My Partner has Changed! What Do I Do?

Dear Aaron,

I’ve been married for 18 years and for the most part those have been happy years. We’ve had our share of stresses but nothing that we haven’t been able to handle. Anyway, I stayed at home until our youngest started going to school which was about 6 years ago. My husband’s income was enough for us to live on comfortably if we were frugal so we agreed my money would go mostly to fun and some into savings.

My Husband has Changed. I don’t Know Who He is Anymore.

It seems like as soon as I brought home my first paycheck my husband started changing. He had big ideas of toys he’d like to buy like a newer, bigger TV and things for our cars. And this was just the start. Now he has a motorcycle for me and him that we never ride (and I don’t plan to). Each of our kids have all the latest electronic gismos and he keeps coming up with new things he wants to buy. This isn’t the man I married! He was always so frugal. And I didn’t want to marry a spendthrift. I’m really upset that he has become one.

He Spends Money on Things and Neglects Me.

The worst part is now he doesn’t even really spend time with me because he has so many toys he plays with. And when we do talk all he wants to talk about is what we’re going to do with my next paycheck. This isn’t the man that I married, he used to be a lot more interested in me. Any ideas on how I can change him back?

Sincerely, Frugal Mom

Hi Frugal,

I taught a class once where a student spoke out and said “when I marry a man, I marry him for who he is. If he changes from who I married then he wont’ be married to me anymore”. The class laughed. My response to her was “Really? Do you really want your 50 year old husband to still act like he’s 25?” The class stopped laughing.

Change is Not a Four-Letter Word.

My point is, people change. People should change. It’s a part of the circle of life. Change in itself is not a bad thing. What it means, though, is that you and your husband will need to negotiate these changes over time in ways that you can both tolerate. Talk with him and be open to negotiation.

Change in Your Relationship Creates Opportunities for Excitement and Romance. 

I want to make another point here. You have a really big opportunity in front of you. Because people change, it gives couples opportunities to continue to get to know each other in new ways, just like when you first met and got to know each other. Getting to know each other in new ways can create excitement, romance and passion between you two. In other words, you have an opportunity to create passion as a result of your husband’s changing.

Talk to your husband about the things you’ve seen different in him. Now that you have more play money, tell him some things he can do for you that will make you feel alive and excited. He may stop spending money on  things and start spending money on you two together and on your family.

Warm Regards,


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