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Thread: HELP! My spouse is going through a quarter life crisis.

  1. #1
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    HELP! My spouse is going through a quarter life crisis.

    This will be long because I am trying to include all aspects of this story that has happened this past month and a half.

    My spouse is going through what I feel like is a quarter life crisis. He had expressed unhappiness in where he was in life, needing to work on himself, not knowing who he is, feeling like we haven't grown much in our relationship recently because he hasn't been taking care of himself.

    Before we started to talk about working on us, I asked him if he felt like he could work on both right now, he told me yes. We confirmed our he said you can talk to me whenever, wherever, about anything but he wanted me to agree to not asking him questions and let him come to me on his own time with the notion that he promises not to keep me completely in the dark. He said he needed me to support him by letting him go through this personal journey by himself. It took some understanding and a few days for me to realize this is not him shutting me out it is him shifting his main focus to him, because that is what he needed to do.

    Out of nowhere last night he says that he now feels like me talking to him about what I am feeling whenever I felt the words form was selfish. He told me that it made him feel like I wasn't thinking about him and how he was feeling before coming to him with these relationship topics, even though it was what we had agreed to do. I obviously feel bad about making him feel like I wasn't thinking about his feelings; Because in reality I was thinking about us and how I cared about our relationship and how I didn't want it to deteriorate by my standing by not putting in effort. I wasn't going to expect him to think about that and initiate that on his own because I knew he would be preoccupied working on himself.

    Now because of this he wants to "separate." He says he isn't giving up on us but he wants to sleep in a different room, not spend time together at home like we used to, no touching, no intimacy, no I love yous, no talking but be cordial, household chores are personal, cook your own dinner, stop having a mutual budget, and overall basically live like roommates who don't get along very well. He thinks we should go on dates bi-weekly to "reconnect" and get to know each other again but still come back to our home and act like we aren't married. and he wants to do this for months. He feels this will to bring us closer... I have expressed that I do not like this idea and that I do not think this will help our relationship at all, but he wants me to be on board to try so I decided internally to try for a week or so and then revisit the subject. I do not think separation is what is best for this relationship I think it is what is best for him, and I do not agree with him making a decision for OUR relationship all by himself. That isn't what you do in a partnership, and he has never done that before.

    This idea of his is completely different from what we had agreed to before which was, talk often, have 1 hour every night (or almost every night because sometimes schedules are crazy) where we spend time with no phones, go on date nights once a week with 2 of those dates within the month being something outside of the house with no phone use, and finally to make it a point to be more intimate physically and try even more new positions. This is something we had agreed on together for our relationship

    I really do not know what to do. I feel like I am grieving a relationship that is not over but is hanging in the balance and that this situation is just prolonging the impending doom of separating completely because that is how he wants to act, completely separated. I feel like this will only widen the gap between us not close it. How do you pretend to not know a person that you have already known so deeply for years? How do I go about getting back to where we were? Am I being selfish for wanting my husband and my relationship back? Please, please help.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    You say that he needs to work on himself, but the rest of your post is focused on working on your marriage. So which is it? What I'm getting at is that it's kind of impossible to do both at the same time. If he needs to work on himself, then maybe he needs to be clear with that and actually come up with something concrete - does he want to change his career, new job, find a hobby, etc. What does he want to do for himself and how can you support that?

    Then the separate issue is the state of your relationship and what needs to happen there. Don't let him pile on his personal unhappiness onto your relationship and start blaming you for why he isn't where he wants to be.

    I think overall, when one person is unhappy and lacking direction and needs some space to figure it out, it's a good idea to actually back off and let them have that space and lay off the relationship problems for a bit. He can't be a good partner and husband to you until he becomes good with himself first.

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    Thanks for the response! The working on himself thing was more of a preface not the main issue. I understand needing space to work on yourself and I now see how even though he said he wanted and could work on both I should have not started on the subject, hindsight is 20/20.

    MORE BACKGROUND: It took a month for him to figure out exactly what was wrong. He started talking to this new friend of his who is a life coach/therapist and figure out what he was unhappy with and then expressed to me that he needed to work on himself. The part I happened not to mention is why the relationship stuff was even on my mind. There was that he had a recent incident at work where a member of the opposite sex was being extra friendly with him and asking him to hang out, it was flirtatious on her end not his. This is not the first time this has happened in our relationship and I never thought he would actually be cheating on me but I noticed a mood change in him a couple nights. This mood change was caused by his friend (the therapist) basically saying he cheated for letting it go on as long as it did without shutting it down or mentioning being in a relationship. I do understand in his line of work though why and he did end up shutting it down but he felt horrible still causing the mood change. He told me he had no intentions, he didn't flirt back, and he shut the situation down by telling her the situation was unethical but he was not completely upfront when I first asked him what was wrong it took some talking. I told him I didn't think he cheated But because his friend made him feel like all of this happened for a much deeper meaning. Right along with that conversation came the "I am unhappy and lost" conversation. I had a little bit of a panic inside I won't lie. This is what prompted the relationship work, him not knowing where the unhappiness came from and me asking if it was our relationship (he said it could use some work), his job etc. This was all before he knew it was much bigger than all of that. Since then and since him telling me he needed space I have back off a lot just not completely to where we didn't have any communication at all.

    ANOTHER QUESTION: Right now I am trying this complete separation thing but I am worried that it will have more of a negative affect on our connection than positive especially on a long term scale of months. I can deal with giving more space but just don't feel like to completely removing yourself from the marriage is ok and want to know what others think about that.

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    This will be a scary and unappealing proposition (and I know in your shoes I would fail to take my own advice but) if you Know your needs aren't going to be met, and there's no end date on that, or there is an end date but it's very far away, break up. Don't stay to have your heart broken by inches. I can't speak for everyone but personally I can't dial back the level of closeness and associated expectations that come with that. What he's proposing living as strangers in your own home with weekly dates sounds like pure hell. At the very least, if he was serious about wanting to give this ago, he should be moving out, not asking you to play act cool indifference.

    And, alas, as has already been pointed out, while he's unhappy with himself, he can't really be a good partner to you. This one has run it's course.

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    Thank you for your honest advice, I really do appreciate it.

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    I think he is having an affair, OP.

    I'm sorry, but even before I read the concerning bit about his flirty female friend, I was thinking "This man has another woman." There is an awful lot of red-flag behaviour here that is typical of an unfaithful partner. His mood change is a combination of guilt and his feelings for her, and I would bet any money you don't know the whole story about him and this co-worker.

    In any case, asking you to behave like you are already separated while under the same roof is absurd. I would not agree to that. A bit of personal space and couples' counselling, sure. But what is essentially a trial separation but living together? Absolutely not.

    How old are you both, and how long have you been married?

    PS: Check your phone records and any joint accounts you have with him.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Andrina's Avatar
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    Regressing a relationship versus progressing it is not the way to heal your emotionally disconnected marriage. If he's not willing to attend marriage counseling with you, I wouldn't agree to being roommates. If he was unfulfilled in other parts of his life, he could still work on those areas with the loving presence of a spouse. This is an excuse. He is fading away versus taking the big leap of divorce. He's a coward and isn't being honest with you about what's really going on. I'd engage your power. If your needs aren't being met and he's not willing to make efforts to meet them, he doesn't care and it's up to you to pull the plug. I'm sorry this has happened to you.

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    25 and 26 and we have been married about a year.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but either he did cheat and is cheating as we speak or his so called friend/lifecoach/therapist is actually brainwashing him. Either way, only weak cowards are susceptible to either situation. Strong sane people don't engage in the former and would laugh at the latter.

    In your shoes I would start quietly digging to find out the truth about what's going on. Don't bother talking to your hubby, because he won't tell you and if you start questioning, he'll just hide his tracks better if he is cheating....assuming he hasn't buried his tracks already.

    As for this whole separation bs, you need to put your foot down and just say no. He is either present in the marriage or he needs to pack his sh$t and get out. You don't get married and start playing these kinds of games. I know it's hard to take a strong stance like that but what he is doing now is walking all over you and you are teaching him that he can do this to you. Tell him he can't, mean it and act on it.

  11. #10
    Platinum Member thealchemist's Avatar
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    It sounds like he is just progressively breaking up with you.

    I wouldn't accept his one sided BS "resolution". Sounds like he just wants what he wants and doesn't care what you feel/think.

    It does sound bad in terms of possible infidelity. At least something, whether emotional or physical.

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