One reason is that he is changing. Parts of his personality may be finally awakening. The life cycle development of people causes continual change. In his twenties he may have been very task-oriented, but as he crosses forty he may become more person-oriented. He wants to look up old college friends. He is thinking again about the good old days. He wants to recapture his youth.
He also becomes more reflective, asking questions about the purpose of life. He begins to see the importance of connecting with people at a feeling level. The years have made him more sensitive, even though he is still under career pressure and does not have much free time.
If a wife doesn’t understand the changes in her husband and adjust accordingly, he will conclude that she doesn’t meet his needs. Obviously, the reverse holds true as well! If a husband isn’t meeting his wife’s needs, she will feel misunderstood and unloved.
Men look at life differently at different ages. Teenagers and young adults are future-oriented, while midlife men are "now"-oriented. Young adults console themselves with imperfections of people and life in general by saying, "When I get older, life will be different." But as people move across each of the five-year time lines, an automatic sense of calculation takes place as they ask, "How am I doing? Am I contented with what’s happening in my life?" Often, things don’t seem to be getting better. By forty many men feel its time for a change.
A wife may be doing things exactly as she did during the first fifteen years of their marriage. She may not realize that her husband is in a panic because he is crossing one of those five-year markers. He is quietly taking a personal assessment of his life and it may not be what he planned it to be. In particular, his relationship with his wife is not as fulfilling as he imagined--and he wonders if she will ever understand the developing person he is becoming.