She Got a Job, She Changed a Lot

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Male
Hello, My wife and I have been married over seven years. About five months ago she started working for the first time. Now its seems like she is a completely different person. She is not the loving person I came to know. She is always talking about her workplace. She has changed her appearance, (dyed her hair, new clothes almost every week).

I love her very much and as you might noticed I am jealous and afraid she has met somebody at work that is causing this big change in her. I knew things were going to be different once she started work, but I never thought she was going to change so much. I have talked to her about my feelings but she doen't seem to care. What do I do? Advice
We all go through stages in life, and it sounds like she definitely hit a brand new stage. She was surrounded by interesting, new people, and is having fun experimenting with a new her. Probably she felt stuck in a rut before and is thrilled about trying new hairstyles and clothing and such. A lot of people do that when they go off to school or get a new job or move to a new home. They sort of feel like they can "reinvent themselves" and grow as a person.

She's probably happy that, after so many years of YOU having a fun place to go (well a non-home place at least) and interesting tasks that you were responsible for, now SHE gets those same things in her life and she's sort of "high" on them right now. Most people get settled down into a work routine after a while but to her everything is fresh and new and exciting right now. And when you say you miss the old her, she doesn't want to listen, because she's having fun being a New, Neat her.

You're definitely right that the change can pull you apart, though. If you resist her changes, and she has fun changing, then she can resent your not supporting her, and you can resent her changing, and things collapse.

The important thing to realize is that we ALL change over time, in big and small ways. For you to expect her to remain a 16 year old her entire life is unreasonable. For you to want her to be happy with the same hairstyle her entire life is probably not good either. You need to support her as a person, as someone who will grow, change, evolve, update, her entire life. In the same way, SHE has to understand that all relationships involve two people who communicate and respect each other and care for each other even while they change. So for her to ignore your concerns and only care about herself and her "new fun job" are very unfair. Yes her job is great. But YOU are her partner in life and you need some priority here too. For her to put herself over the relationship is selfish.

So instead of hammering on her for "not being the sweet little wifey from before" you need a different approach. Have a quiet dinner together with her and really talk. Tell her that you love her, are thrilled she is so happy with her job and you support her in enjoying her responsibilities and friends and talents. And tell her that you ALSO really value your relationship with her and want to ensure that that also gets the time and attention it needs. Yes, work needs attention. But your home life ALSO needs attention for it to succeed. Just like work. And she needs to do a good job of balancing those two things so both work well. After all the years you have together, it would be a shame if she sacrificed the incredibly valuable relationship just because she was incapable of handling 2 things at once.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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