Is This Really the Only Husband I’m Ever Gonna Have? (Expect a Midlife Relationship Reset)
It's time for a relationship reset if.
When you hear the key turn in the lock, you pretend to be asleep, or you just pop an Ambien.
The last time you had crazy good, memory erasing sex, there was a Bush in the White House.
When you're alone in the house, it feels like a spa vacation.
Holding hands? Please, they only do that in the movies.
The idea of being a giving spouse is tossing his socks in a load of darks.
This chapter really looks at all the different relationships in our lives, so our partners, our spouses, our kids, our friendships, and sort of taking another look at the role that everybody plays in our lives and making some shifts if we need to.
Well, and what we found is that most people aren't a hundred percent happy with their relationships, whether it's their spouse, or their friendships, there's a lot of loss happening and a lot of people aren't feeling fulfilled or getting what they want out of the relationships.
Well we all kinda have this notion that e...
verything is, again, we've carved a path and everything's gonna keep going along a certain path, and the only guarantee we have in life is change, so there are gonna be changes just like there's changes within us, there's gonna be changes in our relationships that we have to acknowledge.
Right, families are looking very different. Untraditional relationships are looking very different.
There's also this notion of conscious uncoupling, thank you Gwyneth Paltrow, but it's a real thing where there are divorces happening but couples really wanna maintain the family unit.
We're all looking at ways of divorcing or uncoupling maybe a little differently.
It's interesting because divorce is less common it was 30 years ago, although after 50 years of age, it's increasing, and three out of five of those relationships are instigated, divorce relationships are being instigated by the woman so there's a shift in how women are perceiving their relationships and how happy they are.
Well we know this, we talked to women who said, you know, I watched my parents. I watched that generation, and so many of those marriages label a long lasting marriage as a status symbol, but a lot of the previous generation's marriages kinda stuck together maybe not for quite the right reasons, so women in our generation are looking at it like, I don't know that I want that. So I'm gonna look at this a little differently and if I want to kind of reframe this marriage or redefine it or end it, I'm gonna do it and I'm gonna do it on my own terms.
Right, and there's some questions. We have a lotta questions to kinda get to, a little nitty gritty in the book, but some of the things you can ask yourself now is just what kind of community do you wanna create? What kind of support system do you want in your life, and are you being fulfilled by that now, and how do you wanna restructure that?
Exactly, and make some changes. What are the fears holding me back? We know this, we talked to women who said over and over again, well I'm just so afraid of what my kids, the impact on my kids, or I'm so afraid of going out in the dating world again. I'm just gonna coast where I am because I've let myself go and I don't feel confident anymore, so really stopping for a minute and assessing what those fears are that are holding you back, they're probably not as valued as you think.
Right, and then asking yourself what are those values I wanna embody in my relationship? Are they there? Are they currently there, or how can I make some shifts to bring those values back into our relationship to make it stronger.
So there are ways that you, sort of investments, that you can make in your relationships to make them stronger. Empathy, you know, reconnecting with empathy. There's a lack of empathy in our relationships these days.
It's true, and some of those things are taking notes on what he's actually doing well. I mean we look at all the negatives like, oh my gosh, he doesn't help with unload the dishwasher. He doesn't help me, you know, take the kids to school, or all these things that like, he doesn't do well. But what does he do well, and making kind of a note on those things because it helps.
And we talked to men, we talked to a lotta men for our third book, I Would Trade my Husband for a Housekeeper, and the men said, I just wanna help, I just need a roadmap, just tell me what to do. I would do anything for her, but I just need to know what those things are.
Well, and sometimes our goal, maybe revisit your goal of a relationship, I mean, he's not your girlfriend, so he shouldn't be fulfilling
Never will be.
everything that you might think he should, those expectations on what that relationship looks like, and maybe take some time to redefine that and set your goals a little bit differently. He doesn't have to be your everything, so there's lots of ways to make it more compatible.
Compatible. So the next one is just pretty simple, guys. Just like, get some action. You know, we talked to a lotta women who said, I'm okay with it being okay, and I'm okay with no sex, is that really okay? And then the research shows us that, if you just start having more sex, and it doesn't have to be crazy, mind blowing sex every night, but if you connect on that level, it can really enhance and enrich and bring back some of those core qualities that you first started with.
Well, and there are studies that show if you do have sex for a week straight, you actually kind of trick,
Everyday for sex.
Yeah, everyday, any time of the day, it actually will restimulate some things so actually the desire will kinda kick in, so you do typically want it more. So invest in a week!
It's a week, it's a few minutes every day
You can do it people.
A week, for a week. And so, again, like look at the expectations for what you want out of your relationship. So many times when you sit down and think about it, we're expecting far too much. We're expecting our spouse to be our whole world, we're expecting our spouse to fix everything, to be everything and if we can just kind of break some of that down, and be a little more realistic, and talk to each other about it.
And doing one thing differently, like maybe even just changing your routine of every night we don't turn on the TV at 8 PM
We eat popcorn, we watch a show.
Mix it up a little bit. Go out for a walk at 8 PM instead of doing your every night routine. Do something differently together.
We talked to one woman who said, you know what? I had not put on a little black dress in years and years. And I just said, screw it, I'm gonna do it, I'm gonna put myself in that black dress. And her husband was blown away, went on a date night, and just shifted the way that they looked at each other. Another big component of relationships at this age is friendships. So, we heard from women who said they feel alone right now. They feel like they, when the kids were little, they made friendships around school, the whole school activities, but now the kids are a little bit older and women feel like everybody has splintered. And so, really, really finding, and the way to find that friend right now might be through an activity, a shared connection, a shared activity, but that is really, really important to find your people.
Well, when you start doing those things that make you happy, like maybe a cooking class or a gardening class, then you start to find new friendships that are very similar to what you want. And that's important because a lot of women don't think they have time for friends. They're just so overwhelmed with their everyday lives that they don't think, well how do I have time to meet a new friend or make time for the friends that I have, and there's actually studies that show that friendships or actually strong relationships can really add a lot of value to your life.
Well we know that, I mean it can be a lifesaver. On the flip side, we do know that it's important to assess friendships that maybe send negative energy your way. We tend to hang on far too long to negative relationships whether it's a marriage, but friendships are included in that. And so it might just be that friend that you know, sucks the energy out of the room and just never asks you a question about yourself and you end up giving everything to this person on a consistent basis, and it's okay to step back and say I might need to prune this relationship.
And that's a thing we've really learned in talking to a lot of women, is that sitting down and really looking at like, who are the people that add that value to my life, and I add value to their life? Not just the complaining, or the judgment, or the noise, but am I elevating her? Is she elevating me? Are we having a strong relationships that's like, goes both ways.
And also maybe finding one woman who you are inspired by and maybe she's 10 years younger than you. Maybe she's 10 years older than you, but someone who is breaking out of the mold and doing something that just makes you feel alive and motivated. So find that person, nurture the relationship. Date them.
Well, and what we love, we heard from one woman is, like a friendship renewal, a vow to actually sit down and say, we're gonna be in this forever and we're gonna make our priority each other and have a friendship renewal.
Well one woman said that she had planned this whole, kind of anniversary vow renewal with her husband in Mexico and shortly before that happened, she was just like, I'm ditching this. I'm gonna have it, so she invited her best girlfriends and they did a friendship vow renewal ceremony in Mexico, and it was the best thing ever, and it was just enjoying and celebrating the friendships of a girlfriend.
The other huge relationships that we have in our life are with our kids and those can be tough at times going through the teenage years. We heard a lot of women say that like a lot of their buttons have been pushed during that time.
And also maybe it's, the relationships with our kids can ebb and flow in a way that are unexpected. And you feel, you can hear your friends say, oh well just wait til they're a teenager, but when it happens to you, and all of a sudden that daughter who you cuddled with every night is now rolling her eyes and running out of the room, going you disgust me.
(laughs) Is that personal?
Maybe. But yeah, it can be really, really the hormones
Well, expectation too, like some you hear when your kids are little like, oh, it'll get easier, it'll get easier, it'll get easier, then suddenly you have teenagers. You're like okay, did it get easier? It's shifted a lot, and the relationship's shifted, and it really can be a beautiful relationship but how we take on that role can be challenging.
And also, you know, we take things personally. And so with our kids, it's important to remember that they, you know, our goal is to give them wings to fly. Our goal is not to be best friends with them, and there are gonna be times in your relationship where you are going to have to be the bad guy, or you're gonna have to be the parent, and it might be a phase that lasts a little longer than you want it to.
And there's steps to get there in these relationships, to strengthen your relationships, and again, like really looking at it, is like what's your goal around these relationships? It doesn't have to be complicated, but you want it to be a happy relationship whether it's with your spouse, or with your friendships, or with your kids. Making happiness the goal.
And focusing on the positive. What are those really, what are the moments of joy that you have with each of these relationships? And why are they important to you? How do you nurture that? They're never gonna be perfect. So, you know, make peace with some of that. It's okay.
Yeah, and in your relationship with your spouse or significant other, really changing that word, change the word me to we and it really makes a difference. When you're looking at it as like we, we as a family, we as a couple, we as girlfriends, I mean everything changes. It doesn't become so separated, it becomes a unit, and that's really, that's the difference
We need that. We need the tribe at this point. It's essential. And really level set your expectations for what you want in your life. We might be putting way too much pressure on that best girlfriend relationship, or the husband relationship, or even with our kids.
The perfect child, why are they making mistakes? How are they, yeah.
We talked to the one woman who said, you know, her kids were literally out of the nest and she still wasn't moving on. She was hanging onto them to fulfill her. And so she was calling incessantly and it just, you need to figure out what expectations you have for those relationships.
Right, and it's allowing you not, you're not growing, if you're holding onto your kids at that age, you're not allowing yourself to make those changes for yourself to become yourself either.
Exactly, oh and have sex tonight. Just do it.
Didn't we mention that already?
I think we did, but it's worth mentioning one more time,
Have sex tonight. Just have sex tonight.
Just do it.