We’ve all heard of the famous midlife crisis, but what happens when it actually hits? How do you handle it if you feel like your relationship is falling apart because your partner is experiencing one? What do you do if you’re in the middle of a midlife crisis? This is a topic that not many people think about, but it does not mean that it is not a common issue. We work with clients on a weekly basis who come to us for help because their relationship is being threatened by a person’s midlife crisis. That is why I wanted to write this article for you today.
In it, I will be going over what a midlife crisis is exactly, how men and women experience it differently, and then I will be going over concrete tools to help you navigate through this in the most productive way. A crisis does not mean that your relationship has to be doomed. It can definitely be a challenging period, but as we often tell our clients, sometimes the most challenging times can pave the way to a relationship that is better than ever before.
You can work through this and if you can approach it in the right way, you can create a new bond that brings you closer than ever. We see it happen time after time, so let’s dive into how to make this happen for you, too!
What is a midlife crisis: The definition
When you start to think about this topic, your mind can fill with questions. “What is a midlife crisis?” “When is a midlife crisis?” “Is this a normal age to be having a midlife crisis…?” So let’s start things off with a simple definition of a midlife crisis.
It is when you are experiencing anxiety over the direction and quality of your life. It’s a period of anxiety, doubt, and disappointment related to your career path, your relationship or marriage, or even your finances. Everything is called into question and it feels like you aren’t standing on solid ground. It feels like you’re unsure of all the choices you have made up until now. People often associate a midlife crisis with a middle-aged man who leaves his wife and children to get a blonde, 20-year-old girlfriend and get a red corvette, but a mid-life crisis can happen as early as in a person’s 20s and 30s. This would technically be called a quarter life crisis, but it is basically the same thing.
It can also be defined as the fear of not having goals, or feeling like the goals that you have set for yourself are not attainable. Chidden and work, or lack thereof can also be causes of stress when you are experiencing a midlife crisis. It is an identity crisis that makes a person feel the need to redefine their values, and it comes in stages. The first stage is shock, then denial. Then depression, followed by anger, and then finally acceptance.
The reasons behind a midlife crisis are rooted in fears. For example, the fear of getting old, the fear of missing out on things, fear of death or illness, or even the loss of swagger! The good news is that a midlife crisis does not last forever, and as time goes on, it will begin to feel less acute, less intense, and you begin to find peace. A crisis is a strained period, but it is not the “new normal.” I know that many people panic and fear that they’ll be stuck in it forever, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that you’re already on this website, reading this article means that you’re searching you’ve got a solution-oriented mindset. We can help you to recalibrate the situation to help you find peace and joy in your personal life AND in your relationship again.
In fact, I am currently working with a client who has a wife that is in a mid-life crisis. She’s frustrated, feels her life has passed her by and that she’s spent the entire marriage focussed on everyone other than herself. She started to go out more and make new friends, started drinking more, had little patience with her husband, and ultimately said she needed to get her own place. She moved out with one of their children back to her parents and refused to speak with him.
Shortly after her move out, her husband began working with me. Together, we dove into their relationship – the good, the bad, and the causes of her stress. We established an “action plan” where he focussed on making appropriate changes to his life – he worked on his need to control her, his unwillingness to let her have a life of her own, and his belief that his wife’s role is solely to be a caretaker to their children. After several weeks, he reached out to her to share what he’s learned and all that he’s doing and she was thankful. So thankful in fact that she asked to spend more time together. They still do not live together, but they are “dating” again for the first time in years. He gives her space, lets her feel value, and reinforces how sexy and attractive he finds her to be. Slowly, she’s opening up to him again and is excited by their relationship.
Handling a middle age crisis in men and women
Another question I often receive has to do with the difference in midlife crises between men and women. How do the two sexes experience them differently? Well, in women we most often see a midlife crisis occur when the children leave the house – either for school or to start their own lives. They’ll become obsessed with their health and suddenly want to reshape their body image. There is often a deep desire to feel young again and to reconnect with their younger self.
They’ll yearn for a lifestyle change that ensures more money, more comfort, and more opportunities. It often coincides with menopause which is a natural decline in hormones in your 40s or 50s. Like men, they’ll experience existential issues about not having reached their full potential, and there will be biological and psychological changes.
In regards to men, they will also experience these doubts about reaching their full potential and about the choices they’ve made. Men will experience more psychological changes than physical changes (they do not experience menopause). Fortunately, there are solutions for everyone and I’d like to dive into those. It is my goal that by the end of this article, you have a concrete idea about how to make positive changes that will start to bring you joy in your personal and romantic life!
Am I having a midlife crisis: how to handle it
The best thing you can possibly do when you are experiencing a midlife crisis is to limit sudden, impulsive, big life-changing decisions. Make sure that you include your loved ones and be mindful of how your decisions are impacting them. It’s very easy to be caught up in your own emotions and needs when you’re in the middle of a midlife crisis, but challenge yourself to really pay attention to how all of this affects the people you love.
The next step is to try and understand why you made certain commitments and choices. This will help you to reconnect with the positive emotions associated with these elements of your life, and it will help you to stay in touch with the things that make you happy. Don’t try to fight and resist this transformation. Instead, think about the positive elements of your life and try to hold on to those, while analyzing what changes you need to make in order to make your future even happier. Work on redefining new goals for yourself and think in terms of short-term, medium-term, and long-term.
You are going to have to be kind to yourself and patience because this is something that will take some time. It doesn’t all fall into place overnight and it requires perseverance, organization, and personal development work. The more aware you are, the better! So try to find happiness not in the absence of pain and loss, but in the acceptance of change. You can make changes to help break the routine and make your life feel fresh again. You can do this by challenging yourself to do one new thing every single week. The more you do, the better you will start to feel. Sometimes we just need to experience new activities and emotions in order to start to feel happier.
The thing is, the more you resist the transformation, the longer it will take to overcome. So, challenge yourself to be aware of the situation, be honest with yourself about what you can do to grant yourself access to a new chapter of life that makes you truly happy. The emotions that you experience during a midlife crisis are valid, but it’s important to take your time with it so that you can make sure that you don’t wind up having regrets later on down the line. If you want to quickly overcome a midlife crisis, actively work towards something greater than yourself. You can also work with a coach like me or a member of my team because a helping hand can go a long way when everything feels so foreign. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by clicking here!
How to handle a midlife crisis when it’s your partner’s!
When your significant other is going through a midlife crisis, it can feel very challenging to figure out how you are supposed to handle it. One thing to keep in mind right off the bat is that confidence and wellbeing is attractive, so if you can make sure that you’re working on keeping yourself happy, your partner will also see you in a positive light. One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to accept your partner for the person that they are, and to not be disappointed because they are not being the person you want them to be.
You can work on becoming close again by smiling and matching their body position, eye contact and positive body language, and using nonverbal messages. You can reestablish intimacy without words and that will transfer into your physical actions as well. You want to make your partner feel comfortable and confident in the relationship while he or she is dealing with this challenging period, and part of that happens by taking care of yourself and allowing your positive energy to flow into the relationship.
Make sure you give your partner space, especially if he’s a man. Men highly value freedom and independence, so make sure that you have plenty of interesting things going on and that you’re independent as well. Be desirable, avoid complaining, drama, and negativity, and make sure that you take care of yourself physically as well. Work on developing your ability to relate and empathize and create a safe environment for you to both be able to communicate. Don’t judge or backbite, or talk badly about others.
Make time for space, affection, respect, and sex, and build your partner up! Be there for him or her, and don’t say hurtful things when you are arguing. This process is going to take some time, so just focus on today, creating a positive environment, and make changes that help to break the routine. Make yourself happy and don’t let your partner’s midlife crisis affect your well-being and happiness! It isn’t easy, I know. But once again, we are here for you if you need a helping hand. I also recommend checking out our YouTube Channel where we have created many videos about how to manage a midlife crisis. Just click the link to see them.
Getting to the other side of a midlife crisis
Fortunately, a midlife crisis does not last forever. It’s all about anxiety over the direction and quality of a person’s life, but it just temporary. It happens in both men and women, and to summarize the solutions, I’ll list them off for you.
• Limit sudden impulsive big life-changing decisions
• Include your loved one’s: Be mindful of how your decisions are impacting the one’s you love
• Try to go back and understand why you made certain commitments and choices
• Distinguish the selfless behavior from the selfish destructive ones
• Don’t fight the transformation: Redefine new goals and live out your new-found values without
• Practice acceptance and be patient
If your partner is the one struggling with a midlife crisis,
• Confidence and well-being is attractive
• One of the biggest favors that you can do for yourself is to accept your partner for who they are, and not be constantly disappointed because they are not who you want them to be
• Non verbal messages, intimacy without words
• Give them space
• Cultivate an environment where they feel safe to communicate with you
• Be desirable, avoid complaining drama and negativity
• Build them up
• Freshen up the relationship!
Sometimes the hardest periods allow for relationships to truly blossom into their greatest potential. Continue to work as a team and you will see that you’ll be able to overcome this midlife crisis. Hang in there, things will be getting easier!
You can always work with me or a member of my team to facilitate the process and set yourselves up for success. Join the Happily Committed Project and learn how to transform your relationship in a meaningful and dignified way. There is a new product that we’ve created on mastering the art of attraction, and I highly recommend checking it out during this midlife crisis period. To access it, all you have to do is click the link.
I sincerely wish you all the very best in life and love,
Your coach when you’re dealing with a midlife crisis