There’s no question that many of us are not the same person who we were when we met and then married our spouse. This can be particularly true if you have been married for quite a while. And this is because most of us mature and experience things that shape our personalities so that they take on a slightly different appearance. There is nothing wrong with this maturity because it usually means that we have grown and evolved. Unfortunately though, it can become an issue if our spouse feels that the changes mean that we have outgrown them or are no longer compatible with them.
To demonstrate what I mean, I might hear a comment like: “when I met my husband, I was a young, naive girl who rarely spoke to someone unless they spoke to me first. I was painfully shy so it was only natural for me to let my husband take care of most things. My husband was very comfortable with this because he was much more assertive than I was. So, for a while, this worked very well for us. But when we were first married, I took a job that allowed me to remain in the shadows. It was a good fit for me then. However, I have grown with the company over time. And now, I am in a management position with a lot of responsibilities. I have to take much more of an upfront role. And at first I wasn’t completely comfortable being so assertive but after a while, my personality evolved so that I now am. As a result, I can handle pretty much everything on my own. My husband no longer needs to do nearly as much for me. And he obviously resents this because the other day, he came home and started gathering phone numbers to call people to get quotes to update our home. I told him that I had already taken care of it. In truth, my assistant took care of most of it, but I didn’t see the need to tell him this. My husband became angry that I handled it. He told me that I am not the person that I used to be. He said that now I am pushy and overly-assertive and aggressive. He says he doesn’t like this new personality of mine. And then, as if insulting me wasn’t enough, he said he isn’t sure that he wants to be with someone who is that much of a type A personality. He said if I was this way when he met me, he wouldn’t have dated me. He loves the shy, soft spoken girl that he first met. He doesn’t much care for the confident woman I have become. I don’t want to lose my marriage. But I’m not going to pretend to be someone who I am not.” I’ll try to offer some insights on this in the following article.
It May Not Be That He Doesn’t Like The New You. It May Be That He Doesn’t Like How The New You Makes Him Feel: Honestly, this is a very common problem for couples that have been married for a while. People are rarely the same person that you married. Some people will feel cheated by this. But if they were being totally honest, they would have to admit that they have changed somewhat, too. No one is the same person that they were multiple years ago. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
What makes people the most uncomfortable with this situation is the fact that the changes in personalities also sometimes bring about a change in their marital roles. Usually, how they relate to their spouse can define one of the ways that they think about themselves. For example, the husband in this scenario likely had always felt like his wife’s protector and provider. This made him feel good about himself and secure in his role as her husband. He felt as if she needed him. This is often important for men. When he perceives that this role is taken away, it may make him feel like less of a man.
See If There Is A Way To Compromise So That You Can Be Yourself And He Can See Glimpses Of The Old You: Try hard not to take this personally. Because I doubt that it’s true that he no longer likes your personality. It’s that the new independent you makes him feel as if he just isn’t needed anymore. This makes him feel insecure about your marriage. So, he tries to use reverse psychology on you and tells you that he isn’t sure that he wants the marriage anymore. What he really means, though, is that he’s worried that you no longer want, or need, the marriage.
So how do you fix this? You have to really find out what is most important to him concerning his role in your marriage. If he absolutely needs to feel as if he is lightening your load by doing most of the work and the negotiating when it comes to your home and your security, then it wouldn’t hurt to allow him to handle those things, even if you are completely capable of handling them yourself. And it doesn’t hurt to put this into words.
You might try something like: “honey, I’m really sorry. I had a spare moment and I thought that my handling this would spare you the extra work. I didn’t mean to take over your job. From now on, I will leave things that relate to the house up to you. I do appreciate that you take care of these things. And it won’t happen again. Could we please move on from this?”
Know that it may take him a little while to cool down. But when he sees that you are really making an effort, then he will likely back off a little bit. I know it might be tempting to point out where he has changed. But, I don’t see any reason to make this worse. Common sense tells you that you have likely both changed. But this usually won’t be a problem unless if forces one or both of you to reevaluate your roles, which can sometimes make people uncomfortable.