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Thread: Threatened by wife's independence

  1. #1
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    Default Threatened by wife's independence


    Hoping for female perspective. I am 48 and my wife is 44. We have been married 18 years. It has been a very comfortable marriage and I love my wife very much. We have two kids (D14 and S10). She is a wonderful stay-at-home Mom. We have both worked very hard to make a nice home for our family, and we are fortunate to be fairly financially secure at this point in our lives.

    When I met my wife, I fell in love with her "down to earth" outlook on life. I was attracted to her natural beauty and the fact that she was not materialistic at all. Today, our home is nice but not over the top in any way. We have nice things, but have tried to teach our kids the value of money. We are not rich by any meams, but we are proud of being in a comfortable position. We continue to put money away each month for the kid's college, and we have no debt other than our house. My wife has also always been conservative and frugal with money, and this lifestyle for us continued until a few yerfs ago. In 2005 my business had a terrific year. I surprised her on her 40th birthday with a new Mercedes (something she had always dreamed of, but never asked for). This was a bit out of the ordinary, but I thought it would be a good way for me to show her how important she is to me. She was floored!

    I am starting to regret this gift. Since then, she started buying more expensive clothes, jewelry, purses, handbags, and SHOES! She started wearing a lot more makeup and perfumes. She replaced the hand-lotion she had used for years with at least ten different high-dollar lotions from expensive boutiques. She started wearing her hair much more "stylish", and has her nails done every week. It was almost like she was trying to upgrade everything in her life over a matter of just the last couple of years. I now see my 14 year old daughter is now following in this pattern, and this is quite different than the plans I THOUGHT we had for our kids. My daughter now carries a COACH purse, and wears all the newest style of clothing and shoes. She and my wife will go shopping together often, and there seems to be a new attitude that goes along with this move to a more materialistic lifestyle.

    Now don't get me wrong. My wife is not Ivana Trump. She is still very grounded in many ways. She prides herself in finding the "deals" on these expensive items, and never buys anything unless she can find it for a really good price. It is almost like a new hobby for her (finding high-dollar items at exceptionally low prices). Her spending is well within reason considering our income. The $$ is really not the problem.

    The problem is that I am feeling threatened by this new lifestyle. She gets more beautiful as she gets older, and her new attitude seems quite independent compared to the first 14 years of our marriage. She is trying to use bigger words, fixes herself up every-day, and even has a new swagger as she walks. She is even dressing just a little sexier than she ever has (higher heels, etc....still quite conservative, but just more bright colors and jewelry than I am used to). There is no question that she has changed and she is very proud of her new lifestyle.

    A few weeks back, I simply asked her about the transformation over the past couple of years. Her answer was two-fold: (1.) Our kids are older now and taking care of themselves, and she is enjoying taking care of herself more now.....(2.) She is enjoying having this in common with our 14 year old daughter, who seems to love fashion, shopping, etc...

    The most disturbing part of this for me is that all of these things seem to be taking her farther away from me. She is spending so much more time on herself and I am left on the sidelines. We used to jump in the car on Saturday mornings and go find garage sales. We used to take the kids out to the car races on Saturday night. We used to go swimming at the lake and just goof around. NOW, it seems these things are just not in the cards for her anymore. It is like they are beneath her now. No more sweatshirt and jeans. No more getting her hands dirty in the yard. No more of many things that might mess up her hair and nails.

    Why is this so uncomfortable for me? Why am I not enjoying her new look and confident attitude?

    Should I be doing the same with my life even though it would be unfomfortable for me?

    Anyone out there that can shed some light on this time in a woman's life?

    How should I respond?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    WH Super Moderator Array Hopeless Dork's Avatar
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    It sounds like your wife is taking pride in her appearance, is gaining confidence and feeling more sexy and beautiful and that is a wonderful thing compared to the opposite of that.

    It sounds like she is being respectful of your hard work, looking for bargains... but it also seems like maybe she wants to 'live a little' to taste the 'good life' here and there... and I can't say I know any woman that wouldn't appreciate being able to do that from time to time.

    In many women lives a little girl that dreamed of being a princess. A pair of high end shoes, an exotic lotion etc... are little tastes of that.

    As long as she is not pushing you guys to live beyond your means and isn't being over indulgent I wouldn't worry with this behavior.

    A lot of women are realizing ( a good thing) that they can be sexy and beautiful at any age -- that they need'nt put on a moo-moo frock and let their hair go white when they hit a certain age.

    I think it sounds like you are a lucky man, in my opinion... to have a lovely lady in your life that is getting more beautiful with every year.

    If you worry about your daughter being over indulged... talk to your wife about it so that you guys can set some bounderies on just how much you cater to your teenagers every whim to fit in with the stylish crowd at school.

    With shows like the 'hills' etc.. younger girls are exposed to high end fashion and brand names and feel like to be cool and popular they should be in the latest designer duds. Its normal. Even girls from families that can't afford it are trying their best to 'look the part'.

    If your wife was distancing herself from you, spending in a way thats wreaking havoc on your finances -- that would be a reason to worry.

    But her wanting to flirt with a lifestyle thats within your means is nothing to worry about as long as she is still grounded.
    Scars remind us of where we've been...they don't have to dictate where we're going.

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    WH Super Moderator Array sourpuss's Avatar
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    Wow! Hmmm....I need to think about this one for a bit. I'm dumbfounded and I can see why you're frustrated.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.

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  4. #4
    WH Super Moderator Array sourpuss's Avatar
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    I agree with HD on most parts. I do think you definitely need to talk to her about setting the wrong impression for your daughter. There's nothing wrong with wanting to look nice but girls that age are very impressionable and you certainly don't want her to become materialistic and never be an individual.

    If this shopping lifestyle is replacing time she spent with you and your kids, I see that as a major problem.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.

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    WH Head Moderator Array WildChild's Avatar
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    She isn't stagnate, she is a growing and developing person. Perhaps try to find some ways to connect that fit in with some of this change? How about couples massage? Just whatever would keep her from going too much one direction with you out there trying to figure out where she went?
    I do think Coach purse for anyone, especially a teen, are over the top.
    We can only learn to love by loving. - Iris Mudoch, British writer

  6. #6
    TEAM ADMIN Array CHANDLERS WISH's Avatar
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    People do change and women do feel more alive and sexier as they get older.

    Her daughter is at the age where they can "finally" be friends instead of Mother and Daughter and therefore, they can do things together.

    How you act on this, is how it falls.

    For instance, one day you may want a motorbike and re-visit your youth, which would be strange or a boat, or play golf, something she would go "who is that? ", same think.

    Your wealth is different to what it was, your morals haven't changed but she sees an opening with her daughter a friendship.

    Perhaps, bend yourself a little and buy yourself some "trendy" clothes and let her see you in a different light herself.

    Perhaps, get on a plane for the weekend with her, and do something different yourself.

    And, after that, let her know she does look beautiful as you've said here and ask her to do something from the past you loved doing.

    Maybe if she sees you changing a little instead of being the same, but also re-visit some of the past things she will see that you are growing as well and enjoying different things in life, not the same things over and over.

    CW
    PUT A LITTLE 'LIKE' IN MY SOUL!

  7. #7
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    Thank you everyone. I value the responses.

    It does feel like my wife and I are growing more distant. Things had been the same for so long, I became very comfortable with everything. It seems that the comfort level we had is being shaken up a little with my wife's new outlook on life. Maybe that is a good thing, but it is a little scary for me.

    I will consider all of the great advice given and figure out my next step. As I lose more of my hair, get bags under my eyes, and worry about keeping the income coming in for the family.....she gets more beautiful and seems to be really enjoying life more these days.

    I think my worries are somewhat a result of my reduced self-esteem and poor communication. I need to work on both.

    Much appreciated,

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