Midlife crisis—this term has long been associated with men but women are as likely as men to experience a midlife crisis. This is an emotionally uncomfortable period that most often occurs between the ages of 35 and 55 where priorities, values and behaviors that have been considered the “norm” are questioned. For some this can bring about a true “crisis,” one that leads to infidelity.
Here are some common symptoms with suggestions for managing:
- Feeling a need for adventure and change
He goes out and starts a wild hobby. She buys a Harley and starts hanging out at a bar until the early morning. Skydiving and hanging out in biker bars is better than sitting home alone wondering what your spouse is up to. Participating a bit in their new found need for adventure can bring you closer together instead of creating distance.
- Feelings of depression
Some who go through a midlife crisis will experience depression that affects their mood. Be on the lookout for signs of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and pessimism. If needed, consult with your general practitioner for referrals for further evaluation.
- Loss of interest in interests and things that once were important
One husband consulted with me about his wife who abruptly began questioning her beliefs and values and went from defining herself as a “strong Christian” to an “agnostic bordering on atheist.” Playing a supportive role and adhering to your own values and beliefs without judgement is often the best way to weather these changes.
- Lack of anything being “right”
You may have just celebrated your 30th anniversary have a spouse who seemed happy in the marriage. Out of the blue you are then accused of never meeting their emotional or physical needs so the spouse in the midlife crisis can justify their feelings of discomfort. During this time work on yourself, but not with the goal to save the marriage but to survive personally intact.
It is important that you be unwavering when it comes to living YOUR life to the fullest during your spouse’s midlife crisis.
Statistics say that 80% of those who experience a turbulent transition during midlife will remain in the marriage and make positive changes that strengthens the marriage. You want to be able to honestly say that you tried everything but when managing a midlife crisis there are limits to what can be done. You can only change you and your behavior personally and in the marriage.
The situation will not change overnight and there will likely be a roller coaster of unpredictable moods and behaviors from your spouse. For some transitioning through midlife takes time, especially if they go into an emotional crisis. Above all, remember that there are no quick fixes. Change what you can and ride the roller coaster for the rest.
Dr. Lisa Webb is at the Body & Mind Consulting Associates Group: www.bodymindtn.com.
Her latest book, “Boardroom to Bedroom: Executives Guide to Applying Strategic Success in Your Marriage” is available at www.amazon.com