In mid and late-life, most of us start thinking about life more philosophically. We begin to ponder the big questions in life…what am I doing here? Is this all there is? Am I really happy or am I just going through the motions? Those are normal questions. But in a true Grass is Greener relationship, your partner thinks the answers to all those questions are outside of himself…and something new and different is the solution.
For a man who has been married for 20 or 30 years or more, the Grass is Greener Syndrome stages can progress slowly. Or he may wake up one day and suddenly want out of his marriage because he feels like he has spent his whole life providing for his family and never getting to do what he “was made to do!”
In the same way, a woman who has given up her career to care for children and take care of older parents, may think to herself, “I’m tired of taking care of everyone else. I want to do my own thing for a change!” Many people think, “I may not have much time left on this earth, a new relationship is my last chance at true happiness!”
Even though we hear constantly about the famous “Midlife Crisis” breakups for men – it’s really just a different name for a Grass is Greener Syndrome breakup. In reality, almost equal numbers of women have the feeling that the grass may be greener as it concerns our marriage especially in midlife. Women usually want something more in our marriage especially after the kids leave home.
Men seem to carry out their fantasies more often than women, and in more flamboyant ways. The famous tell-tale signs of a midlife grass is greener syndrome crisis for men are well-known:
- Buying a red sports car, motorcycle or sports utility vehicle
- Changing jobs
- Dying their hair and having it styled instead of going to Jake at the corner barber shop where they have always gone
- Doing more challenging activities…skydiving, mountain climbing, white-water rafting.
- Seeking out new relationships
Both men and women want reassurance that they are still vibrant and desirable. Women usually want to find that within their marriage. Men more often want validation from outside of their marriage because they aren’t willing to work to make their marriage better. Most women are looking forward to reconnecting in new ways with our husband when the nest is empty.
With midlife crisis affairs for men, they love the danger of the chase. It makes them feel excited and passionate and alive again. Women usually want to plan a romantic getaway with their husband where they can focus on each other. Women want to be seen as a desirable woman and explore new things with her husband.
Often the situation doesn’t end well after a Grass is Greener break-up. If someone has the Grass is Greener syndrome, it means they think the problem is finding someone new. In truth, they should be looking within to see where the dissatisfaction is coming from and fix it. Other people will never make us happy. We find happiness on our own.
Men tend to think some sweet young thing will bring their vigor and passions back, but often what they thought would be greener grass with another woman turns out to be a dry parched field. Especially if they abandon their long-time spouse, and even ignore their “grown” children and take on new responsibilities with young children again. That is often a recipe for disaster for everyone involved. Most people with Grass is Greener Syndrome will probably just keep thinking the lack of satisfaction is someone else’s fault and keep looking for something to fill that void in themselves.
Identity Crisis & Individuality
A lot of things affect our sense of satisfaction or contentment in life. One of those things that makes us satisfied and joyful about our life is knowing who we are and what we want, and we have a plan to get what we want. Do we feel like we are meeting our potential? Are we in a relationship that we feel like is holding us back? If not, fix it!
We all need to spend time figuring out WHO AM I NOW? How do I want to contribute in a positive way in this big beautiful world? Our resources help us take stock of ourselves and figure out what we’re going to do with the rest of this precious life we’ve all been given.
Issues At Home & Escapism
When you’ve been married years or even decades, there may be ongoing problems that have not been fixed throughout the marriage. They may not seem big enough to cause divorce, but they keep us from being as happy as we could be. Some men and women keep searching for something new rather than facing those lingering problems they have lived with all these years.
The Grass is Greener Syndrome in your marriage may make you discontent with your spouse, no matter how much he or she might try to satisfy you. You’re less interested in solving the problems at home, and you find more ways to escape dealing with those issues. You may simply drop out emotionally and physically at home and explore new women, new hobbies and other ways to find happiness or fulfillment.
Since the growth of the internet there are millions of ways to escape an unhappy marriage. There are sites for everyone…bikers, farmers, readers, etc. etc. Some of the escapes can be devastating if they lead to porn addiction, or actual “hook ups” with prostitutes or other online relationships that end up destroying what could have been a great life with our own spouse.
Understand Your Partner
During midlife or late life, especially after a long marriage, life can get stale. Our relationship with our spouse can lose its spice…its spontaneity…its sense of surprise and delight. While we’re busy living life, taking care of family, work, obligations, sometimes we forget to tend to our primary relationship which should be our main focus.
Both men and women often have plates full of worry. Men worry about being able to continue to provide for the family. Women worry about not being able to compete with younger women our husband might meet. Talk honestly about these issues to keep the Grass is Greener Syndrome at bay.
Especially when kids leave home, we might become less committed to our marriage. We think to ourselves, “I’ve done enough! I’ve been on this treadmill for decades! I’m done!” I’m out of here. One partner may be hungry for a deeper commitment while the Grass is Greener Syndrome partner doesn’t want any commitment at all.
Committing to our marriage and making the best of the good things we have in our relationship is the best way to deal with discontentment instead of feeling like the solution is finding something new. That’s a never-ending quest.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.” – Oprah
Something New Seems Less Stressful
In life today, everything is happening at breakneck speed. If something takes a few seconds too long to load on the internet, we get stressed out. We don’t want to be doing what we’ve been doing all of these years. Get up. Go to work. Come home. Eat one of the same dinners we’ve been eating forever. Instead of fixing the problem, we want to try something new.
Sometimes we want to just scream, “Let me out of here! I’m tired of doing the same old thing day after day after boring day!” Suddenly, when we are faced with a new relationship, everything seems new and invigorating. Everything old seems stressful and complicated. When we get tired of the same old, same old, routine, Grass is Greener Syndrome can come storming in!
Can The Grass Is Greener Syndrome Be Stopped?
The Grass is Greener Syndrome divorce can be stopped if both partners are willing to tend to our own garden! Marriage doesn’t have to be dull and boring as time goes on. But it does take effort. When I hear about middle aged men doing all of this fun and romantic stuff with their mistresses, it infuriates me. I am always thinking to myself, what if he had unexpectedly brought flowers to his wife “for no reason”? Don’t you think that might make her feel loved and more eager to please.
What If the wife set up a secret rendezvous for just the two of you, got some sexy lingerie, and maybe even a sex toy, don’t you think you would see her as a little more enticing? If either partner creates a bit of intrigue or just plain fun on a date night, wouldn’t that renew the flame?
Get a book like 101 Nights of Great Sex: Secret Sealed Seductions for Fun-Loving Couples by Laura Corn for you and your partner to share. It’s a fun book of innocent sex adventures for the two of you… and it’s good especially for married couples whose sex life might have become a little too predictable. Nothing dangerous or outrageous, just some good clean fun in bed (or in other places!).
Is Divorce The Right Answer?
The Grass is Greener Syndrome divorce is getting more and more common. We wonder if someone with that syndrome ever comes back. People who have identifiable Grass is Greener Syndrome, usually display it in all areas of their life. They just are never content or satisfied. If we have lived with a person for years who has Grass is Greener Syndrome, and we are relentlessly blamed for their own dissatisfaction and lack of contentment, we have a very difficult choice to make. Get help. Get counseling. Speak the truth to each other with love.
“There is great gain in godliness and contentment.” – The Apostle Timothy
I’m all for saving marriages whenever we can, but we do not have to take responsibility for someone else’s continual unhappiness and discontentment. We should each do what we can to make our partner happy and our marriage good. We should not accept the burden of trying to fix someone who is never happy, never satisfied, and is always looking for something better on the horizon.