The term ‘Midlife Crisis’ could be heard amongst adults aged between 40 to 60 who are going through some hard times and are confused with the purpose of their life. You studied hard, got married, had kids and made a successful career but suddenly the urge to make transition in life lets you ditch the responsibilities.
This patch of life makes one take outrageous steps like quitting the job, divorcing the spouse, changing the lifestyle or feel young again. Understanding and realizing that life is half over is also accompanied by depression for some whereas some people begin a new chapter right from here. Because it works differently for everyone, midlife crisis couldn’t be defined in one single manner.
Overviewing Midlife Crisis
Midlife Crisis is not a formal diagnosable category and there is no particular age that it strikes someone. Even if one wishes to find an age range, midlife crisis could hit someone in between 38 to 50 years. Usually, an event is the reason that a crisis hits someone. For example, children have moved to other cities for job search or the demise of parents.
It is interesting to know that the term Midlife Crisis gained its popularity in the 1980s and occurred commonly amongst males and females. However, both the genders deal with the concept differently. For example, men wish to show their worth or prove something to the world whereas women like to evaluate themselves in terms of career and relationship as a spouse or mother.
What Are The Signs Of A Midlife Crisis?
Midlife crisis is related to change in behavior, according to American Psychological Association. Some examples include:
- Avoiding personal hygiene
- Sudden gain or loss of weight
- Changing moods like increased anger, sadness, and anxiety to irritation.
- Withdrawal from relationships and family members
- Change in sleep cycle
Other signs that you may not be noticing now include:
- You like to talk and debate about everything but do not take action to make things happen.
- You have no goal for now and life is simply running on an autopilot mode.
- The purpose of life and career is certainly not clear.
- Life seems stagnant and everything you have built by now seems worthless.
- You might be feeling jealous of others’ success.
- You have enough success but there is no sign of satisfaction.
How To Deal With A Midlife Crisis?
It is not that midlife crisis always comes with negative consequences, it is an opportunity for many people to grow from a new perspective. As soon as you identify your situation, you get the ultimate power to deal with the issue.
Make Life Meaningful Once Again
Take the midlife crisis as an opportunity to grow once again and renew the perspective of life. Now we know that it sounds very objective but let us help you in making things clear. The aspects that you can pick:
– Make health better again: It is time to change your dietary patterns and begin with the new exercises. Join swimming, tennis classes or any other physical activity to bring a newness and grow a new skill.
– Make new relationships: Join a club or reunite with friends who are encouraging enough to keep you going in life. In fact, learn a new skill together and enrich yourself.
– Give yourself spiritual wellness: Spiritual wellness is gained with a sense of calm and it comes through various means like focus exercise, meditation and Yoga. You can even focus on the goodness and learnings of your religion.
– Give a boost to your career: Even though you might have achieved heights in your career, you can still aim at new plans and long term growth goals.
Men and women, both need to give themselves a boost of self-care. Children are grown but it’s time to give Me Time or spend some romantic time with each other.
Break Off The Limits
Life could have been very fortunate or unfortunate by now. But whatever, realize that there is just one life. And you can enjoy it breaking off all the limits that bother you. Bring in some more positivity and let it sink in for the rest of your life. Do something extraordinary so that this midlife crisis never bothers you again.
Find A Counselor
There is no harm in consulting an unbiased counselor about how to steer your life in a new direction. A counselor can understand the issues you are going through, find the reasons behind it, and help you with finding solutions as per your wishes. Connect with a counselor soon and don’t suffer all alone.
Dealing with midlife crisis is easy only when you are self-energized with positive thoughts and lots of courage. Yes, there will be plenty of ups and downs but what makes you distinct is the ability to get through the midlife crisis smartly and passionately.
In the day and age when life seems so fast, people all over the world feel like they’ve missed the boat to joy and success. They feel like they’re stuck in the same old spot while everyone’s going places. All that pressure probably gets them thinking: “Where did it all go wrong?” This psychological phenomenon, filled with identity and self-confidence problems, is what we deem as midlife crisis.
The term “midlife crisis” was first coined in the 60s when Elliott Jaques described it as a psychological crisis fueled by thoughts of fast-approaching death and failure. This condition manifests through depression, remorse, and anxiety. People try to replicate a lifestyle more suited for the young to face these uneasy feelings. And, in some cases, they try to right the wrongs from their past.
While this period is mentioned regularly in popular culture, most people seem to identify this crisis with straight, middle-class males who go out buying sports cars and dating younger women. But in the bigger picture of demographically affected people, it’s not only exclusive to them. All races, genders, and sexual orientations can go through a midlife crisis. This condition isn’t exclusive to any group.
Midlife crisis often hits people of a particular age group — between 45 and 64. It’s said that males can suffer from it up to ten, while females, in extreme cases, go through it for up to five years. The most common triggers for this so-called crisis include work problems, couple issues, children growing up, parents passing away, or aging bodies. All of that translates into remorse, fear of humiliation, youth fetishization, and sexuality extremes (Know the most unusual sexual behaviors ever here). Here are some possible indicators or side effects of both female and male midlife crisis:
Depression is one of the clear indicators of a mid-life crisis and one of the most common illnesses of modern society. Whether it’s chemically driven or not, there’s no doubt it plays a significant role in a stressed-out adult. Midlife crises tend to put both men and women through a series of unresolved scenarios linked to depression itself.
This ailment manifests differently between individuals — from shifting mood swings to body problems. Therefore, it’s safe to say it’s a variable condition. That is precisely what makes it hard to handle. It will manifest as a lack of energy in most people. They will feel like an empty shell, without any juice left to run their motor. A common side effect will be plenty of unresolved tasks and neglected chores.
Another quite obvious indicator that somebody might be suffering from depression is lack of appetite. Aside from it being bad for the person’s body, it’ll make social interaction way harder. Healthy people tend to gather around food — suffering people don’t. In extreme cases, it can even lead to severe weight loss, sometimes on the verge of anorexia.
Once a person is out of focus and begins questioning their life decisions, they could be virtue-signaling that something’s wrong with them. And if their energy levels appear to have dropped, and they start evading meals, depression is likely the culprit. Unfortunately, middle-aged adults often seem to respond radically. They try to resolve these problems with pure materialistic and nihilistic actions.
Bigger Demands From Relationships
Even if the crisis manifests differently in males and females at times, both always affect relationships. People going through ti might feel like they’re missing out on sex and might start demanding more in the sack. Whether it’s kinky stuff or more frequent intercourse, it almost always ends badly. Often, their partners aren’t into it or just can’t live up to their desires.
The frustration caused by the lack of sexual gratification could result in impulsive decisions and, in a lot of cases, affairs and infidelity. That can further lead to divorces and broken households. Interestingly enough, both sexes usually go for younger lovers. Such a huge age gap in affairs represents these people’s desire to return to their younger years and once again feel attractive like back in the day.
On the other hand, those who don’t delve into infidelity project their new sexual fantasies onto often unwilling partners. Some argue that people suffering from midlife crisis might endanger others if they let their impulses overcome them. Even if they’re unaware and don’t want to hurt others, their psychological problems could take the best of them.
Another classic sign of significant life problems is when adults become nostalgic. But not in the way of seeing an old photo and remembering childhood, but in the form of always bringing up adolescent times or even trying to recreate them. Their crisis of adult life may sometimes even lead them to some pathetic actions, like shaming family and friends.
People who’ve gone through midlife crisis talk about how they were obsessed with the randomness of their younger lives. They were predominantly troubled by all of their missed opportunities. That inevitably led to their trying to swim in those waters once again, often failing miserably.
That usually happens once or soon after they hit their 40th birthday. They begin thinking about their mortality more. And that fear of wasted years usually takes them on their desperate quest for exciting. But all that remains at the end of the day is guilt and shame.
Drinking Problems or Substance Abuse
The crisis of adult life fools people into believing substance abuse can help their situation. Although some try to replicate their high school or college days, others know they can’t. That’s why they turn to alcoholism full of self-loathing. Drugs usually accompany their whiskeys and beers, making the situation even worse.
Although alcohol is present everywhere, it plays a crucial part in the crises of adult life. Trying to numb the pain of depression and anger, men and women often turn toward the bottle. However, that is a path that only leads to them going deeper down the rabbit hole. These actions can often escalate into domestic violence or self-abuse. In other cases, it’s only embarrassing behavior that shames family and friends.
All of that only further hurts both them and their close ones. It can often blur the reality just enough so that those in crisis lose track of what they’re running from. Overall, since not everyone can buy a sports car or get a hot young lover, many people decide to take the easy route toward numbing their pain — a quick fix. Cases of midlife crisis don’t always involve alcohol and drugs, but when they do, they become a living hell!
Are you in your 40s, 50s, or 60s and can’t shake the question, “How did I get here so fast?” Is it accompanied by others such as “Have I accomplished anything?” and “Are my best years behind me?” If these thoughts sound familiar, you may be experiencing a midlife crisis.
Let’s take a closer look at where these feelings come from and how you can deal in a helpful way.
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While a midlife crisis is not a formally diagnosable condition, society often uses it to represent the turmoil many people feel at what they consider the midpoint (or transitional point) of their lives.
“In some ways, midlife crises are a normal part of the journey of life,” says Fineman. “The human existence is uncertain, despite our subconscious efforts to create certainty and stability in our lives.
“When this illusory certainty is shaken up, people lose their connection to how they previously understood the world to make sense. The anxiety that follows is unpleasant for many.”
A midlife crisis may present differently in everyone, but some general signs mark it.
A few symptoms of a midlife crisis to look out for are:
- making rash decisions
- fluctuations in mood
- dramatic routine changes
These may manifest as quitting a long-term job, buying something expensive, sinking into depression, or a different sleep schedule. Another common characteristic of midlife crises is sinking into regret.
“Often such crises can cause a person to look back over the past few decades and feel regret over the journey they’ve taken, whether it’s spending time with the wrong person or staying in a career they were ‘betrayed’ by after losing their job recently,” says Dr. Brian Wind, clinical psychologist and chief clinical officer of Journey Pure.
“Others may look back at happier days and regret their current situation, which can sometimes make it harder to bounce back from a midlife crisis.”
Many of the associated symptoms are negative, but not all of them. In a 2017 study, researchers found that quarter or mid-life crises actually brought curiosity to some. This manifestation may present as openness to new ideas and greater consideration of the world.
Various life occurrences and feelings can cause a midlife crisis to occur.
Keeping an accomplishment scorecard
No matter what a person accomplishes, there could still be lingering feelings that they haven’t done enough.
“Everyone has expectations on things they think they should have done or could have done. When those expectations are not reached it is difficult to accept the reality of what your life has become,” says Sasha Jackson, MSW, LCSW, a licensed therapist.
Feeling like the clock is ticking
As you age, the window of opportunity to chase new paths and experiences may feel like it’s closing.
“A person may also feel like they have limited time to achieve their goals, which can make it harder for them to recover from events such as a divorce or job loss compared to a younger person,” says Wind.
Losing some things
Similar to feeling like time is fleeting, it can be hard to cope with personal losses, like not having as much energy as before, changes in physical appearance, or even the loss of some relationships.
“Some people find great joy in reflecting on their lives and their achievements and meaning. Others don’t feel so ready to accept those limitations or to grieve those losses, and so they can enter periods of depression or anxiety,” says Bognar.
“The pain of those experiences is brutal and sad, and many people seek to change the situation rather than to grieve it. Rather than cope with the fact that they are an aging person in an aging body, they may try to undertake activities that are risky for their health. Rather than accept that they have adult responsibilities, they might choose to be frivolous with their money.”
Going through a big transition
A person may enter a midlife crisis after experiencing a big life change. Fineman says this can include divorce, loss of a job, death of a parent, or moving.
Death may be inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any easier to consider.
“It is difficult for some to face the concept of mortality and aging. When this reality is more apparent, due to age, this can make a person wish to regress,” says Jackson. Choosing to regress can lead to a full-blown midlife crisis.
If you experience a midlife crisis, it can feel overwhelming, and almost impossible to shake. But with the right outlook and guidance, you can manage.
“The easy solution is to reduce it by distractions and numbing out the discomfort that has suddenly emerged,” says Fineman. “The harder — but ultimately necessary — path forward is to lean into the destabilizing feelings and take a good look at what lies beneath. What gives your life meaning? How comfortable are you with uncertainty and impermanence? How open are you to the inevitability of death?”
It’s natural to have a sense of isolation when experiencing something challenging like this, but remember you’re not alone. Finding community is a great way to cope as well. Speak to close friends or relatives around your age who’ve had similar feelings or who may have gone through a midlife crisis.
Speaking to a mental health professional or seeking additional support can be critical if a midlife crisis begins to interfere with your life or become painful. Consider speaking to a therapist to receive targeted coping mechanisms based on the symptoms you’re exhibiting.
Therapy can also help you get clarity about what’s important to you, and help reaffirm your values and whether you’re living them out.
Alternatively, or in addition to therapy, seek out reputable resources such as self-help books, meditation apps, and affirmation journals.
A midlife crisis is a normal experience that comes along when a person might struggle with processing a transitional period of life. Coping requires you to focus on the things that make you happy and accomplishments that make you proud, as well as accepting what has come before.
You can overcome a midlife crisis by looking inward to reassess your priorities and potentially seeking advice from a mental health professional.
How often have you heard a person in their late 40s and early 50s tell you that they are done with life, going through a hard time, facing an existential crisis, or something else along those lines? I’m sure it’s happened quite a few times, which is why you might be afraid of a midlife crisis, too.
What Is a Midlife Crisis?
The term “midlife crisis” is used very loosely. A man who had a tough day at his job or a new mom who couldn’t sleep well at night might throw this term around in their conversations, for instance.
While having a midlife crisis is possible in either situation, it’s not as broad as people perceive it to be. Some even believe that there’s no such thing as a midlife crisis!
Now, it’s up to you whether you agree with that or not, but the truth is that there is a repetitive crisis trend in most people in their 40s and 50s.
What Causes a Midlife Crisis?
We generally develop a routine in our lives, which revolve around office, family, and friends. A hectic week is often followed by a party-heavy weekend, and the circle goes on. When this cycle is disturbed in the slightest, it feels inconvenient for us. It’s notably harder if this disturbance occurs in the middle age when you’ve entirely lost the tendency to adjust to changes.
Aside from that, people are losing their sense of satisfaction. No matter how high-quality your lifestyle is, the happiness curve starts to drop from your teenage years until you turn 50 before it starts rising again.((HBR: Facing Your Mid-Career Crisis))
So, what happens is that you feel like the slightest inconvenience has put their life in jeopardy. Naturally, around this time, a lot of changes have already occurred. E.g., financial loss, health issues, career shift, death of a loved one, emotional loss, divorce, etc.
With the already depleting happiness graph, a significant change like the ones mentioned above shakes up the person entirely. In other words, their perspective on life becomes very negative. Everything seems to be falling apart. It is the small things that pile up in this age and put the person through a tough time, after all.
3 Signs That You’re Going Through a Midlife Crisis
A midlife crisis is not just a minor source of inconvenience. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out if you’re a victim of an existential crisis or just going through a bad day. Here are some signs that indicate a midlife crisis.
1. Physical Signals
It’s easy to spot the physical signs. More often than not, people only realize that something’s wrong after noticing changes in their bodies.
Physical symptoms of a midlife crisis are pretty similar to those of depression.((Neuro Spa: Signs You Are Experiencing Depression vs. a Midlife Crisis)) The most common effect shows on your bodyweight. You can either gain or lose a lot of it. Either way, there’s usually no definite explanation for the change except that your life doesn’t feel the same.
You may experience unexpected pains and aches, too. For example, you suddenly start feeling excruciating pain in your lower back without reason. One day, your arms ache. The next day, you get a headache out of the blue.
A midlife crisis can increase your insecurities. You may become obsessed with your physical looks, especially your smile, eyes, and body shape.
On the other hand, some people completely lose interest in their appearance and stop making an effort to look presentable. Their hair is messed up, and they don’t dress up, among other things.
2. Emotional Indicators
For men, the emotional signs of a midlife crisis can be a bit alarming. Things like mood swings are linked to women for the most part, but this stereotype is broken to pieces when a man experiences irritability for no reason during a midlife crisis. For women, mood swings can worsen.
Other than uncontrollable emotions, your mind gets overpowered with jealousy. Everyone and everything around you gives you a sense of inferiority, making you want what they have. Instead of feeling happy for your loved ones’ success, you become envious.
Your emotions are all over the place when you deal with a midlife crisis. You lose interest in things that you once loved to do. Your hobbies no longer sound appealing; everything seems boring for you. Worse, your mind is unable to look forward to the future. You seem to lose your vision and put your life on hold.
Furthermore, you tend to deal with relationship dissatisfaction.((Good Therapy: Midlife Crisis)) Say, you may have been in an extremely happy marriage for decades, but you are over it now. You may even consider welcoming separation or divorce.
3. Irrational Behavior
Your emotional and physical changes naturally lead to irrational behavior. You begin to question everything you do in life; you never feel like you’re on the right track anymore.
You either oversleep or don’t sleep at all. Everything is senseless and scattered. Although you realize what’s happening, you don’t have enough motivation to fix it.
How to Deal With a Midlife Crisis
If you think you’re going through a midlife crisis, that’s great! With this identification comes the power to tackle the issue.
Two simple steps will help you work on your current situation. As you work on these elements, you’ll be able to return to your happy life slowly yet steadily.
Find the New Meaning of Life
An existential crisis is not an inconvenience but a hidden opportunity that may help you shift your perspective positively. To find this hidden opportunity, you need to find the new meaning of life.
It is best to do it with a clear head. Then, you can divide life into six aspects and work through them chronologically.
- Health: Eat well, maintain your bodily strength, and be ready to fight the life challenges physically.
- Relationships: Surround yourself with encouraging people instead of ill-meaning ones.
- Career: Focus on a steady job with long-term goals to avoid wandering around aimlessly.
- Wealth: Don’t be blinded by the love of money and have a steady source of income to live a comfortable life.
- Spiritual Wellness: Calm yourself to gain inner peace.
- Mental Strength: Work on your weak spots to strengthen your mind and deal with emotional challenges.
As said earlier, men and women experience a midlife crisis differently:
However, regardless of your gender, if you use the six-aspect approach, you’ll end up in a brighter, more positive space in the end.
This technique will give you a new paradigm so that you can look away from the triggering changes that have caused the midlife crisis and pay attention to the new meaning of your life.
Find out in this article about finding meaning in life: How To Find Meaning in Life: 9 Simple Ways
Break Free From Your Limits
With your new life perspective, you can start to look at each misfortunate event as a hidden opportunity. A financial loss, for example, will give you a chance to find a new income source, which is more sustainable than the last one. This is when you break free from all limits and excel beyond imagination.
Try to develop a long-term strategy so that this positivity continues throughout the rest of your life. This way, a similar crisis won’t reoccur later.
Luckily, a midlife crisis is an easily manageable problem when you have a strong body and mind and a healthy dose of courage. If you have all that and more, you can beat the midlife crisis in no time!
For some, midlife is a difficult transitional stage of life.
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Someone once said to me, “If it weren’t so cliché, I’d think I was having a midlife crisis.” Nothing is cliche or trite about a midlife crisis. If you talk to middle-aged men and women who have experienced divorce, you will find that many of them will tell you their spouse changed overnight and became someone who discarded all that was once important to him for a new life that was all about what he wanted.
A midlife crisis is experienced between the ages of 40 and 60. It was first identified by the psychologist Carl Jung and is a normal part of the maturing process. Most people will experience some form of emotional transition during that time of life. A transition that might cause them to take stock in where they are in life and make some needed adjustments to the way they live their life. Most seem to come through the process smoothly without making major life changes.
For some, a midlife crisis is more complicated. It can be an uncomfortable time emotionally which can lead to depression and the need for psychotherapy.
Those Who Go Into a Midlife Crisis Might Experience
- Unhappiness with life and the lifestyle that may have provided them with happiness for many years.
- Boredom with people and things that may have been of interest to them before.
- Feeling a need for adventure and change.
- Questioning the choices, they have made in their lives and the validity of decisions they made years before.
- Confusion about who they are and where they are going.
- Anger at their spouse and blame for feeling tied down.
- Unable to make decisions about where they want to go with their life.
- Doubt that they ever loved their spouse and resentment over the marriage.
- A desire for a new and passionate, intimate relationship.
Most people who have a difficult time during midlife and go into crisis mode do so because of external factors. They may be experiencing stress in their life that makes the transition more difficult or they may have childhood issue that were never dealt with that come to the surface during this time.
3 External Factors That May Cause a Crisis
1 . Debt
It is easier to accumulate debt due to the availability of credit cards and loans. We are bombarded by credit card companies and it is easy to find yourself with large balances owed. We live in a society where it is commonplace to be living above our means. Finding yourself middle-aged, in debt and facing retirement can add stress to an already stressful time in life. A normal reaction would be to seek help from a debt management company or consolidate your loans. A person who is finding it difficult emotionally during midlife might find it easier to walk away from their family in order to rid himself of what he feels is the cause of all the debt.
2 . Significant Loss
The death of a parent or family member can cause grief, which is difficult enough to come to terms with, without having to also cope with the feelings of a midlife transition. Put the loss of a loved one with the feelings that accompany midlife and the whole process becomes bewildering and overwhelming.
3 . Avoidant Personality
If a person has a tendency to avoid conflict in their personal relationships, suffers from feelings of inadequacy, are emotionally distant and has low self-esteem they will find midlife transition harder to navigate. This personality type has a deep fear of feeling shame and rejection. Such feelings will keep them from seeking help should their emotions become overwhelming. More than likely, they will run from their problems instead of trying to find solutions to them. It’s this personality type that normally ends up in divorce court during midlife.
Whether there are external factors that make the process more difficult or not, there is an internal process that is gone through. If a person lacks understanding of the process, he may find himself making irrational decisions he may later regret such as leaving a job, divorcing his spouse and throwing away the security that he built during the first part of his life.
by Mike Zhang
Generally, a person’s midlife spans from 40 to 65 years. It really depends more on the physical and emotional status of the individual. If your husband thinks that he already experienced half of his life and is not satisfied with what he has accomplished, then he will start having a midlife crisis.
As a supportive wife, you will need to handle this season of his life well. Here are tips on how to do it.
Accept the Fact that Your Husband Is Having a Midlife Crisis.
You should never treat a midlife crisis as something that is light and easy to solve. It is no laughing matter for husbands who are currently in this season. According to a phone survey conducted at Cornell University, 25 percent of men experience a midlife crisis.
If you are validating his feelings, you are giving him a safe environment wherein he can freely talk about his feelings and concerns. You are allowing him to open up to you without being judged or condemned.
Treating him as someone who is distressed with his life can also push you to be more assertive in alleviating his anxieties and burdens. You put it upon yourself to help your husband get through his predicament.
Change is Good.
It may not feel right at first, especially if the changes that he experiences are not great. Wrinkles on the face, backaches, illnesses, missed opportunities, career moves, life decisions—these are just some of the changes that your husband may see in the mirror.
At the onset, some changes in his life may not seem good. He may feel like he has made some incorrect choices in his life, particularly in regard to his family, his job, and himself.
Appreciate him more during this time. Assure him that everything is going to be okay because you and your husband are together, facing anything that comes your way. Change may be the only thing that is constant in the world, but you should also tell him that you will always be with him to face these changes.
Do Recreational Activities Together.
To keep his mind off his midlife crisis, you can choose to do some fun activities together. Biking, hiking, and other outdoor hobbies are nice choices that you can both do. Even if you are not used to doing these kinds of pastimes, getting out of the house and experiencing your environment and smelling the fresh air can bring new life to your husband.
Do you know that doing stuff together also creates a deeper connection between couples? If you are doing things together, you are able to know more about your spouse. You can see him in a different light.
These activities also provide a way for you to talk and communicate with your husband. You will understand his feelings more. By connecting with him, you are also relieving his worries and concerns about the next chapter of his life.
Ask Him About His Fears and Reservations.
The simplest way to handle your husband’s midlife crisis is just to sit him down and ask him about it. What are his doubts in life? Does he have uncertainties that he cannot figure out? Is there any fear that he is anticipating in this period of time?
By understanding what is going on in his mind, you will be more in tune with what he is thinking about and can make recommendations on what he needs to do. You can know the right things to say to encourage him and make him more comfortable and stress-free.
You can also avoid conversations that will remind him of his midlife crisis. Instead, you can keep him focused on what is really important: his own well-being and his family.
Learn More About His Standards.
Men usually set standards about what they need to achieve in particular sections of their lives. This may be in terms of career, family, sexual satisfaction, and overall happiness.
If your husband is not able to reach his goals and standards, he becomes disappointed with his life. Ask him about his aspirations and dreams. Know more about his future plans for your family. Inquire about his views on joy and gladness.
After intently listening and taking notes of his standards, you can then reassure your husband that he is doing well. Tell him that you are very pleased that you chose him as your husband. Appease him by sharing your satisfaction with his intimacies. You can also say to him that you will support him every step of the way.
Give More Attention to Him.
Since your husband is having problems right now, you should give more time and energy to him. You can focus more on his needs as your spouse. Cater to his wants as much as possible.
About the Author
Mike Zhang is the Founder of FamilyLifeShare. FamilyLifeShare aims to share cool knowledge and unique experience about family life, marriage, love, relationships, parenting, and life tips.
Many men go through a phase when they take a hard look at the life they’re living. They think they could be happier, and if they need to make a big change, they feel the urge to do it soon.
These thoughts can trigger a midlife crisis. By realizing you’re in this phase, then making wise choices, you can steer yourself out of a midlife crisis and into a happier life.
How to Spot a Midlife Crisis
A true midlife crisis usually involves changing your entire life in a hurry, says Calvin Colarusso, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. An example is a man he counseled who wrote a note to his wife, withdrew his money from the bank, and moved to another city without warning.
This type of midlife crisis is rare, Colarusso says. More often, men go through a midlife process in which they make smaller changes over time.
“You might tell your wife, ‘IвЂ™ve got to get out of this job,’ and you do. Or you say to your wife, ‘IвЂ™m done. The marriage isnвЂ™t working for me.’ You donвЂ™t change everything and you donвЂ™t do it frantically,” he says. “And for many people, after this agonizing reappraisal, they decide to stay with what theyвЂ™ve got.”
Signs that you’re going through this midlife phase, or that you may soon, include:
You’ve hit your 40th birthday. Colarusso, who has a special interest in issues that affect adults as they age, most often sees men struggling with these midlife questions in their 40s and early 50s.
You’re uneasy about major elements in your life. Colarusso says this may include not being satisfied with your career, your marriage, or your health, and feeling the urge to take action to make them better.
You feel that your time for taking a new direction is running short. Many men feel a pressing need to make changes, Colarusso says, when:
- They notice that their appearance is changing or their stamina isn’t as high as it used to be.
- They become a grandfather.
- A friend or parent dies.
However, it’s not inevitable to go through a midlife crisis when those things happen.
You’re making unusual choices. Men may go through a “teenage-like rebellion” at this point in their lives, says Boston psychologist Lynn Margolies, PhD. “A sure sign you may be in a midlife crisis is if you are feeling trapped and very tempted to act out in ways that will blow up your life,” she says. These may include:
- Drinking more.
- Having an affair.
- Leaving your family.
- Feeling that your life no longer fits you.
- You’re more concerned about your appearance.
- You feel more desire for excitement and thrills.
Navigating Your Midlife Issues
A midlife crisis can lead to “growth or destruction” for men, Margolies says. You can look for the causes of the unhappiness you feel, then make thoughtful decisions to address them. That’s growth.
On the other hand, making impulsive decisions, like trading in your familiar life for a relationship with a younger partner that quickly ends or buying a car you can’t afford, leads to destruction.
During this season of your life, be sure to:
- Remember that your feelings aren’t commands. Just because you feel like you have to escape your home, job, or marriage doesn’t mean you have to actually do it, Margolies says. These feelings may indeed point to problems that need solving. But they may also fade or change over time.
- Be thankful for the good things. Take time to be grateful for the parts of your life that make you happy, Margolies says. Ask yourself how you’d feel if you took an action that caused you to lose them.
- Talk it over. Before you make major decisions, discuss them with someone whose advice you’ll trust, Colarusso says. A friend, pastor, or mental health professional can give you another opinion on whether you’re making wise choices.
- Ask whether your wishes are realistic. Men make plenty of successful changes in their 40s and beyond: Going back to college, traveling the world, or starting their own business. Just make sure your new goals are practical and within your grasp.
- Avoid jolting your loved ones. “Realize that you may not need to blow up your life to be happy,” Margolies says. “But if it needs to be dismantled, then doing so thoughtfully will be less destructive to the people around you.”
Calvin Colarusso, MD, training and supervising analyst , San Diego Psychoanalytic Institute.
Lynn Margolies, PhD, psychologist, Newton, Mass.
Many people find that as they get older, they undergo a mid life crisis. This crisis of identity often happens between ages 35 and 55. Men and women alike may worry that they are no longer part of the active world and that life has passed them by.
The stereotype of a mid life crisis men is that they will buy a sports car and otherwise try to act much younger. Women may act out in less obvious ways, but be just as concerned with the idea that they are losing their youth, their attractiveness, and their effectiveness.
Here are 9 simple and effective to deal with a mid life crisis and to reach a new feeling of satisfaction with your life.
1. Are You Actually Having a Mid Life Crisis?
It is worthwhile to figure out whether the problems you are having are part of a mid life crisis or are coming from a deeper and more serious source. It may be helpful to talk with a therapist.
When they are undergoing a mid life crisis, men stereotypically want to make huge changes in their lives, from leaving a marriage to leaving a career. Women are more likely to feel dissatisfaction with their career or home life, and to be concerned with their attractiveness.
A huge change that affects couples is when children leave home or go to college. “Empty nest syndrome” is not the same thing as a midlife crisis, but the two problems can be intertwined.
2. Think About New Goals
If you feel that your old life goals are no longer meaningful, midlife is a great time to change them. Giving up on your previous dreams can be very hard, but changing your expectations will help you feel better about yourself. Mid life crisis women may find this tip especially helpful.
3. Be Thankful
Even though you are feeling dissatisfied with your life, it’s worthwhile to sit down and make a list of everything you’re thankful for. This can help take the focus off your problems and remind you that you have accomplished a lot in your life. Mid life crisis men need to pay attention to this tip in particular.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Constantly comparing yourself to others your age can be damaging to your self esteem. It may seem that others “have everything,” but consider that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. Especially on social media, where people’s lives are curated, you might get a distorted picture of what people’s lives are like.
5. Be Careful When Making Changes
If you’ve carefully considered your life and feel like you do need to make a change, talk to a therapist or a trusted friend first. For example, if you think your marriage is floundering and that you need to leave, make sure you have realistic expectations. If you truly have marriage problems, involve your spouse in fixing them until it is impossible.
6. Volunteer Your Time
If you are feeling ineffective and down on yourself, taking time to volunteer in the community may be just what you need to feel better. Spending time with children and young people will invigorate you. Mid life crisis women may be especially interested in this.
7. Try Something New
Trying something new may help you shake up your doldrums. Whether it’s a new hobby, a new area to visit, or a new skill, making a positive change may help you. Making these small changes may stave off your itch to make huge and irreversible changes in your life.
8. Realize You Are Loved
Spend quality time with your friends and family members. Being a kind source of support to friends and family is another way to stave off the self-centered feelings of the midlife crisis.
9. It’s Not Necessarily A Bad Thing
A mid life crisis isn’t necessarily a disaster. Being honest with yourself about your feelings and thoughts can help you draw up new ways to move forward with your life. Acknowledge your feelings, don’t try to sweep them under the rug or they will only get worse.
A midlife crisis can be a difficult time for both men and women. It is worth thinking carefully about all the aspects of your life and seeing where you can make positive changes to foster your self esteem. Be careful when making any changes, and try to stay positive.
The dissatisfaction felt during a midlife crisis is a natural part of leaving young adulthood, but it doesn’t have to completely uproot your life. Make changes that will help you move forward in a thoughtful way.
If your 50-year-old husband wakes up one morning and tells you life has passed him by, you may have visions of him zooming off in a red Porsche with a new partner half his age. Don’t panic! Your husband’s midlife crisis doesn’t necessarily mean you’re headed for divorce court. How he chooses to handle it is up to him, but there are things you can do to support him and keep your marriage in tact. (Dealing with a wife’s midlife crisis? Read our companion blog: 7 Tips for Surviving Your Wife’s Midlife Crisis!)
What’s A Midlife Crisis, Exactly?
Scientist Elliot Jacques coined the term in 1965. After studying life patterns of creative geniuses, he found that many underwent changes in personal style and a decline in productivity starting at age 35. At this age, Jacques wrote, people begin to bump up against their limitations and realize their horizons aren’t infinite. They grow discontented, question their choices, and wonder what they should do with the time they have left.
Do All Men Go Through A Midlife Crisis?
No. But certain men are more vulnerable to this life passage:
- Married men may feel trapped in jobs they hate but can’t quit because they need to support their families.
- Men define themselves by their ability to make money and perform sexually; if they’re not meeting their own standards, they may descend into midlife despair.
- Those with physical and/or mental health conditions may feel an acute struggle with their limitations.
Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis
According to Psychology Today, symptoms include:
- Discontentment that replaces previous fulfillment
- Restlessness, desire to do something different, but not sure what
- Questioning past decisions and the meaning of life
- Identity crisis: who am I and what do I want?
- Substance abuse or increase in unhealthy behaviors
- Increased or decreased sex drive
- Affairs, typically with younger women
- Decreased or increased ambition
- Irritable and critical (generally, his moodiness is not about you, but about his dissatisfaction with himself).
What You Can Do To Support Your Husband
- Realize is midlife crisis is normal. Many men go through this phase, although some have a more extreme response than others.
- Support his desires and join in when you can. As long as he can afford the new sports car, don’t give him a hard time for buying it. And don’t roll your eyes when he takes up a hobby you think is ridiculous; if he wants to learn to tango, make sure you’re his dance partner.
- Give him attention. Men want to be admired and appreciated. Tell him you love him and are attracted to him. Be kind and patient (yes, it’s a challenge).
- Work on yourself. If your energy is primarily focused on your family, it’s time to pursue your own passions: yoga, gardening, writing that memoir you’ve always thought about. Nurture your friendships. The more satisfaction you derive from your own interests, the less dependent you’ll be on your husband for your happiness. And remember: you’re not responsible for his happiness either.
- Self-care. You’re not supposed to look the way you did at 20 (or 30 or 40), but if you buy into the myth that women are invisible after 40, you’ll start to feel invisible. Don’t exercise to get a flat stomach; work out for health reasons and the feel-good hormones exercise creates. You may not be able to wear the clothes you did 20 years ago, but you can still rock a new style post-menopause. There’s nothing anti-feminist about wanting to look good for your husband. Don’t you want him to look good for you?
- Get couples counseling. If your husband’s midlife crisis has caused him to pull away, or if you suspect he’s having an affair, you need professional help. Tell him calmly that your marriage is having its own midlife crisis and your current situation is untenable. Ask him to go to with you to therapy. It may take a few attempts, but continue to raise the issue – without nagging and ultimatums. Men who resist couples therapy usually scramble to get it when they realize their marriage depends on it. If he refuses to go? Get your own counseling and decide whether or not you want to stay in the marriage.
- Work on life goals together. Being married doesn’t mean you automatically know what your husband wants, especially if his desires change. Sit down together and write down how you imagine the rest of your life to be. You may discover you have a common sense of purpose, which will unite you.
One important reminder: Bad behavior due to a midlife crisis shouldn’t be excused, and — although he may hint or say other otherwise — you didn’t do anything to give him a midlife crisis. As difficult as this time may be right now, focus your energy on being the best person you can be, and invite him to do the same.
During a midlife crisis on the part of either spouse, some couples may question the state of their marriage. We understand that having your spouse announce from seemingly out of nowhere, “I want a divorce!” is extremely upsetting and confusing. Do they really mean it? Can your marriage be saved? And how can you protect yourself, and your kids? We welcome you to schedule a free consultation to speak with a family law attorney to understand the divorce process, and get an idea of all your options, including reconciliation! Knowledge is power, and can be what helps you get through this tough time with less worry. Please contact us today to scheduled your free, no obligation consultation.