How can I sort out my feelings so I can get unstuck?

I’m feeling ambivalent about my marriage, which has led to being disengaged.

Many women (and men) reassess their marriages in midlife. There are lots of reasons, including the changes that come with the empty nest or retirement, and the stress of caring for aging parents along with everything else. Whatever the prompt, when some of us look at our relationships, we say, “Is this really what I want?”

It's common at midlife to give relationships a look and ask, "Is this really what I want?"

If you’re feeling discontent without knowing why, the following questions might help you begin to discern what’s going on. Or one of the questions might help you start a conversation with your partner or a therapist. They are taken from a study of 65-74 year olds that found correlation (not necessarily causation) between sexual intimacy and marital happiness.

  • How close do you feel your relationship with your partner is?
  • How often can you open up with your partner if you want to talk about worries?
  • How often can you rely on your partner for help with a problem?
  • How often does your partner make too many demands?
  • How often does your partner criticize you?
  • How happy is your relationship with your partner?
  • Do you like to spend your free time together, separately, or some of both?
  • How emotionally satisfying is your relationship?
  • How often does your partner get on your nerves?

This is hard emotional work, but it’s definitely worth the trouble. Good luck!

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