting yourself and your children from the irrational behavior of a midlife crisis spouse is imperative.