I get quite a few emails from partners of people experiencing Midlife Crisis. This article is for all partners: wives, husbands, married or unmarried to help you successfully navigate the complicated midlife crisis. Midlife crisis doesn’t differentiate between sex or husband and wife. The difference comes down to power, which person started the disconnection of the midlife crisis, and who is trying to hold the relationship together.
If you are here, you have already gone through all too many confusing moments and contradictions from your partner. I will walk you through finding peace and answers! Chances are you are also feeling powerless right now, and if you work directly with us, we will help you find your power again.
First, it must be stressed that if you have a partner experiencing a midlife crisis, then be aware there isn’t a single simple answer to make it all resolve quickly. Helping partners is a process that requires: patience, acceptance and time to accomplish.
Second, the more you restrain the process, bound it by expectations and limitations, the less likely it will turn out to become a positive experience.
Helping Partners Change
Your partner is changing. Don’t take this change personally. We all change, and everyone needs to be able to shift with life. What makes this process difficult for partners is that midlife crisis will often force you to deal with change outside the natural timing of your change.
The process of joint change is far more complicated. Since in crisis, all checks and balances are tested in a relationship. Every aspect of the relationship: workloads, expectations, family support structures, and other aspects will teeter and shift.
One issue is: in the reflection of your husband changing; it will force a change in your own life. The act of helping partners often shifts around the questions you need to address. Are you ready to change? How much are you willing to change to balance out the situation? In changing to help your partner, are you hurting yourself? Just because your partner is transforming doesn’t mean you have to change. Chances are, no matter how you handle this situation; you also will discover yourself in a new light. Helping a husband often also becomes a process of helping yourself work through change also.
Working with a husband in midlife crisis is a very delicate dance!
Don’t take your spouse’s change personally.
Because the process forces you to change also, as partners we often take midlife crisis personally. We often impose our judgment, fears, and desires upon our partner. In doing this you can accelerate the process, often to accelerate your husband away from you. After all, in trying to define their change in your own terms, you can easily force them further away from their change.
You can work on your change within this process, but be sensitive to how you impose/share your fears and judgments upon your husband. They’re in a delicate state of mind. It takes a slight misstep to hit a mine in a minefield. Likewise, it’s too easy to step on explosive issues within your partners’ hidden internal process. Issues that are coming to the surface as the midlife crisis stirs up the spirit.
The process of helping partners takes patience, awareness, and kindness.
We change side by side, not in lock step with those we love. Freely flowing in the love of becoming more!
What is Crisis?
If your partner is truly in the middle of a midlife crisis, then it has the potential to become a time when you are living in a falling house of cards.
Think about an earthquake for a second, when the earth changes and rocks. You don’t stand in the middle of the house in an earthquake, hoping the house will protect you. You run for the door to either stand outside of the house or in a doorway to protect yourself from falling debris. After the earthquake is over, you can go back in and fix the house.
A person experiencing a midlife crisis is being shaken apart by an earthquake of the soul. Little stable ground exists inside them to act as support at such a time of inner shift.
Some counseling tips in helping partners.
- Help shift the crisis into transformation. A crisis is about breaking, the more you re-enforce crisis, the more likely your relationship will break from the crisis. Instead, approach this as a process of transformation. Transformation isn’t about breaking; it’s about change. If you help your partner transform, it helps smooth out the breaking aspects of change, and you will have a higher likely hood of being able to repair any relationship problems as a result.
- Don’t hold on too tightly to your husband. The harder you hold on to them, the more likely their change will break you in reflection, or cause inner turmoil for yourself to be set off. Also, the harder you hold to them, the more you reinforce the crisis and inner earthquake aspects of the process. Hold on enough to keep yourself and other family members together. Hold on enough to help balance your partner as required, but not too much to take the brunt of their lashing out.
- Since a partner is in part a reflection of ourselves, you will have to find peace in shifting also. Otherwise, you will internalize the stress and take on pain of the midlife crisis yourself. It will be equally important for you to be extra pro-active in your health practices and look towards movement practices such as yoga, exercise, or Qi Gong to help re-establish your equilibrium.
A little help goes a long way in solving relationship problems.
Who is Your Partner Now?
All preconceived expectations quickly disappear in this state, and a person can shift moods, emotional state, and personality very quickly and unexpectedly at this time.
The husband you thought you knew, is not who they are now.
In effect, you are with a younger person rediscovering and re-establishing themselves.
Helping partners at this stage requires you to recognize and give space to this newer person waking up.
In effect, you have three relationships at once! One with the person you knew, one with a person experiencing crisis and one with the new personality growing out from the crisis! This is why marriages often fail in Midlife Crisis. Most marriages are based on expectations and memories of the past. Midlife Crisis re-shifts and changes all the rules, as the person is in transition. Their desires and definitions are shifting as they change in the crisis! As a result, marriages can and do break. The simplest way to help to prevent this is not to base your marriage on expectation or the past. Helping partners require us to be forward thinking, to make new rules for the marriage and help discover a new partnership in exchange.
For many people, this can be the chance to re-vitalize their partnership/marriage!
But by definition to re-vitalize, it will mean to drop old expectations, truly shift and jump into something new!
Also be very aware, you may not like the new person evolving from the crisis. While we can help mold a person slightly at this time, the more you do so, the more you actually can hurt yourself and them in the long term. Trying to mold a person at this stage just introduces new problems to be dealt with later in life.
The stories of midlife crisis, are often that the person in crisis will leave the marriage or relationship. It should be noted; it’s as equally valid that at times it might for you to consider leaving the relationship because you are not compatible with the new person your partner is becoming.
In this whole process: Kindness is one key step which I teach. Kindness is important for everyone involved. In helping partners transform, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
Don’t jump in to save your partner until you are truly ready to understand and accept your problems.
It’s like when a plane is crashing, and the oxygen masks come out. You don’t place the mask on the other person first, instead, first take care of your mask which then lets you take care of others, this is a similar situation.
One common problem is after helping a spouse change, is to take on too much pain. To take too many emotional bruises during the act of crisis can be very terrible. Don’t take on pain to a point it becomes destructive to yourself.
Be kind to yourself, take care of yourself in this process of crisis, because if you can’t take care of yourself, how can you expect to help heal another person?
When helping a spouse in crisis, unless you are ready to handle the crisis yourself, the crisis can derail your own life more than you expect due to the force of revelatory repercussions that will also come with the process.
It’s important while helping partners in kindness not to push them too hard and cause additional damage. If this happens, you get blamed for all the problems.
In working with a crisis at times, the process is made more complicated, since, the issues being worked upon can go deep and be a result of multi-generational problems.
At times, it’s hard for anyone acting as a healer not to use their perspective to overlay upon another person. When we see a person going down a path that will hurt more, we want to help. Empathy is part of being a healer or being with someone you love. Ironically, the emotional pain can form the baseline for the healing they need.
The bigger issue is that at times pain runs deeper than you might realize. Welcome to Karma coming into the picture. Karma not regarding your actions, but rather Karmic results coming from choices made from people in your family tree, this is “Generational Karma”. When Generational Karma is involved, then it’s never a straightforward business to heal. Often we have multi-generational issues happening during a midlife crisis. A midlife crisis can be a time when a person will begin to shed off family issues and problems from previous generations. Once you get into this territory, the healing process is more twisted and often passes its way through generations to resolve.
When Karma or Generational Karma is involved people hurt themselves more for larger reasons that go beyond just them. Healing in these cases can span the spirits of several generations. Focusing help or healing upon only one person won’t directly work since it’s missing the larger picture of balance. Modern healing practices often miss dealing with Karma in their healing methods.
So be aware of Karma and multi-generational issues when helping partners.
Be careful on the timing of when you heal a person. If you heal a person before they are ready, they will often re-injure themselves or lash out at the person healing them. People will subconsciously but on purpose to re-instate the pain driving the midlife crisis process. When the pain is from generations, the wounds are deep. Just making things better at the surface can cause larger issues to surface which are more difficult to resolve if approached in the wrong manner.
Helping Husbands in Mid Life Crisis
If you need help right away, you can start here with this 30-minute video.
Understanding and Helping Partners.
We work over the phone and also offer couple retreats!
Learn how to help everyone make it through a difficult transition time.
This 30-minute video covers:
- An overview of Mid Life Crisis: What your partner is going through.
- Helping partners communicate more smoothly.
- The mirror of mid-life change
- Will my partner leave me? Steps to avoid a breakup.
- How to work with change in your life. The rules are changing.
- What relationship means in a mid-life crisis.
- Helping partners by releasing judgment. The three key steps.
- What is co-dependency and how to remove co-dependencies.
- Don’t let other people force your choices. Breaking out of bad patterns. Considerations for children.
- You and your partner will see issues differently. Learn how to approach this properly.
- Release feeling guilty.
- Helping partners in redefining friendship.
- How to get over bad feelings.
- The steps to move past the midlife crisis.