Anger Problems Take our FREE Husband Rater Quiz! Take a Quiz

follow Guy Stuff

Guy Stuff's Counseling Men Blog shares real stories from our counseling sessions, giving practical solutions and answers to the challenges men and women face.

subscribeSubscribe by Email

Your email:

Got a Question

Have a question you'd like to Ask a Marriage Counselor? 
Submit your question here and we'll try to answer it in an up coming post. Please keep in mind that we get a lot of questions and are limited in how many we can answer. (Be sure to Sign Up by Email or RSS Feed above so you'll get our answer as soon as it's published.)

Blog Privacy Notice

All the stories, people, and quotes described in this blog are real.  However, people's names and biographical details have been changed to conceal their identity and protect their privacy.

Counseling Men Blog
Advice for men – and the women who love them!

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Mid-life Crisis -- Is My Husband Having One?


Mid-life CrisisPart 1 of 2

Is my husband having a mid-life crisis is a question I get asked pretty regularly by women.  Here's one woman's story of trying to understand what happened to the man she thought she was married to.

It's been 7 months since Derek told Lauren he wanted a divorce and moved out.  For Lauren, it came out of nowhere; for Derek, he had been contemplating what to do about his unhappiness for months, probably years.

Lauren came to our women's counseling to get help in how to respond to this 'new' Derek and make sense of what's happened to her shattered life.  I also meet with her and Derek for divorce counseling to mediate their divorce.

Occasionally Lauren sees glimpses of 'old' Derek she thought was her husband.  Like when he calls out of the blue and offers to help with something.  But most of the time she deals with 'new' Derek who takes things from the house without telling her, or makes a withdrawal from the ATM without talking to her first and overdraws their joint bank account.

As she's tried to make sense of 'new' Derek and his erratic behavior, she's been asking herself, and me, is he having a mid-life crisis?  Is he having an affair?  Is he depressed?

The answer is potentially yes to all of those questions - although which have occurred, in what order, and have led to his behavior is still unclear.

Here are some mid-life crisis warning signs we can see in Derek that have helped Lauren see that, yes, he probably is, and has been, having a midlife crisis:

  • Distant and disconnected.  Derek had been this way for the past year, and Lauren had noticed it, but she thought it was just due to all the pressures at work.
  • Lack of real communication.  Lauren has come to realize that what she thought was good communication with her husband wasn't that deep and didn't let her know what was really going on inside Derek.
  • Talk about big changes (jobs, new hobbies, large purchases).  Derek has been doing these things for several years.  Often these are a sign of internal unhappiness.
  • Sudden lifestyle changes.  Unfortunately, it took Lauren almost 3 months after Derek moved out to seek out professional help by coming to women's counseling.

Whether or not Derek is having a mid-life crisis isn’t as important as just recognizing the midlife crisis warning signs of a problem that’s going to explode the way it did for Lauren.  If she or Derek had responded to these signs sooner, it's possible that much of the pain they're now suffering could have been prevented.

Since the separation Derek has admitted he’s seeing another woman.  Even though Derek insists it started after he moved out, Lauren's uncertain if that's really true.  Derek’s now planning to change jobs and has also gone back to school.

Lauren has asked Derek that if changing jobs or going to school will make him happy, why he didn't do them before he left.  Derek hasn't been able to answer her.  In the next article we’ll explore the characteristics of men who can have a mid-life crisis and why Derek didn't make these changes sooner.  Lauren will also share things about Derek that she now sees, but didn’t before, that help her understand more of why he's done what he's done.

More Mid-life Crisis Reading:

* This is the first article of two discussing one man's mid-life crisis and the impact on his wife.  In the next article we’ll explore the characteristics of men who can have a mid-life crisis.  Sign-up for Our Blog on the right and don't miss the next article.


Where to start!!   I've been married for 16 yrs.  We are both 39 yrs old.  I thought happily.  Like any other marriage we have ups and downs but nothing major.  About 3 1/2 yrs ago my husband had an emotional affair. I had suspicions and confronted him. He cried and swore to me it was nothing.  He met her a a job related event once and it was only phone conversations.  He never saw her again. He never had physical contact with her.  He begged me to forgive him that he would prove himself to me. I chose to work through it.  We have an 11 yr old daughter and she deserved that much. It was a tough year or so where I was constant worried what if he does it again.    I never turned him away or rejected him. Even on days I felt like leaving him for breaking my heart. I cried a lot the first 6 months.  I just worked out my inner demons and i got through it without therapy. This past 2 years were, I thought, great.  We had a great summer.  We went out on the boat almost every weekend. We went on a few family trips with my nieces and nephews to universal studios and Disney and busch gardens. Our sex life was in full swing. Everything seemed wonderful. Last august 31, we had a small argument over a dream I had. He went all off and told me that he loves me but is not sure he is in live with me. Time is passin and he wants to live his life. He wants to party and have fun with his friends without having to worry about coming home at a reasonable time or not coming at all.  He needs time to sort out his feelings.   Wow was my response.  What happened??   He says he's been unhappy for at least a year now but he was waiting.  When I asked about the wonderful summer we just had he had no answer.  
We agreed we would "separate" while living in the same house.  I wouldn't question where he goes or comes. I wouldn't call him unless it was related to our daughter. I moved to the spare room. This lasted about a week before he started calling and texting me.  In about two weeks he invites me over to his room and we slept together.  Things looked like they were going on the tight track.  About 4 weeks later I get another speech on how he is just not feeling it. He feels trapped and wants to run away.  Again I leave to the spare room. We would set up dinner dates just us without my daughter.  It seemed like slowly we were getting somewhere. It didn't seem hopeless.  Then the first week of January he again tells me that it's just not working and he feels his life is paused. He needs to live cause he's not getting any younger. He starts again going out with his friends but instead of once or twice a week, almost every night til 4-5 am. I say nothing to him. I don't argue or fight what he wants to do. About a week after valentines day he comes to me again and he tells me that he read a book online that made him realize that ha to try to make this work for the sake of our daughter. That she deserves that much. I agree and tell him we can work through this. Je even tells ne he's willing o maybe try counseling.  He says no more distractions or parties. He's going to concentrate on us.  Since then he has been home more.  He has still gone out with his friends ( did I mention they are are in their 20's and single) once every two weeks.  He still tells me he doesn't feel it. He doesn't know what's happening to him.  Is he having a mid life crisis???  What can I do to help him??   I'm willing to work through it and patiently wait until his feelings come back.  But how can I get him to wait too.  He keeps talking about leaving.  I'm scared if he leaves it's over.  He won't come back.  
Posted @ Thursday, April 14, 2011 3:58 PM by Julie
Leave him, he is wanting his single life and thinks you will always be there for him when he needs it. Emotionally it will destroy you, make a new life for yourself and your daughter. You will be better off in the long run.
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 1:07 AM by Cilla
Julie, Yes, he could be having a mind-life crisis, but it also sounds like he needs help with his decision making. You both need help to sort through all of this and figure how to change things. Take him up on giving counseling a try; if he won't go, then go without him. You need some professional guidance. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:47 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
Your husband's mid-life crisis probably is not you. Cater to his desire to buy a sports car, play in a fantasy league or whatever excites him. He could feel trapped between earning a living and the obligations of a family. Give in to his dreams and I bet he rejoins the wolf pack.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 08, 2012 6:15 PM by Zack
I will try and sum this up the best I can. I have been married for 7 years and we have been together for 22 years. We have 2 sons (3 and 14. We have had a lot of financial loss in the last 2 years as well as family memebers that have passed on. My father in law who was living with us for 6 months before his passing ans my husbands grandmother 2 weeks prior to his father. After the death of his father he lost his perm job and was put on a temp joob with half the income. We have no sex life at all. Last year my husband told me to find "a friend" becasue he could not give me what I deserved. Then just this week he tells me that he has no idea why I want to be with someone like him. I found out that he has had a emotional connection with someone where he has told her all his problems and concerns. Stuff he should be talking to me about but he said he didnt want to worry me or make my axiety come back. Then just a few monthas ago I found some video he posted to another woman talking while filming the sunrise. He said it was just a joke and he has not had an affair but I dont get it. He talks at me at not to me I bring this to his attention and he doesnt think so. we have stupid fight over the smallest things when money is really tight. Now this week in a dunb agurment he tells me why do I want to hang on to someone like him? he has nothing and he has given all he can give. I love Him but I cant live this way and I dont want my boys to think its ok to live like this. I sleep in my room and he sleeps on the couch because the bead hurts his back. HELP!!!
Posted @ Wednesday, August 15, 2012 1:44 PM by Stacy
Stacy, There could be a lot of things going on with your husband - midlife crisis, depressed, affairs, or more. The bottom line is your not accepting that your going to live like this accept what is 'abuse.' You need to get some counseling on what you can start to change. -Kurt
Posted @ Wednesday, September 05, 2012 12:19 PM by Kurt Smith, MFT, AFC
My husband of 26yrs has also recently left me. He told our three children and me before we seperated that he has someone else in his life. Within a week of parting he was posting on FB that he was in a 'relationship' and telling me, our children and his family that he was 'in love' with his new lady and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. This upsets me but really hurts our children who love their Dad. I have asked him to stop but he continues to rub our noses in his new relationship. He has become totally self-centered and is making irrational statements and acting like a love sick teenager. Our children no longer seen to be his priority, I accept that I am not, but hate the damage he is doing to his relationship with them, and when I tell him his reply is that he doesnt care!!
Posted @ Sunday, September 09, 2012 6:54 PM by Jean
My ex partner is 42! We were together 7 years in a very stable relationship. We had normal ups and downs. My ex has never really had any emotional attatchment and has always been defensive, and often had a barrier and won't let it down. Iam quit understanding and new this was caused by his marriage breakdown 11 years ago. Other than that we were great, had a lovely life and I helped bring his now 16 year old it up, whom I love like my own. About 15 months ago my ex suddenly changed, he did once say.. Think I'm having a MLC? We laughed it off, he started going weight training( obsessively) which 3 months ago I foundd out he was injecting steroids ( I was so upset) he didn't care. He also started acting like a sex maniac,! Saying things to me like you would say to a prostitute or someone he'd picked up off the street! Obviously it made me vomit and sex in the last 6 months was a bit sparce ( my doing as I'd lost respect )one of the things he kept saying... I want a threesome and if you don't give me it will look elsewhere.... He said this after a few drinks on several occasions. Please do t look in a bad light at him as this is certainly not the man I new 15 months ago. May, this yr he went away for a few days on a friends 40th abroad... I noticed something differant about him, about 6 weeks later I asked if he was having affair?? He said yes ( showed mo remorse) although felt very ashamed and guilt ( as his ex wife did same to him) and he always felt bitter about it. The woman he is seeing is married ?? 
The house we lived in was his house so I left, am now living at a friends..he didn't try to stop me! The most difficult thing for me is he is so stubborn and will not let his defence down and admit if he made a mistake? I love him very much, and know he has feelings for me. Please advice me what to do? Does this sound like Mid life crisis
Posted @ Thursday, September 11, 2014 8:42 AM by Sarah
Sarah, Yes, this does sound like a midlife crisis, but it's also possible there are other complicating issues, such as his drug abuse. Take a look at the other posts on this blog under the tags Midlife Crisis and Cheating Spouse for tips on what to do. -Kurt
Posted @ Saturday, September 13, 2014 11:00 AM by Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC
Post Comment
Website (optional)

Allowed tags: <a> link, <b> bold, <i> italics