‘Our relationship has deteriorated since my wife got a big work promotion’

Tell Me About It: I worry I will always lag behind her now, and she criticises me often


I am a man in my 40s, and even as I’m writing this, I am struggling to see clearly what my problem is. Two years ago, soon after maternity leave and an extended parental leave, my wife got a big promotion shortly after returning to work. After being in the lead with my career, she unexpectedly jumped way ahead of me. I was delighted for her success – at least, I thought I was at the time.

However, I feel that our relationship has deteriorated massively since this, and though it’s hard to describe what is happening, I have this constant feeling that I’m somehow in her way. When we do communicate, it’s mainly criticisms of me, and what I haven’t done, and I do work to try to see what’s going on. But I end up with the same feeling: that I’m a disappointment to her.

Also, I worry that I might not be able to continue to achieve success in my career and that I’m now set to continue to lag behind her success.